December 23, 2010
Community Health in Indonesia Empowers Women

The “Saving Lives Through Improved Quality Health Care in Aceh Barat” is an extension of HOPE’s post-Tsunami work to continue to improve the health of women and children. A key component of the program is training local women at the village level to implement health education programs.

Initiated in 2009, the program has already impacted more than 2,000 women and children with:

  • Better access to skilled birth attendants
  • Education on managing childhood illnesses
  • Access to vaccinations
  • Education on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding

The impact of the program has even expanded beyond the walls of health clinics. By participating in Project HOPE’s health education training sessions, women have developed the strength and courage to participate more fully in community activities and contribute to community development in health related areas. One former Project HOPE trainee now even serves as a representative in her district legislature. Read Iraina’s inspiring story.

Iriani's Story: From Community Health Worker to Legislature Representative

Iriani, wife, mother, community health worker, governement representative.

My name is Iriani. I have two children – a son and a daughter. My husband is Zulkifli, and he is a teacher. We live in a sub-district of the Nagan Raya District.

When Project HOPE initiated kader (community health worker) training after the Tsunami in 2005, I really wanted to participate in the training and learn more about health care issues and to dedicate myself to the community and help assist people in obtaining health care services in the village.

By participating in the program, I learned to understand health care matters. These activities and experiences also boosted my confidence in my ability to serve the community. Being a Posyandu(health outpost) Kader enriched my work experience and people began to know me – the community, colleagues (Kaders), health care personnel and everyone in general. In 2009, the Nagan Raya District hosted a local election to elect the representatives to serve the district for the 2009 to 2014 term. Many of the people in the community encouraged me to be the candidate of local legislative member. I then told my husband about this. Everyone in my family fully supported this idea and they suggested that I take part in this election on April 9, 2009. My husband, being a legislative member himself, recommended me as the member in the party where he belongs.

The huge support of the people in the community enhanced my confidence and gave me the strength to participate in this local election in Nagan Raya. They told me they supported me because of all the activities I had been doing to benefit the community and they hoped that a Posyandu Kader would represent their voices at the district level. Some supported me as they wanted a woman to be as politically active as a man. Having this in mind, I was very optimistic that I would be able to dedicate and do my best for the people who had put their trust in me, and I would provide them with the best and most positive results.

On April 9, 2009, by the majority of votes of electors and supporters of the community of Nagan Raya, I was elected as the local legislative member of Golkar Party. I am very pleased of this achievement – but I still remain very involved in the community health care activities of the village. Hopefully, by being a legislative member, I will inspire the community and help improve the quality of health care services to an even higher level. The trust given to me by the community members is my strength and motivation in executing my tasks as a legislative member.

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