The mission of the Nusa Tenggara Association, Inc (NTA) is to alleviate the worst poverty in the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia. The NTA sponsors economic and social development activities selected by our sponsored communities, ranging from building water tanks and wells, through providing farming equipment and training to local farmers, to supplying books for schools and training local teachers. We employ and provide training to over twenty Indonesian staff in West Timor and Flores. The benefits of gender equality are well documented: when girls are educated it lowers fertility rates, reduces maternal mortality, and improves the health of their children. When both women and men have access to economic opportunity it helps their families prosper, and the country’s economy grow. When both women and men participate in policy formulation and decision-making it leads to more responsive policies and decisions.1 NTA recognises that designing initiatives that respond to and take account of the different needs and roles of women and men makes our projects and programs more effective and sustainable.
The NTT context
NTT faces many challenges in the area of gender equality. NTT women’s position in the household and the community is widely recognised as subordinate to that of men. According to the United Nations in Indonesia, inheritance goes to men1 , and therefore women have lower access to capital and assets than men. Early marriage and early pregnancies are common. Chronic lack of energy and anaemia among mothers is reported at 64 per cent (the highest rate among all provinces in Indonesia) and maternal mortality rates are increasing.2 Further, ‘limited access to education, assets and resources lead to women and girls being excluded from participation in …decision-making processes’. 3 Men’s decisions are not always used in the best interests of the family and the World Food Programme finds that ‘their privileged position often weakens women’s access to adequate food and nutrition’4 . Female students tend to drop out of school starting from junior high school.5 NTA’s income-generating activities directly empower village women, making them less economically dependent and less likely to be subject to economic deprivation. Attention by the NTA to general food production has a direct effect on the welfare of women, because lack of food raises the spectre of malnutrition, which can adversely affect maternal health. The NTA’s program of building of water tanks and wells make access to water easier, thus improving the lives of women who are primarily responsible for carrying water. The NTA’s provision of scholarships to school-aged girls through our school sponsorship program is a way of improving women’s education outcomes.
Purpose and Guiding Principles of this Gender equality Policy
Gender equality is central to economic and human development. Equal opportunity for women and men supports economic growth and helps to reduce poverty. The NTA is strongly committed to supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in its activities among the rural poor of Nusa Tenggara Timur.
Scope of this Policy
This policy applies to NTA staff (Indonesia and Australia-based), NTA Board members, volunteers and consultants retained by NTA, and NTA Kupang.
NTA’s commitment to gender equality
NTA supports AusAID’s gender strategy of 2011 and its four pillars:
- Advancing equal access to gender-responsive health and education services;
- Increasing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership, and peace-building;
- Empowering women economically and improving their livelihood security; and
- Ending violence against women and girls at home, in their communities, and in disaster and conflict situations.
NTA will promote gender equality amongst its staff and local partners in culturally appropriate ways by:
- Encouraging employment and training of female staff;
- Providing favourable and flexible working conditions for women including part-time or job-sharing working arrangements; and encouraging partner organisations to do the same;
- Deliberately seeking women’s opinions and feedback as distinct from men’s opinions and feedback in target communities, and where possible holding gender-specific fora and informal meetings to ensure women’s voices are heard;
- Incorporating gender equality considerations into projecting planning, monitoring and evaluation including by using sex-disaggregated data considering potential risks to women and girls, and supporting activities that promote women’s empowerment
- Actively involving men and boys in our area of operations in promoting gender equality, as appropriate in the NTT context
Educating on the NTA Gender equality policy
NTA staff (Indonesia and Australia-based), NTA Board members, and staff of partner organisations of the NTA will all be provided with a copy of the NTA Gender equality policy on commencing their association with NTA and on updating of this document. Australian NTA staff will proactively promote women’s empowerment, in particular providing opportunities to ensure women’s voices are heard, in culturally appropriate ways. The NTA Gender equality policy will be made available on the NTA website.
Reviewing this policy
This policy will be reviewed annually by the NTA Operations Committee and Board to assess its effectiveness, appropriateness and accuracy.