How does local collective action empower women at the grassroots?
A study of local women’s collective action (WCA) commissioned by MAMPU has explored the processes of change working at the village level. Defined as the formal or informal formation and activity of groups or networks of predominantly women that aims to bring about positive changes in women’s lives, key findings shows how WCA in a village context can lead to both individual and collective empowerment measured as changes to five empowerment “assets” (human assets, financial and resource assets, agency assets, social assets, and enabling assets). Findings also show that the potential for income generation is an important enabler of participation; in the right conditions, the involvement of ‘elite’ women can be an effective strategy for change; and that ‘intermediaries’ play a crucial role in linking ‘voice’ to policy. These and other critical features that facilitate ‘quality’ groups are essential in improving the access of poor women in Indonesia to critical public services and programs.