The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Home Minister Mardiyanto is calling for more involvement from the Family Welfare Movement (PKK) in poverty eradication, in an apparent effort to revive the family welfare program that flourished in the past.
"We have provided the legal umbrella for the movement by allocating funds in the regional budget," Mardiyanto said during the commemoration of the 35th United Welfare Movement Day at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday.
He suggested that the organization endorse small-scale family businesses through its 10 welfare programs, with full support by the government.
"We also must pay careful attention to adapting quickly and properly to the rapid changes globalization is bringing to Indonesia," the minister added.
He praised the recent PKK initiative of planting 1 million trees nationwide as the kind of response the country needed to tackle current problems in development.
PKK, an organization committed to improving the welfare of families around the country, functioned at its peak during the Soeharto era, with members consisting of the wives of government officials.
The wife of the Home Minister, Effi Mardiyanto, who currently chairs the PKK executive board, said that she expected the organization to show more commitment as the government's partner in development.
"Let us bring a touch of compassion to our nation's work, so we can develop in the spirit of professionalism and commitment," she said.
Effi also asked members from PKK's regional branches who attended the ceremony to look back in history to learn more about what they would do for the future.
"Our initial intention was to empower the community and improve the welfare of the people, and this should be upheld. We must keep this in mind when we plan our programs in the coming years."
The movement was initiated by the wife of a governor of Central Java, Isriati Moenadi, after she witnessed the heart-break of widespread malnutrition in the country in 1967.
United Welfare Movement Day is celebrated annually on Dec. 27, marking the day in 1972 when the organization spread its wings nationally, after it legally changes its name from "Family Welfare Education" to "Family Welfare Movement".
During the 35th celebration of that day, the Home Minister handed out achievement awards to 82 members of the organization for their service.
Organization members who have served for 25 years were presented with the Adhi Bhakti Utama Award, while the Adhi Bhakti Madya Award was presented to 66 members with 15 years of involvement. (lva)