Political Management in the Indonesian Family Planning Program

Jeremy Shiffman, Syracuse University

The literature on family planning program administration has devoted considerably more attention to the management of technical issues than to the management of political challenges. Examining how family planning agencies manage their political environments is critical to understanding the sources of their effectiveness. Based on in-depth interviews in Indonesia with 51 civil servants and donor officials involved with the country’s family planning program, this paper shows how a culture of political orchestration developed inside the Indonesian family planning agency during the Suharto-era from the 1970s to the 1990s. This factor likely underpinned the program’s effectiveness. Civil servants deliberately and successfully lobbied the president of the country, governors, national women’s groups and religious leaders in order to cultivate priority for the program. The case illustrates how family planning administrators may be able to increase the level of priority for their programs if they orchestrate their political environments strategically.

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Presented in Session 14: Accessibility of Family Planning in Developing Countries