A Microtakaful Focus Group Discussion to Increase Community Resilience
The discussion forum was led by two individuals: Elizabeth Rianawati, RDI's Director, and Marcel Pape, a Consultant from AFC International, Germany. Facilitation support for this forum was provided by RDI's team members, including Dodon Yamin, Alpian Angga Pratama, and Ramanditya Wimbardana. The primary objective of this discussion forum was to collect information regarding the demographic characteristics of local low-income residents in Bandung and gain insights into how they utilize their available funds.
A total of 16 low-income individuals from 7 households actively participated in this discussion forum. The session was organized into three sections to comprehensively address various aspects of their lives.
In the first section, the invited households were queried about their family dynamics, living conditions, home ownership status, and current employment situations. It was observed that most participants shared a residence with other families, and their housing ownership arrangements were a combination of rental and heritage properties. Regarding their occupations, the majority were engaged in domestic work, trading activities, or casual labor.
The second section focused on the financial aspects, particularly income and expenditures, of the participants. Ramanditya Wimbardana and Marcel Pape led this discussion, revealing that most participants earned incomes ranging from Rp. 750,000 to Rp. 1,100,000 per month. Many expressed challenges in meeting their daily needs, such as their children's education expenses, medical costs, and unexpected financial burdens. Interestingly, Pape shared his experience, indicating that the financial conditions of low-income individuals in Germany were strikingly similar.
The third section delved into how the participants managed their financial challenges. Pape was notably impressed by the participants' ability to address their financial issues, particularly their strong spirit of cooperation and mutual assistance (known as "gotong royong") in caring for the local Muslim cemetery, primarily in terms of funding its maintenance. Participants also mentioned benefiting from government programs such as BPJS (social insurance) and free schooling. Furthermore, the discussion highlighted that, in low-income families, mothers often played a central role in managing the family's finances. Additionally, families in low-income communities tended to sell assets like televisions or jewelry to cover emergency expenses related to their children's education or medical needs.