Country Capacity Assessment for Assistive Technologies: Informal Markets Study, Indonesia

Julian Walker, Ahmad Rifai, Fuad Jamil (AA), Vindi Kurniawan, Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kota Kita, Development Planning Unit (DPU), UCL
Oct. 22, 2020
Case Studies and Reports

This study was conducted as part of the AT2030 Research Programme, funded by the FCDO and delivered by the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub). It was carried out by a team from the Indonesian NGOs Kota Kita and Kaki Kota, and from the Development Planning Unit (DPU) of University College London (UCL).

This study supplements the Country Capacity Assessment for Indonesia undertaken by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), using the World Health Organization (WHO) Assistive Technology Assessment – Capacity (ATA-C) tool, which was developed with support from the GDI Hub. The ATA-C tool assesses the capacity within countries to make the most effective, high-quality assistive technology (AT) available at affordable yet sustainable prices.

The focus of this study is to understand existing practices of AT provision through informal markets and social institutions, and the experiences of AT users on low incomes and with somewhat ‘informal’ citizenship status. We examine how informal markets can be supported and improved and how formal sector actors working in AT provision, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Welfare, can best work with and influence informal AT markets and reach citizens who lack formal status. The research was conducted in four cities—Jakarta, Surakarta, Yogyakarta and Banjarmasin—and included data from a household survey that reached approximately 2,000 individuals in Banjarmasin, as well as focus group discussions (FGD) and semi-structured interviews with AT users, disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), informal and formal AT enterprises, and state stakeholders working in the AT sector. Our findings suggest that the government of Indonesia is committed to AT provision and has worked to expand access to assistive products (AP) over recent decades. Nonetheless, there remain key areas of under-coverage in the urban and peri-urban communities involved in our research. The undercoverage affects many people on low incomes who live in these communities, particularly those who are unable to meet eligibility requirements to access state programmes that government agencies including the Ministry of Social Welfare offer at different levels. Low-income users in need of specific APs—for example, more expensive and complex APs such as hearing aids—that local informal markets are unable to develop are even more likely to be underserved.

There are, however, some emerging approaches, such as the Jamkesus scheme in Yogyakarta and the SIMDP registration database, that have the scope to streamline registration and expand inclusion in state-led AT programming, ensuring that this programming is more accessible to groups at risk of being overlooked. From the AP user perspective, this study also shows that the official AP priorities are not always in line with user priorities. For example, despite users listing motorbike tricycles and smartphone apps as highly important for wellbeing, neither AP is the focus of official provision or training programmes. In addition, our study highlights that informal AT enterprises in Indonesia, and in particular those led by AT users, make important contributions to the development and delivery of low-cost AT, as well as innovations in product development to make APs that are more suitable for and attractive to users. Such enterprises create employment and avenues for the political participation of disabled people, but face barriers to scaling up and expanding provision due to administrative and legal challenges. In response to these challenges, we highlight areas for further investigation, which we broadly group into three areas: registering low-income AT users, incorporating users’ perspectives into AT strategy, and supporting local startup AT enterprises to scale up.

To cite this publication please use the following reference: Walker, Julian, Ahmad Rifai, Fuad Jamil, Vindi Kurniawan (2020), Country Capacity Assessment for Assistive Technologies: Informal Markets Study, Indonesia, Global Disability Innovation Hub Report, AT 2030 Programme, GDI Hub, London