Global Reach: Indonesia

Year Work
Total Funds
Invested To Date


Indonesia is composed of more than 17,000 islands between the Indian and Pacific oceans and is the world’s largest island country. Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with 270.3 million people. Young people make up a quarter of the total population, making Indonesia the country with the 4th largest amount of young people. The population of Indonesia is very diverse and there are many indigenous peoples in Indonesia, which recognizes 1,128 ethnic groups and approximately 50-70 million people[1]. Rapid urbanization has resulted in 55% of Indonesia’s populating living in urban areas and has contributed to growing inequality in the country.

Covid-19 has deeply impacted Indonesia and it is the country that has seen the most COVID-19 cases in southeast Asia. According to UNICEF, children under 11 years old make up 11% of cases[2]. In many areas, social distancing and sanitation make it difficult to comply to protection guidelines and the economy and young people’s education, livelihood, and wellbeing have been impacted.

Indonesia is the most recent country added to EMpower’s global reach, having its first partnership with a local organization in 2015. Since then, strong partnerships have been forged and more than 37 grants awarded. In Indonesia, EMpower supports organizations that focus on livelihoods and health & wellbeing through a variety of programs that incorporate vocational training and youth empowerment.


Total population: 273.3 million

Young people make up 25.2% of the total population

% urban/rural: Indonesia’s population is 55.3% urban and has been steadily increasing by 1% each year. 44.7% percent of the population lives in rural areas of Indonesia, which

Economy & Environment

GDP: 3,893 GDP per capita in 2018 and growing

Rapid urbanization paired with economic growth over the past decade have contributed to Indonesia being a country with one of the fasted increasing rates of inequality in the world.

According to the World Bank, 9.8% of Indonesia’s population were living in poverty in 2018 [3].  A significant amount of the population can be considered “near poor” and very vulnerable to economic, social and environmental shocks.[4] Indonesia has one of the fastest rising rates of income inequality in the East Asia region[5], with a Gini coefficient of 37.8[6].

Indonesia ranked 62 out of 113 countries in the food insecurity index[7] in which access to food is unequal  and significant gaps in access to sanitation also impact the poorest populations at 40% access in urban areas and 65% in rural areas[8].

More than 55% of Indonesia’s population does not have access to computers and there is even less accessibility to computers with internet, with slightly more women having access to computers at 46% compared to their male counterparts at 40%  (2018). 39% of women have access to internet.

Key issues that affect youth:

Gender inequality

Indonesia ranks #85 in the Global Gender Gap report (out of 153, where ranking closer to the bottom indicates more gender inequality in economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment)

Female Genital Cutting occurs throughout Indonesia, though it is understudied and the most recent report from 2013 identifies that as many as 50% of adolescent girls are affected[9].


While by law, education in Indonesia is compulsory and lasts 9 years from age 7-15, the net enrollment for 2018 in primary was 93% total and in secondary education as of 2018 was 91% for girls compared with 95% for boys[10].

Livelihoods (Decent work and economic growth, SDG 8)

Gender norms and responsibilities limit girls from opportunities in education and the workplace. Adolescent girls that were not employed, in education or training is significantly higher than boys in Indonesia. In 2019, 26% of adolescent girls were not employed, in education or training compared to 15% of adolescent boys.

Health and well-being (SDG 3)

Sexual and reproductive health knowledge among young Indonesians is low and the adolescent birth ratio among young women 15-19 is on the rise. In 2017, 6.9% of young women in Indonesia have a child by the age of 18, however is significantly higher adolescent pregnancy rates among rural adolescents at 10% compared to youth in urban environments 5%. (2017)

Indonesia is the country with the 7th highest number of women married before the age of 18 and significantly impedes educational attainment and economic opportunities.

According to data from 2017, 19% of women identify there is an unmet need for family planning services. This need is amplified in rural areas with less access to health services and education.

There is high acceptance or prevalence of gender-based violence, with 49% of men justifying violence against women.




[3] World Bank: In 2010, the ADB reported a poverty headcount ratio (HCR) under the $1.25 per day poverty line (extreme poverty) of 18.55% and a poverty HCR under the $2 per day poverty line (moderate poverty) at 50.57%; this was half of the population








Other countries in Asia:

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