Fellow Since 1998
This profile was prepared when Dan Satriana was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
Dan Satriana, an anthropologist whose focus is effective sociocultural work, is stepping into a public education gap about HIV/AIDS and communicating with a wide audience in Indonesia through the ready resource of commercial radio.
The New Idea
Dan Satriana is using specially targeted radio programs to communicate clear and exact information about HIV/AIDS to a wide audience across all levels of society, as a crucial step in preventing the spread of the disease. The idea of using commercial radio to spread information about HIV/AIDS might seem deceptively simple, but in fact radio has not been used in Indonesia specifically for this purpose, and Dan has developed and refined materials and effective programs tailored exactly to specific radio audiences. His idea is based on his analysis that each radio station communicates in a specific language to a particular audience, most households own a radio, broadcasts are at suitable times for the listeners, and they reach places and people that are inaccessible to the usual HIV/AIDS programs. Dan has seen the possibilities of using radio in a comprehensive way, as a tool to reach people in all groups in society and a link to other HIV/AIDS services that his group provides.
The spread of HIV/AIDS is a major problem in Indonesia. Official government figures (1997) of people who have reported contracting the disease stand at 550+, but it is generally accepted that the actual figure of people that have HIV/AIDS in Indonesia could be as high as 110,000. The U.S. Center for Disease Control predicts that by the year 2000, AIDS cases in Indonesia could reach as high as 750,000. Yet the public has little access to information about the disease, which is still generally thought to be a Western disease and spread only by Westerners. Due to Indonesia's Islamic culture, AIDS is often seen simply as the result of sinful behavior. There are some government educational programs but they are very limited and rely on well-tried models such as AIDS Days. Even then, they just issue leaflets or give speeches and lectures that contain vague information and use delicate and imprecise language. The information is not tailored to the audiences and does not catch the attention of the public. The messages that do filter through are not clear enough, nor exact enough, nor are they presented in ways that produce the necessary impact to make everyone fully aware of all aspects of the prevention and treatment of the disease. Nongovernmental organizations play a more effective role. They target the various high-risk groups in society, such as the gay groups or prostitutes, and they use specially designed and appropriate methods for these particular groups. However, the wider public remains largely uninformed and unconcerned. There has been no systematic use of the electronic media by anyone.
Dan was a founding member in 1991of Yayasan Sidikara (Friendship Foundation), which was established as a research center for anthropology students and graduates interested in applying their knowledge to local, present-day, sociocultural problems and issues. Since 1992 the members of Dan's organization have become involved in HIV/AIDS programs, judging this disease to be a sociocultural problem as well as a health problem. Dan and the other members are especially interested in developing culturally acceptable and appropriate ways to communicate to all levels of people in the whole population. The organization's main activities include the radio programs that Dan is developing, a hotline service for telephone information on HIV/AIDS, facilitation of confidential blood-testing and associated counseling for those at risk, and training workshops for student and other groups who are interested in developing their own HIV/AIDS activities. All of these activities are interconnected and mutually supportive. People at-risk learn about the follow up services through the radio programs; students become interested in Dan's approach when they meet him at his live broadcasts at popular venues, and they later link up their own programs with his radio sessions.Dan has approached many local radio stations and has so far succeeded in building up working relationships with three stations, each of which has a definite target audience: GMR has general interest programs for adult listeners, especially young professionals; Mara targets adult listeners, including women's morning programs; Oz plays all-day pop music programs for youth. The announcers' styles and the packaging of the information fit very closely with the listeners' interests. These stations all have large audiences in and around Bandung and as far away as Garut, a town about 75 miles from Bandung, as well as surrounding rural areas.The main formats have been serious discussion sessions, talk show programs, and on-the-street live sessions. For general interest listeners, Dan prepares a weekly in-depth discussion of a serious issue related to the HIV/AIDS problem. Often a guest speaker such as a doctor or a legal aid representative is invited to join in the discussion. These programs are very suitable for the adult audiences. The talk show programs allow for both information segments and dialogue with callers. This is an effective way of motivating people to think about the facts, a first step to behavior change. Listeners call in with questions or comments. The youth programs operate from a mobile studio that visits schools and other youth venues, and Dan has twice-weekly, live, on-air programs with them, including Saturday nighttime slots from popular entertainment venues. There is lively and enthusiastic interaction during these sessions. Dan has trained four volunteers to help him on-air with the youth programs. They arrange quiz programs and debates between schools and convince popular musicians to carry the messages as well.The substance of the programs varies depending on the audience and the cultural background from which Dan approaches an issue. In many cases his message focuses on breaking down common HIV/AIDS myths. For example, he stresses to his listeners that one can not get HIV/AIDS from a cup of water or from sitting next to a foreigner. He also educates the public about safe sex practices which can prevent the disease. He examines issues from a sociocultural approach that looks at behavior in particular environments and lifestyles. For example, when he does a program on "sex education in the family," his radio programs discusses how teenagers today have different information, influences, and values from those of their parents and how these differences can produce a communication gap. Dan has tackled the problem of part-time prostitution among female high school students in a similar manner.In the process of convincing the radio stations to adopt his ideas, Dan had to overcome many obstacles and refine strategies for local situations. He has had to develop the right approach with the radio station owners, as they are commercial ventures with a business focus. He eventually was able to convince them that his programs could be good for their public image and that he could provide attractive programs for their audiences.Dan has just started with his next step, that of broadening his reach to include the towns of the north coast and another important group, the nation's truck drivers and their contacts. He has done research along the route from Bandung to Cirebon, travelling with the trucks and noting their stopovers. He is presently negotiating with a dangdut (pop music of the middle and lower classes) radio station to start working with them, as this is what the truck drivers listen to in their trucks and at the stopovers. While Dan is still using Bandung as his "laboratory," he plans to eventually branch out to other cities using his extensive contacts among nongovernmental organizations and student groups which will support similar programs in their own regions. So that his idea can be adopted in other cities around the country, Dan is preparing a book, which documents his experiences and presents program formats and materials, with selected transcripts from actual programs. He is also working on some other materials for radio, including a drama script (a mini-series on the theme of the generation gap and changing values) and advertising scripts.
Dan is the fifth of seven children in his family. His father is Balinese and his mother is Sundanese (West Java). His father worked as a government official in the Education and Culture department of Bandung, West Java. Dan remembers having a busy and happy family life. He did well in school and took the science track in senior high school, but in fact he enjoyed the social sciences more and studied anthropology at Unpad University in Bandung. Before he completed his final paper, he decided to experience life outside his familiar circles and joined Rendra's drama school near Jakarta. Rendra is one of Indonesia's most famous modern playwright/actors, and his school teaches acting and aims to help the students in the development of their "selves." Dan feels he gained much strength and insight from this experience but decided he still wanted to do community work rather than take up acting as a full-time career. His acting interest and skills, however, inspired him to use the radio as a medium for social change. Dan, like all the other members of his organization, contributes part of his earnings from consulting work in anthropology projects to fund the group's activities. Dan is committed to his project and its sociocultural approach to practical problems. He has been to Malaysia to do training and field work in counseling of HIV/AIDS sufferers and now works with three local HIV-positive cases. He is a very dynamic presence in workshops and on radio, perhaps due to his experience as an actor. He is very clearly focused on his central cause, the radio programs, and has an important contribution here to offer the community.