Poverty in Indonesia
The proportion of the Indonesian population living below the official poverty line declined from 60 percent to 11percent between 1970 and 1996 (World Bank, 2002). However, the most isolated populations in the eastern parts of the country still face disproportionate levels of widespread poverty. This is particularly the case in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, where up to 74 percent of the population live in isolated areas with little access to social and economic facilities and services to fulfil their most basic needs (Papua Needs Assessment, 2005).
The project was conceived as ILO’s initial support to the overall effort to reduce poverty and sustain existing peace and development mechanisms in Papua, in the context of the implementation of the Papua Special Autonomy Law (OTSUS). In its entirety, the project reflects the development priorities of the national government as indicated in the “Indonesia Decent Work Country Programme”, which highlights employment creation as a key measure for poverty reduction and local development.
Specifically, the Project seeks to increase the capacity of the indigenous peoples and local government agencies for:
- Reducing poverty through sustainable income and employment generation;
- Promoting gender equality through improved recognition of the rights and the role of women and girls in the development process; and
- Strengthening peace and development mechanisms through constructive dialogue and favourable policies and programmes.
Among the key outputs expected are the following:
- An analysis of the biophysical, socio-economic and cultural conditions, including gender, peace and development issues in the selected pilot project sites, which will serve as the basis for the primary stakeholders to determine suitable support for poverty reduction and village development in these areas;
- Increased income and employment opportunities for the poor in the pilot project sites which are anchored on sustainable community enterprises and on improved delivery of basic services;
- A higher level of awareness and recognition of the rights of women and men and an increased involvement of women and girls in income and employment generation and in the community development process; and
- Stronger and more effective mechanisms for peace and development in the area which are sustained through continuing dialogue and favourable policies and programmes.
As a core strategy, the project capitalizes on indigenous peoples’ initiatives, traditional knowledge, institutions and resources for poverty reduction, for sustaining peace and for promoting village-level development. Experiences, best practices and lessons generated in the course of project implementation are documented for replication and to be used as inputs in the improvement of pertinent policies and programs.
In operationalising this strategy, the project employs a community-driven participatory development (CDPD) approach in which partner communities are systematically provided with opportunities to proactively take greater responsibility for satisfying their needs and pursuing their own development aspirations. Inspired by the ILO’s Decent Work framework and the ILO Convention (No. 169) on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in independent countries, the CDPD methodology gives equal importance to process and results in every project.
The project was designed to go through six stages, namely: 1) setting up of the institutional framework; 2) community baseline surveys; 3) preparation of community actions plans for poverty reduction and village development; 4) implementation of community action plans; 5) project evaluation; and, 6) linking of community experience to policy and program development. Each stage leads to the next in a logical flow.
By early 2008, the Project had progressed to the community action plan implementation stage. In this stage, the Project performs the role of overall facilitator of the community-driven participatory development process.
Community-driven poverty reduction activities served as the starting point for the implementation of the community action plans. Based on existing sources of livelihood regarded as top priority by the partner communities, a series of site-specific hands-on basic skills training activities were conducted. Specific materials, tools and equipment were provided, depending on the needs identified. These were later left to the care and continued use of the partner community organizations as part of the skills training sustainability mechanism.
Two overarching concerns, namely the promotion of gender equality and the strengthening of existing peace and development mechanisms at the village level, are integrated into the livelihood development process.
- Muara Tami and Kemtuk Gresi subdistricts in Jayapura Municipality/District;
- Papua and Tanah Rubuh; and
- Kebar subdistricts in Manokwari District, West Papua.
Achievements to date
- More than 2,000 partner community members in the four pilot sites have taken part in skills enhancement training related to these specific livelihoods and are now applying their skills to boost production and eventually increase their income and (self-)employment opportunities. Through the local culturally-based community organizations, moreover, they are setting up their own livelihood support mechanisms such as common facilities and revolving loan funds to ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods.
- Despite the extremely patriarchal socio-cultural environment, an increasing number of women are participating in the skills development process, specifically in the area of income and employment generation, and men are correspondingly giving more and more recognition to the women’s important role in the affairs of both family and community. All-women groups have started to appear in such economic activities as vegetable production, fruit processing and micro-entrepreneurship. Change may even soon be possible in the usually all-male village leadership structure, as a few women are being given the opportunity to serve as community development facilitators and on committees.
- Culturally rooted peace and development mechanisms are being strengthened by project activities that provide opportunities for community leaders to work together more often in the pursuit of common interest. The most important of these opportunities is the strengthening of the leadership structure in the villages to promote collective leadership and decision making at the district level. As this process develops, it is expected that conflicts arising from lack of communication and similar causes will be minimized and resolved more efficiently and effectively.
The activities implemented so far have had a number of positive impacts in the project sites. At the community level, the most significant impact is the increasing realization that, rather than being simply spectators and beneficiaries of externally planned and administered development programs—which is a generally unsustainable process— indigenous communities can, through existing institutions, initiate and manage their own development processes in partnership with government and other service providers. As a result, many partner community members, both women and men, have created and are continuing to create for themselves greater income and (self-)employment opportunities, and are on track to get out of poverty.
At the government level, the impact of project activities is seen in the increasing willingness of partner agencies in the government to support community-driven participatory development initiatives, especially in relation to income and employment generation. This is visible in the emergence of greater opportunities for the adoption of the project’s community-driven participatory development approach in the implementation of programs such as the National Community Empowerment Programme (Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Masyarakat, or PNPM) and the Strategic Plan for Village Development (Rencana Strategis Pembangunan Kampung, or RESPEK).
- Community Organizations
- Local Government Units
- Non-Government Organizations
For further information please contact:
ILO Office for Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Menara Thamrin, Level 22
Jl. M.H. Thamrin Kav. 3
Tel. +6221 3913112
Fax. +6221 3100766