Australia-Indonesia Institute Annual Report
Mission statementChairman's statementBoard membershipMajor activitiesMedia programYouth and sportArtsProfessionsIndonesian languageAustralian cultureCivil Society ProgramAdmin overviewAppendix AAppendix B

 

MAJOR ACTIVITIES

Media Program | Youth and sport | Visual and performing arts and arts heritage | Professions and science and technology | Indonesian language and culture studies | Australian culture and English language studies | Civil Society Program

CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM

The Institute aims to assist Indonesia to strengthen its civil society by providing non-government groups with training and specialist advice and through support for institution building.

In response to the changing economic and political environment in Indonesia, following the onset of the Asian crisis, the May 1998 riots in Jakarta and the resignation of President Soeharto, the Board of the Australia Indonesia Institute, at its August 1998 meeting in Jakarta, decided to create a new Civil Society Program. The aim of the program was to assist non-government organisations (NGOs) in Indonesia to strengthen an emerging civil society. The program was also designed to assist the Institute in its role of widening and improving people-to-people contacts between Australia and Indonesia in the post-Soeharto era.

During 1998 and 1999 projects were implemented through funding for training of Indonesians, providing specialist advice and supporting institution building in the fields of human rights, assistance for women's groups, legal aid and law reform, the environment and electoral reform. The Institute also awarded scholarships to a large number of Indonesian university students experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the economic crisis. Twenty-five per cent of the Institute's annual budget for 1998-99 was allocated to the Civil Society Program.

The Board's progressive policy in approving this new program has generated worthwhile outcomes. The success of the Civil Society Program illustrates that it is possible to identify niche areas where the Institute can provide well-targeted, practical and worthwhile training and other support. The experience has been valuable in setting up on-going programs of assistance in those areas where good, workable programs were identified.

Electoral reform

The Australian Electoral Commissioner, Mr Bill Gray, led a team of electoral experts on a scoping visit to Jakarta in November 1998. The team conducted an assessment of Indonesia's needs in relation to electoral assistance, determined what assistance was being provided by other donors and provided concrete proposals for Australian assistance in the preparations for and conduct of the 1999 Indonesian elections. The team held in-depth discussions with interlocutors from Indonesian election authorities, particularly the General Election Institute (LPU) which was later replaced by the General Election Commission (KPU) and with other donor organisations and the United Nations Development Program. The recommendations from the visit assisted AusAID to develop a multi-million dollar package of electoral reform in the lead up to the Indonesian General Elections on 7 June 1999.

Anti-corruption workshops

Transparency International Australia conducted three anti-corruption/national integration conferences/workshops in Jakarta in September 1998 and April 1999. The first program facilitated the formation of a coalition of Indonesian anti-corruption NGOs. The second and third programs identified Indonesian and international partners and potential funding agencies for specific projects. An important objective of the program was the empowerment of members of Indonesian civil society to be effective participants in this process.

Human rights treaty implementation

A highly successful training course for officials, academics, members of the National Human Rights Commission and other NGOs was held in Jakarta in September 1998. The course provided training in human rights concepts, particularly technical training on implementation and reporting requirements for several treaties due to be ratified under Indonesia's Human Rights Action Plan.

Trauma counselling training and women's rights

Train-the-trainer workshops in trauma counselling for Indonesian NGOs were undertaken in Jakarta by the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture in late 1998 and again in June-July 1999. The program - jointly coordinated by the Indonesian Women's Coalition for Justice and Democracy - provided leaders with the skills to implement trauma counselling services and train others in the same skills. The program included the preparation of an Indonesian-specific training manual.

In late 1998 Australian expertise was provided to assist various Indonesian women's NGO groups to develop an anti-violence educational strategy designed to address domestic and youth-related sexual and racially based violence. Assistance was also provided to Suara Ibu Peduli (Voice of Concerned Mothers) to assist with the establishment of a regular newsletter to educate members on issues of domestic and racial violence and to help develop a network with organisations involved in this area.

Leadership training and advocacy skills for NGOs

The Institute joined with the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) and the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) in March 1999 to fund the attendance by three Indonesian women NGO leaders at a policy development/leadership training and advocacy skills program in Australia. The program was aimed at strengthening the advocacy and policy development skills of Indonesian NGO leaders through a sharing of experience with Australian NGOs, including through exposure to the Australian democratic process and the role of Australian NGOs in that process. The program included valuable exposure to organisational structures, accountability and ethical principles for NGOs as well as an understanding of national obligations under international treaties and international human rights law. Parliamentary processes, networking possibilities with media, the legal profession and the private sector and analysis of the public policy-making process, including issues of transparency, accountability and the problems of corruption, were also covered.

Workshop on inter-communal relations

The Institute approved funding for a scoping visit and a seminar/workshop designed by the Australia Indonesia Legal Development Foundation in association with KomNasHam (Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission) and a number of NGOs. The workshop in Indonesia in November 1999 brought together leaders of key religious, ethnic and other interest groups to discuss a strategy for improving inter-communal relations, in particular methods to mediate and prevent escalation of disputes. A small team of Australian experts shared Australia's experience of anti-discrimination adjudication, legislation and dispute resolution.

Competition policy

Funding was provided to the Indonesian Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) to enable it to research and identify the main principles necessary for an effective competition law in Indonesia, and to prepare a draft bill for consideration by the Government. Following a request from ELSAM, Mr Hank Spier, General Manager, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) attended an ELSAM seminar in Jakarta and presented a paper on Australian competition policy. Mr Spier met with various key officials involved with competition policy to investigate opportunities for further Australian assistance in this field.

The report from this scoping visit was passed to AusAID, which is working with the ACCC on a World Bank-coordinated corporate governance program for Indonesia, including competition policy elements.

Civil society conference

The Institute funded three prospective Indonesian leaders from Nahdlatul Ulama (Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation), Infid (an NGO umbrella group) and Mitra Perempuan (a women's NGO) to participate in a conference on civil society in post-Soeharto Indonesia in December 1998. The Monash Asia Institute published the conference papers. The conference was organised by the University of Melbourne and Monash University. It was held at the ABC studios in Melbourne, broadcast on Radio Australia and heard widely in Indonesia.

Civil Society Program launch

Launch of the Institute’s Civil Society Program at the board meeting in Jakarta, August 1998. Left to right: Mr Paul Kelly, Associate Professor Timothy Lindsey, Mr Richard Woolcott AC (Chairman AII), Mr Geoffrey Forrester, Ms Karin Puels.

AII university scholarships

During 1999 the Institute awarded scholarships to students at the University of Indonesia (UI) in Jakarta and the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta to overcome difficulties caused by the crisis. The scholarships allowed students in financial difficulties to continue their studies. nesia and 694 from the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta) were supported under this program.This project was designed to make a meaningful, focused, long-term contribution to both individual Indonesians in need and the future development of the country. A total of 1175 students (481 from the University of Indonesia and 694 from the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta) were supported under this program.


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