Environmental governance and sustainability to abate poverty in Indonesia

Tuesday 7 February 2006

The primary objective of this action is to abate poverty by engaging local communities in the conflict -affected provinces of Central Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua in initiatives that seek to re-establish sustainable livelihoods. This five year project will be a component of a wider program to abate local conflict over resources, increase grass-roots participation in decision-making and environmental governance, and reinforce local economic rights through democratisation at the village, county and district levels. The larger program will bring together resources from Alternatives and INSIST and their supporters fro the EU and other institutions. In particular the partnership supported as part of this component will focus on establishing sustainable livelihoods trainings for conflict-affected communities.

The project will build on INSIST’s well-established network and program in the Malukus, which will act as a resource of trainers and expertise. Alternatives will bring to this its network of partners and experience in Central Sulweasi and Papua. By connecting these groups INSIST and Alternatives will establish an ad-hoc network to support sustainable livelihoods training in the Eastern provinces of Indonesia which will engage in two or three demonstration projects in Central Sulawesi and Papua. In each case the combined skills of the network members will be applied to engage community members in new training programs and to build a robust approach to combating poverty and improving local governance through securing land rights and sustainable practices.

To achieve the overall goal, the following objectives will be met:
1. Combat poverty by increasing incomes for small-scale farmer and fisherfolk communities. Increasing incomes will be achieved both through increased revenues, and also by reducing expenses through using local knowledge and technology to replace external inputs;
2. Support community cooperative or collective marketing, transportation or purchasing systems, particularly in remote areas, and areas affected by communal violence;
3. Support farmer and fisherfolk field-school models, and farmer- and fisherfolk-led participatory research into ways to reduce the use of synthetic inputs (i.e. through integrated pest control, natural fertilisers), protect farm lands and fisheries, increase farm yields and fishing catches and develop new technologically appropriate post-harvest processing and marketing;
4. Protect farmer and fisherfolk incomes by reinforcing locally-led environmental research and protection efforts, and reinforcing a sustainable livelihoods approach to community development;
5. Expand and reinforce regionally-based coalitions of community groups and NGOs that can provide a broad set of services locally, respond quickly to emergencies, and provide mediation services during times of conflict;
6. Initiate a campaign that increases grass-roots participation in environmental governance at the village, county and district levels; and,
7. Assist community groups seeking to consolidate and reinforce local land and economic rights through democratisation at the local government levels.

This action seeks to address these root causes by supporting three levels of capacity building toward poverty alleviation: In partnership with the Indonesian Society for Social Transformation (INSIST) and their national network, between CBOs at the regional level, and at the community level. The action will focus on building capacities through the training of trainers, developing robust regional NGO and CBO networks encompassing a full set of resources and skills needed to address the local challenges, and at the village level by empowering farmers and fisherfolk through Farmer- and Fisher folk Field Schools and Action Research. The end goal will be to instill at the village, county, district and regional levels the skills and abilities necessary for communities and CBOs to address the challenges related to poverty, isolation, conflict and natural disasters that may arise. At the same time the action will empower communities to protect the foundations of their economies by strengthening local land tenure rights and economic rights, as well as engaging community members in environmental governance, management and protection.

By addressing poverty in remote, conflict affected communities, this project will put more resources in the hands of community members (both men and women), thus empowering them to send their children to schools, establish new local businesses, access better health services, improve their nutrition and use their resources in a sustainable manner. Thus the project will directly contribute to Indonesia’s and the EU’s attempts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Strengthening Community-Based Organisations Capacities for Poverty Alleviation and Community Organising

Through the local implementing partners INSIST and FIELD, a comprehensive training programme will respond to the organising, logistical and networking challenges of the various community-based organisations and self-help groups present in Maluku, Sulawesi and Papua. Following the identification and recruitment of local community organisers, different training sessions will address the challenges they are facing, in order for them to be in a better position to respond to community needs. Prior to the various capacity building activities, appropriate field research and consultation with community associations will be conducted in order to identify the strengths, but also the needs and weaknesses of communities’ leadership. The activities described here in section A will lay the groundwork for the field schools, action research and income generating activities by instilling community-led procedures in the local CBOs who will coordinate the poverty alleviation activities at the village level.

Field Schools: Increasing Incomes for Farmers and Fisherfolk

The overarching goal of this project will be to combat poverty in Indonesia’s eastern provinces by increasing and securing income generating opportunities for farmers and fisherfolk in combat affected communities. To achieve this, the most critical activity will be to engage local farmers and fisherfolk in a participatory development approach whereby local facilitators will help communities to establish their own investigations and their own initiatives to reduce their dependence on external inputs, devise new post-harvest value-added processes, and to increase their yields where possible. These investigations will follow field-school and farmer- or fisherfolk-led research approaches developed by the local groups FIELD and INSIST, and will be implemented in collaboration with grassroots community based-organisations based in the regions of interest.

Farmer- and Fisherfolk-led Action Research (FFAR)

Beyond simply engaging the communities in new ways to increase their incomes, the action also has the objective of securing and strengthening income generating activities. As farmers use increasing quantities of chemical fertilisers, expand and intensify irrigation schemes and maximise yields within limited croplands they threaten to exhaust the soils of their fertility, poison local water systems, and damage lands through increasing salinity. In fisherfolk communities there are increasing pressures form run-off from agricultural or logged-over lands, destructive fishing practices, and over-fishing that also threaten to undermine the basic resource behind their income generating activities.

Community-led Environmental Governance

The period of implementation of the proposed action will coincide with the new process of decentralisation of resources management powers to the Kabupatan level (district). Crucial to this process are appropriate capacity building and information sharing approaches that pull together community groups and municipal authorities. As the Indonesian civil society and the community groups sector have developed a solid expertise in terms of resources management and environmental protection, this action will build on their past experience to consolidate sound, community-led environmental governance practices in the regions of intervention.

Land and Economic Rights

The lack of information and popular media addressing peoples’ rights has been identified, through many investigations as the main cause of this situation. Even if the current post-Suharto democratic transition eventually leads to recognition of local peoples’ right to land and to economic activity, many rural and indigenous communities are still unaware of their basic rights. That is why the action will integrate a comprehensive component to address the needs for participatory research, information sharing, and the production of pedagogical material and popular media (pamphlets, newsletters, web-based economic and land rights resources, etc.).

Networking, Information Sharing and Consolidating Regional Coalitions

To some degree Indonesia’s NGO sector mirrors the national government, particularly in the way that it is centralised around Jakarta and in Java. As a result within the outer provinces the NGOs and CBOs frequently must rely on expertise from Jakarta to train facilitators, lead major campaigns or design cross-cutting programming. Over the past six years, the opening of the non-governmental sector since the lifting of the restrictions placed on it by the Suharto regime, has lead to the establishment of many expert local CBOs. However, these groups are mostly focussed solely on one activity or other, and are often too overworked to provide training services or support to other CBOs in the region. By supporting groups from the eastern provinces to work together ad share knowledge through training programs this project will create a new network of local development experts that can be built on over the longer term and support future initiatives in the region, breaking the reliance on the groups located in the metropole.

Time Frame:

Year 1: 2006

 strategic planning between Alternatives, INSIST and the local CBO groups
 select 2-3 communities in Papua and Central Sulawesi to hold the projects
 Establish the first season of the Farmer field schools and the FFAR activities
 Engage community members, local leaders, CBO staff and local authorities in trainings and discussions over issues such as participatory decision making, land tenure, environmental governance

Year 2: 2007

 review the strategic plan and determine how the project is achieving its objectives by assessing the quantitative and qualitative indicators.
 Prepare for the second farmer field school season, by empowering the previous year’s participants as trainers in the second phase
 Determine potential new communities to be engaged in the action
 Hold a mid-way capacity building and sharing conference on the FFAR and sustainable livelihoods, facilitated by INSIST
 Begin second phase of trainings and dialogues with local authorities over key issues: focussing on establishing an understanding of places where the current system needs to be altered to bring legislation in line with community needs.

Year 3: 2008

 review and complete the strategic planning and evaluation process, developing a model and recommendations for longer-term and future programming that can build on the new capacities in the CBOs and their target communities
 final season of externally supported farmer-field school and FFAR training, with the implementation of the exit strategy to empower the communities to continue their on-going research and training.
 Prepare and lobby for joint statements between local authorities and communities for increased protection for land rights, effective environmental governance and participatory decision-making
 Project evaluation, with particular focus on indicators related to poverty alleviation, increased dialogues, sustainability of activities and increased economic integration between IDPs and host communities
 Final results reporting and future planning seminar hosted by INSIST and Alterantives.


The target groups in the conflict-affect communities have a wide range of common needs, stemming from the general needs witnessed across Indonesia’s Eastern provinces. These include:
 a need for increase income potentials, and mechanisms to develop locally sustainable industries (i.e. post harvest processing, marketing cooperatives etc.) to increase family financial resources, and stem the problems arising from a current average annual12% rise in the cost of living in Indonesia;
 increased options for fisherfolk and farmers to access markets, particularly for isolated communities;
 increased access to schools, health care, midwifery etc. - typically dependent on the availability of finances to pay school fees, access to clinics and duns to pay for services;
 Official recognition of the connection between their income generation activities (i.e. the basis of their livelihoods) and sound environment governance, fair and equitable land and economic rights, and democratic processes at the village, county and district levels;
 Access to emergency services, such as conflict resolution, resettlement assistance, natural disaster relief and early warning systems, during times of crisis.

The target group comprises those communities hardest hit by the last 5 years of communal violence in Indonesia’s Eastern provinces. In each of three regions (Papua, Central Sulawesi and Maluku) ten villages will participate in the program. The participants (target groups) will have the following characteristics:
 include both IDPs and their host communities in all activities, particularly those families who are the poorest, and those in communities furthest from services, markets and schools;
 livelihoods for both women and men from small-holder farming families, small-scale fisherfolk, landless peasants, or owners of small community businesses (i.e. local kiosks, petrol merchants etc.)
 the children, wives, husbands, grand parents, extended families of those involved in the action;
 local CBOs and their field-staff, particularly those needing training in the field-school and action research techniques;
 local CBO and NGO offices and trainers who will be assisted to expand their networks and opportunities to apply and transfer their skills within their region.

Overall the action will improve the livelihoods of the target groups by empowering them to steer their own direction toward adopting new income generating activities, or improving efficiency within those current being used. Furthermore, the program will involve a large component to ensure the sustainability of its benefits by confronting the challenges that conflict-afected communities face, and improving their support networks. To in accomplishing this the following improvements will be realized:

 Increased opportunities for IDPs and host communities to improve their economic and social prospects through cooperative business activities and gaining faire access to government assistance packages;
 Farmers and fisherfolk developing and using new techniques and improved traditional techniques. In terms of farming, better techniques are being used by a greater amount of farmers for the production of rice, vegetables and cocoa; for fisheries, fisherfolk have a greater use of deep-sea fishing and improved mari-culture to combat sea resource degradation;
 Farmers and fishers trained at the Field Schools are expanding the training to other producers, through farmer-to-farmer and fisher-to-fisher capacity-building approach;
 Indonesian conflict-affected communities developed improved resource management strategies, and more democratic environmental governance policy.
 Local community leaders and members have a greater impact to ensure land and economic rights and become involved policy-making at the village, county and district levels.
 Greater access to conflict resolution and emergency assistance services, as well as improved capacities within communities to abate whatever conflicts may arise.

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