Thinking and Working Politically for Social Inclusion: The Waria of Banjarmasin, Indonesia


Mark Koenig, Erman Rahman, Bryony Lau, Bambang Ertanto Cahyo Dewa and Debra Ladner

February 2018

Download PDF

This case study, jointly published with The Asia Foundation, examines a program that worked with the transgender waria community of Banjarmasin, Indonesia. The program increased social integration and acceptance for waria by promoting positive interaction at the household and community levels. It used political analysis to build networks and coalitions of local actors pushing to transform social norms. It also successfully lobbied government authorities to formally register Banjarmasin’s waria association, and engaged key provincial and local government offices to improve social services for waria. This approach has significantly increased local acceptance and access to services for the waria.

These results were achieved by thinking and working politically in ways that integrated gender considerations. In practice, this meant employing waria in key roles, and involving local waria leaders from the outset in guiding and implementing the work. The team’s understanding of the central role that waria’s gender plays in their social exclusion informed project goals, strategies and activities. The program used simple tools such as gender analysis and stakeholder maps, along with mentoring and peer learning events, to encourage strategic thinking, coalition building and adaptation. It also adapted its strategy over time - for example, by shifting the focus of its networking from government actors to influential community members. Though the project was politically informed, it was less ‘politically active’ in formal spheres.

This case suggests that thinking and working politically can be extended to the level of individual, household and community transformations. Moreover, it may be appropriate to work at this level until broader policy reform is feasible.

 

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

New studies on leadership for transformational change in Africa

Thursday 31st May 2018

A new series of studies asks what factors support or hinder leadership for transformational change in Africa. They are published in collaboration with the UONGOZI Institute.

Read more

New article on politically informed work for climate change mitigation in China and India

Monday 21st May 2018

In Development Policy Review, Tom Harrison and Genia Kostka draw on their DLP research project to explore 'Bureaucratic manoeuvres and the local politics of climate change mitigation in China and India'.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog