Coalitions for inclusion in Indonesia: communities and government tackling discrimination together

22nd August 2016

In a follow-up to Luke Arnold’s recent post on coalitions for disability inclusion in Indonesia, Angie Bexley introduces a broader initiative in which reform coalitions are working for the inclusion of six marginalised groups.

Indonesia has become a middle income country, yet inequality is on the rise. The government recognises that rising inequality hinders economic growth and social cohesion, and it aims to reduce the country’s Gini Coefficient from its 2014 high of .41 to .36 by 2019. But what about those who are systematically disadvantaged through discrimination? What will shift both the fact of social exclusion and the attitudes that sustain it?

Program Peduli is designed specifically to improve social inclusion outcomes for six of Indonesia’s most marginalised communities: people with disabilities, religious minorities, victims of past human rights abuses, remote and indigenous peoples, vulnerable children, and transgendered people (waria). It is a Government of Indonesia community development program supported by DFAT, and it works with civil society organisations in 84 districts.

At the core of the approach is a Theory of Change process. When the second phase of the program was launched in 2014, the first step taken was to invite local CSOs to workshops to discuss the local context and possible local solutions, facilitated by The Asia Foundation, the program’s managing partner.  Many of the CSOs were experts on a particular minority but had not yet looked at that group in the context of social inclusion; instead they tended to design highly targeted programs that risked ignoring the surrounding community and political economy.

CSO participants were asked to focus on three elements of their work: the most common types of social exclusion that affected their particular marginalised community; the most significant actors involved in both exclusion and inclusion; and the types of social change they thought most important in facilitating inclusion.

To better understand how NGOs define exclusion and the approaches they use to address it, a recent meta-analysis examined the Theory of Change papers from workshops with 68 CSO partners.

The most common manifestation of social exclusion, as defined by the CSOs, could be laid at the door of central government – difficulty accessing official documents, particularly legal identity documents and birth and marriage certificates. Lack of these documents creates barriers to all sorts of public services – education, health and social welfare, land ownership. People find themselves shut out from many opportunities to earn a living, and certainly from any hope of state employment.

Yet the CSOs reported that the ‘key excluders’ vary from minority to minority. For waria, people with disabilities and vulnerable children, leading excluders are likely to be family members. Most minority groups are excluded from economic opportunities and local decision-making processes by their neighbours and communities. Some are excluded by the state at different levels, such as indigenous communities whose land rights are not secure, and victims of gross human rights violations whose status remains unacknowledged. And some groups are more likely to self-exclude because they have been excluded from many layers of society, and that feeds into a perpetual cycle of community exclusion.

When asked to identify key agents for change and rate their importance, the CSOs ranked the marginalised themselves 2.5 times higher than other likely initiators of inclusive change. However, the workshop participants also believed that no single group or individual could generate inclusion alone. The CSOs identified that motivation and capacity within the excluded group needs to be matched by active support from others outside it – other civil society groups, local governments committed to implementing policies, and positive media coverage.

In other words, workshop participants came to the conclusion that where highly targeted programs addressing discrete minority issues had failed to address social inclusion, coalitions for change – or, in this case, coalitions for inclusion might fill the gap by involving many elements of the government and civil society.

This perspective is now reflected in Program Peduli programming. A year in, it seems that building coalitions for inclusion has indeed become the CSOs’ chief approach. The program has so far reached over 30,000 of the marginalised poor and provided more than 10,000 people with access to health services, legal identity and employment assistance.

While the approach in each of the program’s current 82 locations reflects the variation of exclusion faced by marginalised communities, there are a few common threads. Each has established a community learning forum which emphasises the participation of the whole community, from religious leaders, concerned citizens and others among the urban or rural poor, to the private sector. And each group is formally legalised, which brings official recognition and provides members with all-important access to decision-making, local budgeting and planning forums. This is the critical step that aims to link community efforts to sustainable and long-lasting systemic change. 

Program Peduli’s support to Disability Forums has helped empower people with disabilities to drive inclusive governance at the village and district levels. This approach diverges from conventional disability-related programming that tends to focus on rehabilitation or income generation without addressing cultural attitudes that keep people with disabilities in a cycle of social exclusion. Through the Disability Forums, their inclusion has been cemented in government budgeting and planning processes. The forums have connected them to other people with disabilities, the wider community, and other civil society organisations. A sign of the shift in cultural attitudes is the appointment of a person with an impairment as a village head. He has catalysed further change, including greater prioritisation of disability-inclusive development by the sub-district and district level governments.

The departure of such initiatives from the traditional focus of inclusion efforts on service outcomes shows how coalitions may be able to prompt transformation – of communities and mindsets. While Program Peduli’s second phase has only been operational for a year, robust emerging evidence suggests that results have a good chance of outliving the program itself. 

Image: The National Consortium for Disability Rights (KONAS), which involves Peduli partners, holds an 'Accessibility for All' event supporting the new district regulation on disability rights ensuring the active involvement of people with disability for inclusive development (Photo: SIGAB, February 2016)


Leave a comment

The views expressed in Opinions posts are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of DLP, the Australian Government or DLP's partner organisations.



Angie Bexley

Angie Bexley

Angie Bexley is the Deputy Director of Program Peduli. Angie’s research interests are in developing understandings about pathways to social inclusion. Previously, Angie worked in Timor-Leste and published on various issues including gender violence, youth identity, the development of civil society and the nation-state. She holds a PhD from the Australian National University.

Read more

Related items

Development cooperation and fighting corruption: thinking differently

Corruption is an emotive word and covers a huge range of behaviours - yet anti-corruption efforts still follow a one-size-fits-all pattern.  

Opinion by Heather Marquette24th June 2015

Innovation: transactional or transformative?

It's time to discuss how the word 'innovation' might mean different things to different audiences. 

Opinion by Chris Roche23rd March 2015

Fiji's Roshika Deo - outlier, positive deviant or simply feisty feminist?

Priya Chattier will speak at DLP's 2016 Annual Conference. Her post here begins a short series on the conference theme of Power, politics and positive deviance.

Opinion by Priya Chattier 1st February 2016

Coalitions for inclusion in Indonesia: communities and government tackling discrimination together

Following up to Luke Arnold on coalitions for disability inclusion in Indonesia, Angie Bexley introduces broader work on the inclusion of six marginalised groups.

Opinion by Angie Bexley22nd August 2016

From objects of care to controllers of lives: governance, development and disability inclusion

The next step on from a rights-based approach to disability inclusion is to hand over control to those who know best - people with disabilities.

Opinion by Luke Arnold25th May 2016

Climate change and adaptation in the Pacific Islands: watering down women's security?

Beyond 'adaptability'? In this guest post, Nicole George highlights the work of women leaders who are challenging a narrow adaptation agenda.

Opinion by Nicole George7th March 2014

Gender - the power relationship that Political Economy Analysis forgot?

While most development research is well on the way to embedding gender analysis, PEA - many donors' key analytical tool - largely ignores it.


Opinion by Evie Browne13th February 2014

The road to transparency in resource-rich Myanmar

Myanmar's resource management transparency process has joined government, business and civil society actors in collective action for the first time.  

Opinion by Taylor Brown1st April 2016

Development - getting our story straight

Replacing the traditional aid narrative with a more grown-up - and more inspiring - development story. 

Opinion by Alex Frankel20th April 2016

Decentralisation and the potential for corruption in PNG

Guest post for Devpolicy on findings from a DLP-supported study on decentralisation and service provision.

Opinion by Grant Walton30th June 2017

Perceptions of women in politics in Fiji: how to accelerate change?

Women are widely seen as entirely capable of taking on political leadership in Fiji. Yet when asked to think about 'leaders', many automatically see men in the role.

Opinion by Rachel Fairhurst20th January 2015

Political analysis as the practical art of the possible

Bringing politics back into PEA - a new paper with Adrian Leftwich

Opinion by David Hudson24th July 2014

Communicating anti-corruption messages in development

If donors are allowed to be open about the possibility of corruption, monitoring mechanisms and proportional responses can be planned - and may improve results. Guest post for the OECD.

Opinion by Heather Marquette9th March 2015

Inequality – the politics behind the policies

On the eve of the 2015 DLP Conference, Deputy Director David Hudson kicks off discussion on the conference theme - the politics of inequality.

Opinion by David Hudson11th February 2015

Colombia's women, tried by war, find new power

Women suffered most in Colombia's long civil war - but they also found a voice. Article in Foreign Policy

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal15th October 2015

The seeds and roots of change

Leadership that drives genuine, lasting reform is rarely - if ever - about one individual. (Guest post in Governance for Development)


Opinion by Heather Lyne de Ver1st December 2014

Beyond perceptions of corruption?

Corruption is hard to define without straying into the subjective. It's also difficult to build robust methodologies to investigate it.

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer5th February 2015

Do anticorruption messages work? Findings so far and what they could mean for Papua New Guinea

How do anticorruption messages influence people’s views about corruption and about anticorruption efforts?

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer23rd March 2017

Gender and power: six links and one big opportunity

Donors have recently made great efforts to understand power in partner countries. Yet they have largely ignored one of the most pervasive power relations – gender.

Opinion by Diana Koester21st May 2015

Welcome to DLP's blog

Welcome to DLP's new blog on politics, power, policy and developmental leadership

Opinion by Heather Marquette10th December 2013

Connections, contradictions and the political economy of attention

Thoughts on two sources of new and useful ideas about the deeper structures that might shape creativity.

Opinion by Chris Roche7th May 2015

Gender analysis, and thinking and working politically – bridging the gap

Guest post on Devpolicy  introducing panels at this week's Australasian Aid Conference

Opinion by Chris Roche14th February 2017

Gender in impact evaluation: norms as well as numbers

Sex-disaggregated data tells us little about the gender-related impact of an intervention, argues DLP research fellow Gillian Fletcher, since gender is a process of judgement linked to norms about femininity or masculinity.

Opinion by Gillian Fletcher27th November 2015

Creative expression and women's empowerment in the Pacific

Through photography, theatre, dance and song, young Fijian women are finding new avenues for public expression and activism.

Opinion by Tait Brimacombe19th March 2015

Adding gender and power to the TWP agenda

Gender relations are full-blown power relationships. Yet in the development context, they are too often seen as value-neutral cultural arrangements. 

Opinion by Sally Moyle6th August 2015

Education against the odds: the work of a women's coalition in Papua New Guinea

PNG's BPW Port Moresby, a case study for a DLP research project, is an impressive example of local women networking without donor assistance to advance gender equity.

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark14th January 2016

Different development: walk the talk

The argument for asset-based approaches to development programming and practice that value communities' capacity, skills and knowledge.

Opinion by Gillian Fletcher14th April 2015

What's in a name? Leadership as more than the 'big men' and 'big women' of history

A more nuanced understanding of good developmental leadership demands a shift away from the conventional focus on 'big' individuals.

Opinion by Heather Lyne de Ver11th February 2014

Neither 'good guys' nor 'bad guys': Positive engagement with armed groups

The final post in our short series on 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance', the theme of our 2016 Annual Conference at La Trobe University, Melbourne, on Monday (8 February).

Opinion by Suda Perera5th February 2016

Is education a magic bullet for addressing corruption? Insights from Papua New Guinea

This post for Devpolicy unpacks the findings of a new Development Policy Centre/DLP paper.

Opinion by Grant Walton17th June 2015

Masculinity and sexual violence in India

The brutal rape and murder in December 2012 of a 23-year-old student in a Delhi bus has been the catalyst for rapidly evolving activism against sexual violence in India.

Opinion by Martin Rew16th September 2015

How quality secondary and higher education can improve national leadership: lessons from Ghana

New DLP research poses the question of whether the focus of the international development community on primary education is too narrow.

Opinion by Amir Jones25th March 2014

Corruption: unpacking the black box of political will

New thinking on the reasons why individuals engage in corruption - including the pragmatic calculation that, right or wrong, corruption may be the only solution to pressing difficulties. 

Opinion by Heather Marquette12th January 2015

Anti-corruption in Bolivia: fighting greed – or attitudes?

Social attitudes towards corruption may be shaped by beliefs and values, rather than facts.

Opinion by Nieves Zúñiga29th June 2015

Where does political will come from?

Guest post for From Poverty to Power introducing DLP's 10-year synthesis report

Opinion by Claire Mcloughlin2nd March 2018

Transparency and Accountability: learning through collaboration

How can the impact of transparency and accountability work be deepened? 

Opinion by Brendan Halloran10th June 2014

Pacific power: new femininities and women's leadership in the Pacific

The educated, internationally connected women who are changing the way 'development' is done

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark24th June 2014

Does talking about corruption make it seem worse?

Examining the reluctance of those working in development to engage with the public on the complexity of corruption in poor countries. Guest post for The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network.

Higher education in the post-2015 agenda: proof that it matters

Taking stock of recent research evidence that shows how higher education can feed into political stability and civil engagement.

Opinion by Susy Ndaruhutse11th September 2014

Identifying rebels with a cause (and effect)

The Developmental Leadership Program will host its 2016 Annual Conference at La Trobe University in Melbourne on 8 February. Its theme is Power, politics and positive deviance.

Opinion by Chris Roche1st December 2015

Rules of thumb for women leaders in the Pacific, and beyond

Guest post for The Interpreter on 'Being the First'

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark22nd February 2018

‘Crows who come in search of dollars’: NGO legitimacy in conflict zones

Do political dynamics affect NGO legitimacy more than performance?

Opinion by Oliver Walton19th August 2014

How can a gendered understanding of power and politics make development work more effective?

Guest post for From Poverty to Power on the launch of the 'Gender and Politics in Practice' findings

Opinion by Helen Derbyshire13th February 2018

What is transformative leadership?

Structural obstacles to progressive change can only be challenged by sustained pressure from coalitions and social movements. (Guest post in University World News)

Opinion by Chris Roche15th April 2016

Security and justice – the mismatch between policy and practice

What hinders more politically nuanced security and justice programming?

Opinion by Shivit Bakrania21st July 2014

Corruption: is the right message getting through?

Anti-corruption messages aim to recruit citizens to the fight - but what do they actually hear?

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer12th August 2015

When the stars align to tackle inequality

Reflections on the 2015 DLP annual conference.

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal18th February 2015

The International Budget Partnership: Reflecting on two decades of campaigning for fiscal governance reform

Focusing on budget accountability ‘ecosystems’ and their influence on budget decision-making and implementation.

Opinion by Brendan Halloran20th December 2016

#Feminism: Digital technologies and feminist activism in Fiji

Guest post on Devpolicy on DLP work with research partners at University of the South Pacific.

Opinion by Tait Brimacombe14th March 2017

Thinking about women and girls makes development work better for everyone

A look at what happens when gender analysis is placed more squarely at the heart of governance work. (Guest post in The Conversation)

Opinion by Orlanda Siow7th March 2017

The Medellin model: don't forget the political processes

Medellin's transformation has not just been a technical fix. The political changes behind social urbanism are an essential element of understanding what has happened in the city.

Opinion by Kate Maclean2nd November 2015

Medellin - more than a miracle

Bad news sells. And for news editors looking for horror stories to recycle, Colombia's second largest city used to be a reliable source.

Opinion by Cheryl Stonehouse4th March 2014