YDA, Advokasi and the endeavour to spread global awareness

Sunday, 30 December 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yayasan Duta Awam (YDA), set up in Solo, Central Java in 1996, is a CSO working on the issue of farmers advocacy and civil society empowerment. Working with 16 full-timers, YDA aims particularly to empower the farmers so that they can advocate themselves independently in the future, when agricultural and rural development issues are projected to escalate politically in Indonesia. This goal is to be achieved through three main strategic activities: participatory research and monitoring, stakeholder dialogue forums and grassroots media. As a “Farmers’ Institute for Advocacy” YDA has clearly formulated its strategy to empower and increase farmers’ capacity through educations, trainings and mobilisation; advocacy; development of public discourse; database; and capacity building for institutions and organisations.

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Website of Yayasan Duta Awam
http://dutaawam.org (visited 17/03/2007)

YDA’s activities span to other regions: Riau, West Kalimantan, Bengkulu and South Kalimantan provinces involving tens of CSOs working in similar issues. YDA is also an active member of SatuDunia, an Indonesian extension of UK-based Oneworld.Net network. Together with its networks, YDA is now leading the monitoring of the implementation of CERD (Community Empowerment for Rural Development), a national project funded by ADB’s loan. As part of its strategy, the Internet is introduced to YDA’s staff, networks, and their beneficiaries: local farmers. Not only is the farmer’s bulletin “Advokasi” made available online, but YDA has also pioneered online communities for farmers and its NGO networks. The result of YDA’s engagement with the Internet sometimes goes beyond what can be imagined. It is certainly misleading to claim that the farmers’ broadened understanding about global issues in agricultural development is the result of YDA’s (and its network’s) use of the Internet. But clearly it is very difficult, if not impossible, for YDA and its networks to keep updated with the latest development in global agricultural development issues, if they do not use the Internet.

To give an example, Tukimin, an ordinary farmer from Kiram Village, Banjar, and a regular reader of Advokasi, confidently argued with an Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s project executor when he saw the mismatch between the planning and the actual project undertaking during CERD project. He insisted that there should be a participatory approach in the project instead of top-down implementation, because “This project is being financed by the government’s debt to ADB, and it is us, the people, who will have to pay it back”, confronting a statement of an ADB’s engineer that the project was possible merely because of ADB’s fund (Advokasi, 2007:12). Using the Internet for dissemination of awareness and broadening perspectives, YDA helps farmers like Tukimin to understand the impact of globalisation in local context.

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“After queuing for oil, now, queuing for national poverty”;
“Public participatory advocacy in Riau: Advocacy was successful and not anarchic”;
“Tips for planting coffee and rice”; “Participatory development in Talang Bunut”; “Is state still there for the poor?”
Source: Farmer’s bulletin Advokasi, Edition 21, downloaded from http://www.dutaawam.org/ (15 May 2007)

 

Source: Observation and in-depth interview with Riza (30/11/2005)
(PhD Thesis, Nugroho, 2007:203 – Box 6.2.)

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