Innovating with peacebuilding communications: adapting traditional and contemporary cultural forms
Innovating with peacebuilding communications: adapting traditional and contemporary cultural forms
Our two projects in Indonesia are ‘Beyond Tradition’, which focuses on revitalising the art of Lenong as a dialogic tool for peacebuilding, led by Dr. Nicolas Indra Nurpatria (PI) from the Center for the Study of Family Resilience and Development (CSFRD), and ‘GENPEACE’ led by Dr Sukanya Podder (PI) from King’s College London. They are concerned with amplifying children’s civic participation: Beyond Tradition through adapting Betawi traditional theatre (Lenong), and GENPEACE through developing contemporary art forms alongside the use of social media.
The ‘Beyond Tradition’ project is working alongside project partners such as Padepokan Ciliwung Condet (PCC), and together the aim is to create a Learning Model based on indigenous knowledge, involving young people from vocational schools in the Jakarta province in the process.
A fusion and explosion of Indonesian cultural forms, including Lenong, dance, music, martial arts (pencak silat) and rhymes (pantun) will be incorporated into the Learning Model, which the Education Office and the Cultural Office of Jakarta local government are supporting.
Together the project aims to integrate local wisdom into curricula that promotes everyday peacebuilding.
In GENPEACE, the project is working through Yayasan Save the Children Indonesia and cultural artists from Bandung province, and through existing government sponsored children’s forums.
The aim is to go beyond sharing and presenting children’s views, and instead to explore creating a two-way or dialogic communication between participating children and targeted policy makers.
Through arts-based participatory methods, including musical drama with the traditional Bamboo Angklung instrument, digital videos involving song, dance, poetry recitation, and photo narrative exhibits, GENPEACE will create new structures for intergenerational communication.
This will be achieved by training and working with 30 children and youth facilitators from children’s forums (formal and informal in Bandung district), to report on children’s rights issues at the Musrenbang, through arts and digital based advocacy.
A bespoke training manual for the children’s forums and strategies to secure accountability from adult decision makers will be created.
Policy Briefs from Indonesia
In Indonesia, MAP aims to influence national curricula and youth policy from bottom up. Starting from local Urban Level meetings all the way to national level Ministries decision making processes, such as Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, and Ministry of Education. The endeavor will be done through collaboration with local CSOs, national NGOs, and cultural artists.
From 2020-21, MAP Co-Investigator Harla Sara Octarra and her team from Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia is working through baseline activities which will inform youth policy through the provision of additional materials, training and expertise related to the use of arts-based methods for peacebuilding.
In 2017, the Social Affairs Ministry claimed that 16,920 children were living on the streets, with 2,570 in Jakarta, making the city home to the second largest number of street-connected children. Nowadays they are less seen on the streets but children, and young people, at-risk of ending up on the streets due to poverty and abuse are still apparent. MAP’s work in Indonesia focuses on working with out-of-school programmes and clubs, including Children’s Forum, local CSOs and Lembaga Perlindungan Anak (Child Protection Agency).
MAP will equip the young people (ages between 12 and 24 years old) and their care workers/adult facilitators with tools to explore and communicate issues of importance in the young people’s lives to inform the policy sphere, which has hitherto either neglected the rights of these children or seen them as ’the problem’ rather than addressing root causes, such as violence in the home and community.
As with all of MAP Phase One projects, the Indonesia strand of MAP focus on arts-based practices and approaches. These approaches have focused on local cultural forms such as Lenong (from Jakarta), a traditional theatre form which has been used as people’s entertainment and now is evolving to meet the appetite of wider audience, including young people. The traditional – and now evolving – theatre is rampant with humour, rhymes, live music, and interactions with audience – the ingredients to explore community problems.
Indonesia is a diverse nation and so with the traditional art forms, so Lenong is just an example of how a cultural form can be used to create dialog for peacebuilding. The project also involves local artists with wide recognition and expertise in the field of theatre, film, sculpture, storytelling, and music. They are Sanggar Anak Akar, Yayasan Peduli Musik Anak Indonesia, Studio Hanafi, Kalanari Theatre Movement, Padepokan Ciliwung Condet, Rumah Film Kalamtara, Yayasan Anak Budaya Indonesia, Mr. Eddie Karsito and Mr. Jose Rizal Manua.
In December 2019, MAP Co-Investigators undertook a four-day scoping visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, to explore how varied arts-based approaches have been and can be used to create dialogue and to explore the synergies between MAP and the aims and objectives of related peacebuilding projects.
MAP in Indonesia has produced a Theory of Change which summarises the team’s approaches and aspirations for the project in Indonesia. They have also produced a list of core partners working with MAP in Indonesia, including cultural artists, schools and policymakers.
Indonesia: An Overview
Different Ethnic Groups
UNESCO heritage sites
The Republic of Indonesia is located in South-East Asia, a member of ASEAN and the G20. Indonesia’s Human Development Index (HDI) score is consistently increasing each year, and for 2018 reaches 71.39 (https://www.bps.go.id/galeri#).
The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, but there are over 650 local languages spoken (https://tirto.id/jumlah-bahasa-daerah-di-indonesia-mencapai-652-pada-2018-cSQY). With 270 million people, it is the 4th most populous nation in the world (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).
The Indonesian archipelago contributes to its biodiversity and diverse society (https://www.britannica.com/place/Indonesia). With the many volcanoes the land grows rich crops, although making it vulnerable to seismic activity.
Indonesia is a unitary state with the principle of broad regional autonomy. Administrative regions within Indonesia are currently divided into 34 provinces (https://indonesia.go.id/).
Indonesia has 17,504 islands, where 16,056 have been recognized by the UN (http://www.big.go.id/berita-surta/show/rujukan-nasional-data-kewilayahan-luas-nkri-8-3-juta-kilometer-persegi)
Indonesia consists of 1,340 ethnic groups, based on Statistics Indonesia report in 2010 (https://indonesia.go.id/profil/suku-bangsa)
The Government of Indonesia recognizes six official religions; Islam, Protestant Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. However, there are people who practice local beliefs that are unrecognized by the government; the 2010 population census finds the number is 299.617 people or 0,13 percent of the total population (https://sp2010.bps.go.id/index.php/site/tabel?tid=321)
Around 87.2% of Indonesian population professes Islam (more than 207 million), making the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-largest-muslim-populations.html).
Indonesia is home to 8 UNESCO world heritage sites, including the Borobudur Temple, Komodo National Park and Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (https://whatsnewindonesia.com/get-to-know-8-unesco-world-heritage-sites-in-indonesia/
MAP's history in Indonesia
Children who had read the comic books and joined in educational activities using the coming books expressed
the benefit of the comic books in making them:
”be more confident”
”no longer feel ashamed when asked to share my experience”
”know about medicinal plants such as guava to teat dengue fever, that are useful fo our health, as alternative
from hospital drugs.”
The MAP team first began working together in Indonesia in 2006 through the project “Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue through Interactive Theatre in Eastern Indonesia”. A separate project running from 2004-6, ‘Program for Promoting Peace Building Activities Targeting Young Generations in Poso, Central Sulawesi – Indonesia’, was also undertaken by members of the team. An overview of both programmes is provided below.
Program for Promoting Peace Building Activities Targeting Young Generations in Poso, Central Sulawesi – Indonesia (2004-2006).
The program was managed by Yayasan ARTI and Search for Common Ground Indonesia (SFCGI), with the support from the People of Japan and USAID. The program activities were implemented by local partners in Poso District, Central Sulawesi. The rationale for the program was that following the horizontal conflict in the district and relocation of communities, it was found that remaining books left in schools were scarce or half-burnt. Since there were almost no media targeted on children in the district, the use of media as peace building tool, especially comics, would have positive impact. Based on these considerations, a peace education program utilizing unique comic series based on proven methodology was designed and implemented in Poso to reach a wide children audience with messages of tolerance and practical methods of resolving conflict. Result of final monitoring and evaluation showed that in general, knowledge of direct beneficiaries about concepts on conflict transformation and peace education especially the concept about balance of ecology, social justice, human rights, non-violence, and conflict has increased after participating in the various educational activities. Attitudes of direct beneficiaries toward conflict transformation and peace education has also changed positively after participating in educational activities. Knowledge of the educational facilitators (community facilitators and school teachers) about main concepts of peace building was clearly higher after participating in capacity building workshops. Children who had read the comic books and joined in educational activities using the coming books expressed the benefit of the comic books in making them:
”(I) no longer feel ashamed when asked to share my experience”
”(I) learn about medicinal plants such as guava to treat dengue fever, that are useful for our health, as an alternative for hospital drugs.”
Also, children who read the comic books, but did not join the educational activities also expressed their understanding of the messages in the comic books:
“helping one another as human beings show how they apply love towards other human beings”
“helping one another who are in need although they are of different religion”
From: Final Evaluation Report, “Perjalanan Mencari Sahabat” Comic Book Program in Poso – Central Sulawesi (ARTI & SFCGI, 2006).
Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue through Interactive Theatre in Eastern Indonesia.
The Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue through Interactive Theatre in Eastern Indonesia project was designed to bring youth from conflict and post-conflict areas into productive dialogue through an innovative use of theatre, and to build local capacity for ongoing work in conflict prevention and mitigation. IREX Europe worked with an Indonesian counterpart, the Center for Civic Education-Indonesia (CCEI), to implement the project, which is funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Strategic Programme Fund.
The project aimed at improving tolerance and countering radicalization by targeting its root causes, primarily the extremist dialogue that is leading youth in areas such as Eastern Indonesia toward violence and radicalism. This one-year program introduced a powerful method for helping young people to address and work through conflict, combining theatre, debate and reflection to create a “safe space” for exploring incendiary issues. This approach draws on Brazilian director Augusto Boal’s methodology, which has been used successfully around the world.
Two Theatre Exploration Camps drew young participants, ages 14-16, from four areas of Eastern Indonesia that had experienced significant conflict: Ambon, Lombok, Pasuruan, and Poso in Central Sulawesi. Approximately 100 in-school and out-of-school youth and teachers attended each 18-day camp, facilitated by specialists in interactive theatre methodology. A key component of the project was building local capacity in interactive theatre methodology by including training for teachers and local theatre professionals. Micro-grants were available to the teachers and theatre professionals to conduct follow-on interactive theatre initiatives after the camps.
- Training local theatre professionals and teachers to use interactive theatre techniques for conflict prevention and mitigation, enabling them to address conflict drivers with young people in their home regions and combat the voices of extremism and intolerance.
- Conducting camps for young Indonesians in East Java to engage them in interactive theatre and dialogue, with facilitation by specialists in theatre as a conflict mitigation tool. Through interactive plays they develop, youth will have a “safe space” to explore conflict triggers, address differences, and build tolerance of diversity.
- Supporting theatre professionals and teachers to implement interactive theatre activities in their home communities and schools to build tolerance and respect for diversity, and to prevent and mitigate conflict.
The Indonesian strand of MAP will build on these projects, integrating it into the wider MAP programme and methodological structure whilst tailoring the MAP tools to the unique Indonesian context.