Indonesia is a country located off the coast of Southeast Asia in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Formally known as the Dutch East Indies, the name Indonesia derives from the Greek word ‘Indos’ and ‘Nesos’, which translates to ‘India Island’. Following the arrival of Marco Polo in Sumatra, there were successive waves of European visitors from Portuguese, Spanish, Britain and the Dutch, who sought to dominate the spice trade. In 1596 the Dutch anchored their first vessel at the shore of West Java, and over three decades, they gradually colonised Indonesia. During WWII Japan occupied Indonesia between 1942-1945, and shortly after Japan's surrender, Indonesia declared its independence. However, complete sovereignty was not achieved until 1949, where after negotiations, UN mediation and brutal fighting the Dutch agreed to relent their control and transfer sovereignty to Indonesia.
Indonesia is home to the world's largest Islamic community with, 87.2% of the population Muslim. Aside from its dominant Muslim community, Indonesia is home to a rich, vibrant and versatile culture. Due to their 17,500 islands, Indonesia is home to over 300 ethnic groups, all-encompassing their own culture and way of life. However, there is a commonality amongst these different ethnic groups, as they all share broader Asian cultural values and norms. Indonesians value the collective and individuals are not as autonomous as in Western cultures. Loyalty and family are fundamental to Indonesia's way of life.
In a three-year period, July 2017 to June 2020, Australia received 54 project completion reports from projects it had funded, of which 49 included details of direct beneficiaries. An example of a direct beneficiary of a project that provides a milking cow is the person who receives the animal, and their household. Indirect beneficiaries may include other community members where any excess milk or milk products are more readily available locally.
Table 1 shows the number of direct beneficiaries, by country, for projects that were reported on over the three-year period. Twenty-four projects also reported their direct beneficiaries by gender, and of these, 87% of direct beneficiaries were female.
The majority of projects in India are Milk Cows, Sewing Machine or Small Business projects, which benefit a smaller number of people per project but aim to provide beneficiaries with a direct means of improving their income. This is in comparison to projects in Sri Lanka which tend to benefit more people by design. For example, an electricity project or water purification project providing a source of electricity or water filter to 20+ families, which aim to provide a service to beneficiaries which will then allow them to pursue better health and education outcomes. The project reported on in Indonesia is a coffee growing and training program and is into its 3rd year of operation, which is why the number of direct beneficiaries is relatively high. This project has previously been reported on and you can find out more here.
Many of the Small Business projects are ‘Revolving Loan’ projects, which means that the beneficiary is loaned the money and allowed to pay back in small instalments. This means that the money can be re-loaned when it has been repaid and also removes the need for businesspeople to have to rely on local money lenders who often charge high interest rates.
While there has already been an increase in rate of completion reports received during the last 3 years, due to the recommendation of a Review to actively request completion reports being implemented, the Overseas Partnership Advisory Committee is working on encouraging partners to report on all completed projects.