09 Apr Civil Society Organizations in Ambon: Gearing-up for 2025 Project Implementation

Last month, CTC collaborated with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (or Packard Foundation) to convene a strategic learning exchange event in Ambon, Maluku. Facilitated by CTC, the learning exchange event was attended by select Maluku-based Ocean Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and experts from the Packard Foundation aiming to discuss what local CSOs in Maluku require to build strong, resilient, and effective organizations to advance collective ocean goals in Indonesia.

On March 18-19, 2024, CTC and Packard Foundation convened a 2-day strategic learning exchange in Ambon, Maluku at Swiss-Belhotel Ambon. The learning exchange event was attended by a total of 36 participants representing 13 select Maluku-based Ocean CSOs (Econusa, LMMA Indonesia, Yayasan Sauwa Sejahtera, MDPI, Burung Indonesia, Toma Majo Lease, Tunas Bahari Maluku, Seventy-Three Foundation, Lembaga Partisipasi Pembangunan Masyarakat, CTC, Yayasan Pengembangan dan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat, Yayasan Baileo Maluku, and Moluccas Coastal Care) and two experts from the Packard Foundation. The objective of the learning exchange was to provide a forum for local CSOS to discuss what they require to build strong, resilient, and effective organizations in Maluku. At the same time, the information from the discussions would inform Packard Foundation on how they can best support Maluku-based CSOs.

Currently, the Packard Foundation is developing its 10-year Ocean Initiative to advance collective ocean goals globally. In Indonesia, the initiative seeks to advance equitable and effective protection of marine and coastal areas in Indonesia and traditional marine resources management systems in Maluku and Papua. This objective aligns well with Indonesia’s 30×30 MPA vision and target by 2030.  Aiming to commence the project in 2025, this learning exchange event intended to gather information from Maluku-based CSOs on their views and ideas on holistic locally-led ocean protection and stewardship. CSO representatives would also discuss their focus areas and activities, challenges faced, and identified needs to achieve their goals. Facilitated by Rubby Emir, the discussion sessions were designed to be an active, adaptive, and participatory exchange of ideas and sharing of common solutions. 

On the first day, participants were engaged in the process of developing a general roadmap for local community engagement in Maluku. This involved mapping of CSOs, identification of strategies and mechanisms for community involvement, acknowledgment of fundamental rights, and the need for enabling conditions, pathways to strengthen CSOs, and support model for and how to improve the support CSOs. The seven steps of the roadmap include: 1) conduct a study of actors and their roles in the community; 2) recognize the roles and needs of actors; 3) conduct capacity-building programs for actors; 4) provide a medium for participation, full involvement, and contribution; 5) provide a legal basis for community participation in resource management; 6) revitalize local wisdom and strengthening both adat and non-adat institutions at the village and provincial level; and 7) independence of organizations/institutions. 

Concerns were also highlighted such as the status and rights of indigenous peoples, unrecognized customary tenure system by the government, non-native communities who do not apply adat system, and the need for innovative CSO engagement and resource management models. Of equal importance, needed solutions were also discussed to address issues concerning CSOs sustainability, such as fundings that match the project’s scope and duration, low success rate in complying with donor requirements, and high transaction costs for preparing project proposals.

On day two, three priority issues were selected for in-depth discussions. They are: 1) eliminating barriers to access funding for local CSOs; 2) optimizing networking; and 3) improving credibility and accountability as well as reporting back to the community. Working in groups, participants discussed and answered the focus questions leading to solutions to address these priority issues. These innovative solutions, among others, are tiered mentoring and coaching and sociopreneurship to remove funding issues, Intermediary Body to optimize networks including the Maluku Department of Marine and Fisheries Affairs (DKP) NGO Partners Forum, and optimizing the online “Rumah Beta Belajar” as a platform for CSOs assessment and mentoring to access funding sources and for community information. With the support from donors, CSO partners, and academia, the participants expect the Rumah Beta Belajar would assist 75% of local CSOs to increase their assessment score by 50% in the next 3-5 years. The role of a dynamisator and seed funding from committed partners with support from intermediaries and donors are also seen as pre-requisites to catalyze desired changes.

The 2-day learning exchange event concluded with participants reaching a consensus that CSOs will continue with the existing Rumah Beta Belajar initiative and gradually establish the physical learning hub; socialize the results of the 2-day event with their respective organizations; and further the discussion and organize a meeting for Maluku-based CSOs that will be coordinated by Teria Salhuteru and Cycelia Pical (of Moluccas Coastal Care). Sandra Tjan (LMMA Indonesia), Hesti Widodo (CTC), and Benny Aladin (Burung Indonesia) were also appointed as mentors for local CSOs in Maluku.

Understanding what local CSOs in Maluku require to build strong, resilient, and effective organizations is the first step for partners and donors to support and advance collective ocean goals in Maluku. By improving CSOs credibility and accountability, community’s trust will be built, and donor confidence obtained for the commencement of new ocean initiatives in Ambon next year. Further, the initiative will contribute to the establishment of enabling conditions to support the effective and equitable conservation of 30% of Indonesia’s marine area by 2030. 

Writers: Olivia Sope, Hesti Widodo, Purwanto, Kasman
Photo: Purwanto/CTC

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