Have an opportunity to learn more about international development project in overseas such a great experience from me. Instead of this opportunity give me a chance working experience in international and multicultural environment, I have taken this opportunity more than that. As a student who is studying with background social anthropology, I have my own perspective on international development project.
I had 5 months preparation before I go to Australia and I spent my 5 months preparation to do observation in Indonesia related to culture, society, and development. In that 5 months also, I did my research related to Indigenous people in Indonesia and how outsiders and government give an intervention to the indigenous people, we called Baduy community.
Sometimes, culture could be complexes issues and not a lot of people aware about the issues. For this discourses, respect is a key point. If we are talking about culture, sometimes some people think the difference between their culture and other culture rather than similarity between each culture. If we are talking about culture, sometimes some people think their culture is the best culture and the other culture is inferior. If we are talking about culture, sometimes it could be sensitive and often could be conflict between one community and other community that come from different cultural background. But in Australia especially in Abt JTA, we are talking about culture with respectful way, we called ‘close the Gap’.
Close the Gap is a new term that I heard and it is awesome term. Close the Gap is not talking about the differentiation but it is talking about equality. We realized there is an unequal condition and we have to close the inequality. There is a gap and we have to close the gap. Term of Close the Gap is not put one culture superior and another culture inferior. The term offers a solution rather than problem. Thus, with the term of Close the Gap I learn that we have to develop community not because other community is weaker than our community but it is about the gap and we have to close the gap.
The big question in my mind before I go to Australia and do internship in Abt JTA is about how international development program (in this case Abt JTA) facing cultural sensitivity. Development is about making a better quality of life. But as we knew that every community have their own perspective about a better life. So, how it works?
In the morning discussion with Karen Harmon, one of the staffs at Abt JTA, we discussed about the discourse between development and culture and finally we arrived at the conclusion that solution from problems in a community is in their own community. After discussion with Karen Harmon, I got the insight about the idea of ‘more cultural suitable’. ANFPP, one of Abt JTAprograms who work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, have collaborated with Leadership Group and I think this kind of collaboration is a part of way to be more cultural suitable. Leadership group is a group of leaders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This kind of collaboration raises voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who get intervention from the program. Thus, leadership group would be able to give intervention to the program about their own perspective because we are working for their community. ANFPP realized that the solution from the problem is in their own community. Thus, it is more cultural suitable because the program hear the voice of the community that they are working with.
Indonesia is very diverse country. We have a lot of cultures and many cultures connected each other. But sadly, culture is not serious discourse in Indonesia. Often, the government give top down policy. Government has model and all of region with different culture background has to follow the model of government. They almost never heard the voices of local people. One of the policy that governement of Indonesia has is BantuanLangsungTunai(Cash transfer). The program only gives money to all of community without assistance from government. Government think that money can solve the problem. Besides that, every community has their own problem and the solution is in their community not with money. Sometime also in Indonesia, there is an area with minim of access to education but the government only builds the school without teacher. See, government of Indonesia still think culture is not really important.
With the awareness that Indonesia is very diverse country and the knowledge that I got from this internship, all of the development policy should consider the cultural sensitivity in the near future. It is my work, as an Indonesian Future Leader.
Participant of GMB Homestay Program 2016