HomeNewsroomStories from the FieldMADANI Partner CSOs Empower Youth through Inclusive Spaces in Makassar City

MADANI Partner CSOs Empower Youth through Inclusive Spaces in Makassar City

Nov 11, 2022

In Makassar, the largest city in eastern Indonesia, youth and young adults aged 15 to 29 account for 27 percent of the 1.4 million inhabitants.

With the right education and skills, this demographic can be a positive force for local development. However, over the past two decades, conflict between youth groups has increased, negatively impacting the surrounding communities. The situation has significantly worsened in recent years; for example, 20 cases of youth group violence in Makassar was reported in 2021, compared to one case in 2018.

Similar to other metropolitan areas, the residents of Makassar face dense living conditions and inadequate public spaces. Further, youth experience limited access to quality education and employment opportunities, and there are not any regular and moderated forums where they can exchange their views. As a result, many young people take their issues to the streets, which make them perpetrators, as well as victims, of violent clashes.

USAID MADANI’s Lead Partner in Makassar, the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ), is focused on promoting diversity and building tolerance among youth groups in Makassar. To advance this cause, ICJ works with the multi-stakeholder Learning Forum Belajar Anak Milenial (BARANI), which brings together key members of the media, academia, government, and other civil society organizations (CSOs).

In late 2021, ICJ and BARANI took action to identify the root causes of certain issues facing youth. Together, they conducted a survey, media monitoring, and a community score card (CSC) to gauge youth participation in local development and their understanding of tolerance and diversity. ICJ and BARANI determined that young people are segregated into groups and that they do not have a space to interact with other groups in a positive way or express themselves, which leads to misunderstandings and violence. These findings form the basis for ICJ’s policy brief and ICJ and BARANI’s improved capacity and legitimacy have allowed them to become an important local development partner recommendations on how the government, civil society, and the private sector can support the role of youth in promoting diversity and social inclusion in Makassar.

In response, ICJ and BARANI created Inclusive Youth Forums (Forum Pemuda Inklusi Kelurahan) in two neighborhoods with a high incidence of youth violence. These forums bring people together from different backgrounds to promote youth cooperation, interaction, and expression. They serve as platforms for education and empowerment, allowing participants to contribute to community development.

For example, ICJ trained forum members on how to assess and monitor public services using the citizen-driven CSC tool and
how to analyze social problems through social analysis tools. Activists have also used the forums in their advocacy efforts to create more youth-friendly spaces and to emphasize the importance of the role of youth in solving communal problems.

The Inclusive Youth Forum initiative has achieved a wide range of successes since its inception. For example, during a recent group discussion at one of the forums, a participant stated that they will take part in the sub-district development planning discussions (Musrenbang) as part of their contribution to the neighborhood. Furthermore, the local government has embraced the initiative, expanding it to four additional wards. As part of this scale up, ICJ helped established two new forums in 2022.

Muhammad Ary Fadly, Head of the Mamajang Sub-District, stated: “We will continue to expand the Inclusive Youth Forums to other wards in the future [and] we look forward to partnering with the forum in solving youth-related conflicts within the community.”

ICJ and BARANI’s collaboration and advocacy continue to have a positive impact in other areas pertaining to youth.”

For example, they convinced the Makassar Government’s Youth and Sports Agency to work with them on drafting the Mayoral Regulation (Peraturan Walikota) on Youth Empowerment, which will help allocate program funding to address youth-related issues. Furthermore, in December 2022, ICJ and the local civil society network hosted the annual Makassar Peace Festival. Endorsed by the government and supported by the private sector, media, and more than 50 CSOs, the city-wide event featured all-day talk shows, workshops, exhibitions, and art performances.

ICJ and BARANI’s improved capacity and legitimacy have allowed them to become an important local development partner in the City of Makassar, strengthen district and provincial networks, and create community-based collaborative spaces. The Inclusive Youth Forum initiative illustrates how CSOs can play a key role in creating local solutions, empowering young
people to overcome development challenges, and advocating for human development improvements through effective policies.