The meetings also emphasized USAID’s support to civil society in the provinces and the critical role civil society plays in supporting local government accountability and social tolerance.
The Director of USAID’s Office of Democratic Resilience and Rights (DRG) Walter Doetsch and MADANI’s Agreement Officer’s Representative Lutfhi Ashari represented USAID in these meetings, together with Chief of Party Hans Antlov and Mariska Estelita representing MADANI. Representatives from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kumham) also attended the meetings, sending three staff members to accompany USAID and MADANI. Government officials from the provincial Bappeda, Kanwil Hukum dan HAM, Biro Kerjasama SEKDA and Kesbangpol participated in the meetings.
In the meeting in Banten, the provincial government presented the two priorities in Banten, namely regional disparities (the discrepancy in the poverty rate between south and north Banten) and human resource development. The provincial government also mentioned maternal and neonatal health, as Banten is also part of USAID JALIN’s area of operation. One of the participants raised the issue of ineffective budgeting and the gap between the unemployment rate and the demand of industry in Banten. Despite not having formal partnerships with any of Banten’s 1,130 registered CSOs, the provincial government responded positively about the idea and welcomed the potential collaboration between local CSOs with district-level governments in the province.
After the meeting with Banten’s provincial government, MADANI organized a meeting with local CSOs the provincial capital of Serang. There were 14 participants from various CSOs such as LAKPEDAM NU, Aisyiyah, Nasyiatul Aisyiyah, Forum Peduli Kesehatan Ibu dan Anak (Fokpia), Nahdlatul Ulama Banten, Pattiro Banten, Lazharfa, and Fatayat NU Banten. MADANI initiated this meeting to get CSOs’ views on the challenges they face and to socialize them to the MADANI program. When asked about development challenges in Banten, CSOs answered similarly to the provincial government: that poverty and a lack of human capital are the main challenges. Lastly, they also mentioned maternal and neonatal health issues as being a priority, especially in remote area.