Ten years ago, ASB started working in Indonesia following the May 27th Yogyakarta and Central Java earthquake. Initially, ASB started providing relief items and emergency shelter to address the immediate needs of affected households and communities. This was followed by supporting reconstruction efforts through building temporary schools and permanent community health centres. Recovery of livelihoods was also a priority to support households to get back on their feet and to have the income to make independent choices in the months and years ahead.
A core concern for ASB in our work in international development collaboration is to support host government development priorities and objectives. ASB secured a formal partnership with the Indonesian government in 2007 through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs. We are proud to continue this relationship with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Directorate General of Village Governance.
From the outset, the focis of ASB’s work in Indonesia, and now also the Philippines, has been risk reduction and prevention. That is, with foresight and effective preparation much of the damage and loss associated with hazard events, such as the 2006 earthquake, can be avoided. However, during our early work in Indonesia we became acutely aware that most work on disaster risk reduction (DRR) was not reaching those most at-risk. Not only in Indonesia, but also globally, persons with disabilities had been excluded. This realisation led to ASB seeking to be more inclusive in our work and continues to motivate us.
Seeing inclusion as a core component of community resilience lead to us becoming increasingly involved in regional, and international, DRR policy. This lead to co-founding the Disability-inclusive DRR Network (DiDRRN www.didrrn.net) to better ensure disability-inclusion in DRR post-2015. DiDRRN went on to become a major player in ensuring disability-inclusion was a core issue within the new international framework for DRR; the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030.
Much has changed in Indonesia over the last ten years and ASB continues to change and innovate. We feel honoured to have received various recognitions for international best practice over the years. We are delighted to have forged new and lasting partnerships with development organisations, government, civil society, disabled peoples organisations and academia. We are proud to have a young, motivated and dynamic team who question and challenge accepted norms and seek to better our work and ourselves. Today, we work more in partnerships, we work increasingly through local partners and provide greater technical assistance to government. Looking back, this is a far cry from our early days of humanitarian response and we expect and welcome more changes in the years ahead.
However, some things remain constant. For us, we will continue to work with both communities and government to provide practical and enduring solutions. We will also create opportunities to ensure those most at-risk not only participate in our programmes, but actively contribute to shaping the communities and societies in which they live.
On our 10th anniversary, ASB extends a warm thank you to: The government of Indonesia and particularly colleagues at the Ministry of Home Affairs; our local government partners in Java and Sumatra; our UN, NGO and academic colleagues and partners; our national NGO partners in Indonesia and the Philippines; the disabled people’s organisations who have inspired us and the donors who have supported our work over the last 10 years.
Article provided by Dr. Alex J. Robinson
Country Director of ASB Indonesia and the Philippines