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SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND

CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA


PROMOTING DEMOCRACY AND PLURALISM
IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

BACKGROUND ICS PROGRAM AND allowed TAF to continue and expand


This report summarizes ndings of an PARTNERS this program.
assessment of The Asia Foundations Islam in Indonesia has been pluralistic The ICS program is based on two prem-
(TAF) program on Islam and Civil Society and tolerant. Mainstream Muslim reli- ises, which inform its ongoing activities:
(ICS) in Indonesia. Funded by USAID gious leaders are generally committed to
since its inception in 1997, the program the values of democracy and inter- To develop and nurture broad-based
involves collaboration with Muslim lead- religious tolerance. Moreover, the coun- support for democratic political
ers and organizations to support democ- try has a rich tradition of broad-based reform, NGOs that are linked to
racy training and civil society develop- Muslim organizations that have gener- Muslim organizations must be used as
ment. It encourages the development of intermediaries to effectively trans-
ated social capital, creating a favorable
a politically secular Indonesia, based on mit and explain crucial civil society
environment for social activism. Finally,
values of freedom, religious tolerance,
the country has undergone a successful concepts to ordinary Indonesians.
and pluralism.
transition from authoritarian rule to a Rather than creating civil society
The Center for Development Informa- democracy based on the principles of organizations, TAF helped existing
tion and Evaluation of USAIDs Bureau competitive elections and the rule of law. civic and educational organizations in
for Policy and Program Coordination the Muslim community to undertake
(PPC/CDIE) undertook an in-depth In 1997, TAF submitted a proposal new initiatives. Many of the organiza-
assessment of the program during to USAID on Islam and civil society. tions had already begun to champion
FebruaryMarch 2004. The purpose was The objective was to strengthen
not simply to assess the organization, the efforts of a diverse group of
achievements, and shortcomings of the Muslim religious NGOs who
program, but also to draw policy and were committed to promoting
programmatic lessons that can be ap- the engagement of Indonesias
plied in other Muslim or predominantly Muslim majority population
The Asia Foundation

Muslim societies. in building democracy and


The evaluation details lessons learned civil society. USAID accept-
relating to the design and implementa- ed the proposal and pro-
tion of civil society programs in the vided an initial three-year
Conducting a training program on
Muslim world and suggests precondi- grant in September 1997. gender equity within Islam in Indonesia.
tions for their success. Subsequent funding has

PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13 BUREAU FOR POLICY AND PROGRAM COORDINATION PD-ACG-325
FEBRUARY 2006
democracy and civil society in the 1980s. Seven ICS partners are currently engaged in civic
Others had been active in general education education activities, reaching audiences varying
and welfare services and now sought to extend in size from a few dozen to tens of thousands of
their activities to civic education and democ- students a year.
racy training. Drawing on its 30-year history
of collaboration with Muslim organizations, An example of a small activity is the monthly
TAF identied NGOs dedicated to the pro- seminar conducted on six university campuses
motion of a pluralist, tolerant, and democratic by a conservative Muslim student organization.
Indonesia. Founded in 1982, the organization has long had
a theologically conservative reputation. However,
Religious terminology is more effective than the ethno-religious violence that raged in Indo-
secular discourse in winning popular support nesia from 1998 to 2002 led its young leadership
for democratic values. Indonesian society had to develop an interest in combating extrem-
been transformed by an Islamic resurgence, ism by developing seminars on pluralism and
making the country religiously and culturally democracy. Its activities are targeted at university
more Islamic. As a result, increasing numbers campuses known as strongholds of hardline
of Indonesians look to Islam as a source of Islamism. Most of its meetings are attended by
guidance and inspiration, while at the same 1525 people.
time they seek to enhance democracy and
strengthen civil society. At the other end of the spectrum are projects
on civic education currently at the State Islamic
The ICS program has about 30 partners with University (UIN) in Jakarta and the private Mu-
a broad array of activities and target audiences. hammadiyah University (UMY) in Yogyakarta.
The current program operates in six elds: civic With the nancial support of the ICS program,
education and Islam, democracy training through UIN convened a special committee to prepare
mosque and pesantren (residential religious material for a course book in Indonesian entitled
school) networks, pluralism and tolerance, Islam Democracy, Human Rights, and Civil Society in
and the media, gender, and policy advocacy. 1999. The book and its subsequent editions are
being used in civic educational classes taught
PROGRAM-SUPPORTED in the university. The UMY is the second ICS
ACTIVITIES partner currently involved in the development
of a civic education program based on principles
CIVIC EDUCATION
of democracy and human rights. Like its UIN
Civic education has been a central component
counterpart, the UMY program is intended to
of the ICS program since its inception, and it
replace the authoritarian indoctrination required
remains its largest and most ambitious initiative.
under the Suharto regime with courses on de-
mocracy, pluralism, and citizenship.
ABOUT THIS BRIEF
DEMOCRACY TRAINING THROUGH
MOSQUE AND PESANTREN
This paper was researched and written by Robert W. Hefner, Professor and
Associate Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston NETWORKS
University; and Krishna Kumar, Senior Social Scientist, CDIE, USAID. ICS activities also seek to encourage and pro-
They are grateful to the colleagues, Indonesian experts, and friends who mote democratic values in pesantrens and
assisted the endeavor. mosques, which are the only sources of civic
education and information for many Indone-

2 PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13


sians. Often teachers and preachers from these training is intended to introduce democratic
institutions have more credibility than leaders of student government into pesantrens, a signicant
government and political parties. Therefore, as innovation in an institution long known for its
early as the mid-1980s, and well before the in- strict hierarchy. The program also encourages stu-
auguration of the ICS program, TAF and several dent participants to go into society and conduct
European aid agencies identied pesantren and research on district-level government, with an
mosque networks as potential nodes for the dis- eye to bringing inefciencies and corruption to
semination of information about democracy. public attention. The goal is to link these internal
Four projects continue today under the aus- reforms in pesantren government to external
pices of the ICS program. One partner works initiatives on good governance. The partnering
in collaboration with the largest association of institution hoped to expand this program from
South Sulawesi pesantrens (1,500 pesantrens its current 15 districts to 150.
and 13 institutes of higher education). It has also Still another partner conducted workshops on
established a network of pesantrens designed
democracy education for preachers (khatib) at
to address common problems, such as religious
Friday mosque services in the Jakarta area from
extremism and intra-religious tolerance.
2002 to 2004. During 200203, it trained some
Another partner supports a democracy-training 500 preachers on matters of pluralism, tolerance,
program in six large pesantrens in Java. The and democracy. Taken together, these preachers

Source: Central Intelligence Agency.

SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA 3


ofcials who have entered the political arena. It
organizes meetings and seminars and is working
to develop a network of pesantrens for combat-
ing violence.

The International Center for Islam and Pluralism


(ICIP), which was established in mid-2003, aims
to promote scholarly exchange between Indone-
sian Muslims and Muslim activists and scholars
in other parts of the Muslim world. Its seminars,
fellowships, and visitor programs help strengthen
research and scholarship by Indonesian Muslims
The Asia Foundation

on democratic pluralism, link these intellectuals


to like-minded Muslim scholars in other Muslim
societies, and translate and disseminate materials
created by Indonesian Muslims to other Muslim
Bus advertisements promote tolerance and active nonviolence to teenage youth. countries.

ISLAM AND THE MEDIA


reach about 50,000 congregants each week. The ICS program also supports several partners
Some 2,000 handbooks for sermons on democ- who have undertaken many media activities
racy and pluralism were also distributed through aimed at an array of age groups, social classes,
this program. If funding can be expanded, the and regions.
hope is that this program can be extended to cit- For example, one partner undertakes many
ies across Indonesia. activities that reach hundreds of thousands of
people. Its most promising activity is a weekly
PLURALISM AND TOLERANCE
one-hour radio talk show aired by 40 radio sta-
INITIATIVES
tions in 40 cities, from Aceh in the western part
As ICS activities expanded, TAF and its partners
of Indonesia to Maluku in the east. The topics
realized it was not sufcient to promote values
mostly relate to pluralism and its relevance to
of religious pluralism and tolerance; it was also
Islamic doctrine, and mainstream Muslim leaders
necessary to mainstream the rich pluralism and
and scholars answer questions from the audi-
variety of approaches within intra-ethnic dis-
ence. Based on transcripts from the show and
course and dialogues.
interviews with mainstream Muslim scholars, the
A long-established center for the promotion partner also provides a weekly half-page col-
of pluralist Islam is preparing a book on inter- umn to more than 100 daily newspapers. It also
religious relations and pluralism by a team of runs seminars on university campuses, target-
renowned Islamic scholars that is expected to be ing science and professional faculties regarded
used in sermons and speeches. Another organi- as strongholds of Islamic fundamentalism. The
zation undertakes activities to raise awareness partner sponsors a website that features articles,
about pluralism within the Islamic community. reviews, and weblinks on democratic Islam that
Founded by graduate students with pesantren receive 9,000 hits per day. Finally, it produces
backgrounds, the organization maintains close public service television ads in support of plural-
relations with religious leaders and pesantren ism and tolerance.

4 PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13


Another partner publishes an insert in a popular established domestic violence counseling and
magazine that is read by at least 20,000 teenagers advocacy centers in towns across Indonesia, the
and sponsors bus-side advertisements to promote rst such national network. These activists have
tolerance and active nonviolence. Yet another been at the forefront of the campaign to high-
partnering organization distributes at mosques light threats to womens rights posed by efforts
52,000 copies of a weekly yer that targets lower- to implement harsh interpretations of Islamic
middle-class and lower-class readers, covering (sharia) law.
topics such as Islam and womens rights, Islamic
views of farmers rights, and democracy. The


organization is also Indonesias most important
One partner established domestic violence
publisher of Muslim and translated Western
works on democracy, pluralism, and gender counseling and advocacy centers in towns across
equality.

Another institute partnering with ICS is en-


Indonesia, the rst such national network.

gaged in organizing radio talk shows on issues of
Islam and pluralism. It also runs public service Other partner activities include organized
announcements on television on democracy, seminars and radio programs on gender bias as a
pluralism, and Islam that reach some 40 mil- source of violence against women. One partner
lion viewers and publishes a tabloid insert and a organizes seminars and sponsors radio talk show
scholarly journal. campaigns that reach an estimated 1 million
listeners, and it conducted workshops involving
ICS also supports a group in Makassar, South activists engaged in the movement against imple-
Sulawesi, that sponsors a weekly radio program mentation of sharia legislation. Another partner
and university seminars on Islam and pluralism sponsors gender-education activities, distributes a
where attendance ranges from 15 to 30. The weekly yer on gender issues, publishes a quar-
group has sought to provide a moderate voice in terly journal, and sponsors bimonthly forums on
a province that has been torn by radical Islamist Islam, gender, and democracy in four strategically
agitation since the fall of Suharto. important pesantrens.

ISLAM AND GENDER POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLICY


Partners of the ICS component on Islam and ADVOCACY
gender support gender equality, womens politi- Several ICS partners are engaged in policy advo-
cal participation, and nonviolence. As with the cacy and efforts to professionalize the operations
media component, gender activities are multi- of Muslim political parties.
tiered, with target audiences ranging from small
workshops for religious scholars to large radio A partnering institute runs programs designed
audiences. to help Islamic parties improve their platforms
by focusing on the needs and concerns of the
Partners are working to enhance the understand- people, rather than on implementation of Islamic
ing of gender issues among women preachers law. Another partners projects aim to increase
(muballighat). Others conduct training sessions citizen participation in district policymaking. A
on womens social and political rights and aim third partner trains rural people to organize co-
to educate male and female pesantren leaders on operatives, operate micronance institutions, and
Islam and violence against women. One partner engage in policy advocacy in local government.

SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA 5


A Jakarta-based NGO conducts hearings, legisla- including enrollment in institutions of higher
tive research, and direct advocacy for religious education.
minorities and publishes a brief bulletin on
Muslims and minority religions in Indonesia.
RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS
It aims to counteract radical Islamist efforts to
On the whole, ICS partners were quite effective.
implement sharia and outlaw local religious
traditions deemed heterodox or un-Islamic. The They worked hard and undertook the planned
NGO established a database on religious dis- initiatives. During its rst year of operation, ICS
crimination and prepared a working paper that program partners had to respond to the tumult
identies laws and regulations that protect the of regime change, economic recession, and bitter
rights of religious minorities. In recent years, it sectarian violence. Even then, their achievements
has concentrated its activities in the provinces were quite satisfactory.
of West Java (Jawa Barat) and South Sulawesi The partners fared much better during the
(Sulawesi Selatan), where radical Islamists have
second phase. The assessment team did not nd
been especially active.
that any partner that had experienced outright
One of the ICS partners coordinates initiatives failure. The majority of program partners have
designed to promote reconciliation between performed well, many exceptionally so. However,
victims of the 196566 violence (which took an the assessment team identied a few general
estimated half-million lives, most from the ranks shortcomings of the projects and activities.
of the Communist Party) and Muslim leaders
Many partners found it difcult to keep up with
who participated in the violence. In addition
to reconciliation, the program seeks to change planned project schedules. Often, the delays were
legislation that continues to bar ex-communists caused by overly ambitious plans, unrealistic
and their children from government services, timetables, and limited experience. In a few cases,
program partners undertook a project without
careful planning. In one example, the preparation
of a monograph on the concepts of democracy,
pluralism, and human rights was delayed because
the writers were located quite a distance from
each other and had problems meeting regularly.
An experienced organizer would have anticipated
the problem and arranged for transportation. In
a more serious example, little progress was made
in a program of civic education that was to be
introduced as a component in required courses
on religious history and theology.

Because of cultural and structural barriers, ICS


The Asia Foundation

partners found it difcult to secure womens


participation on the scale expected. For example,
womens participation in the otherwise highly
successful project on civic education remained
The Asia Foundation helps NGO partners to advocate for greater roles for
women in policymaking. consistently 2030 percent of the total number
of participants. Low womens participation was

6 PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13


also a problem in another civic education train- problems and challenges facing contemporary
ing program. Indonesian society. Some examples show how the
ongoing dialogue engages and has potential for
A few partners also encountered resistance from
engaging a large audience:
conservative clergy. Many conservative elements
took exception to yers produced by one partner In Indonesias 47 state-supported Islamic col-
and accused it of disparaging the relevance of leges and institutes, about 75,000 students
religion and insulting Islam for the sake of West- took a full-term course on democracy and hu-
ern democratic ideas. To diffuse the tensions, man rights in 2003. The program has started
the partner organized a meeting with critical covering all 46 state Islamic institutions of
Muslim leaders. Resistance by conservative clergy higher education. Together, these institutions
is neither unexpected nor uncommon: program enroll about 18 percent of Indonesias college
partners have to take it into consideration. students, train the majority of Muslim profes-
sionals who work in the various government
A major ICS program limitation is that neither
ministries associated with Islamic affairs, and
TAF nor the partners appear to have given much
set the tone for public discussion in the Mus-
thought to sustainability of current activities
lim community as a whole.
without continued, substantial outside support.
Interviews with program partners indicated that The civic education curriculum is now begin-
many assumed that TAF funding would con- ning to be taught in all 35 Muhammadiyah
tinue indenitely. They have made little effort to universities, which have a combined popula-
make their activities cost effective or self-sustain- tion of 30,000 students. All enrolled students
ing. For example, a magazine produced by one will take a full-term course that discusses the
partner is unlikely to cover its expenses from sales concepts of democracy, human rights, and
and advertising for years to come. Manyif not gender equality from an Islamic perspective.
mostcurrent initiatives supported by the ICS In light of Muhammadiyahs inuence in the
program would probably cease in the absence of Muslim community as a whole, this develop-
USAID funding. TAF and its partners should ment is likely to have a profound impact on
explore ways to raise resources locally so that the future professionals and Muslim leaders gradu-
program can survive without USAID funding. ating from these universities.

Media initiatives reach millions of people


ICS PROGRAM IMPACT across the country through weekly radio call-in
EXPANDING A NATIONAL DIALOGUE talk shows. One on religion and tolerance is
ON ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY relayed through 40 radio stations nationwide,
The most important contribution of the ICS and another on Islam and pluralism reaches
program is probably that it has expanded a listeners through ve radio stations in South
national dialogue on the issues of democracy, hu- Sulawesi (Sulawesi Selatan). A weekly televi-
man rights, and gender equality. A cross-section sion call-in show on gender equity within
of peoplestudents, Islamic and women leaders, Islam reaches viewers in the greater Jakarta
and even the informed publicare participating. area, and there is a monthly television talk
What is most encouraging about this dialogue is show on Islam and pluralism in the Yogyakarta
that issues of democracy, pluralism, and toler- area. There are no hard data on the audiences
ance are being discussed with reference to Islamic of these shows, but TAF estimates that the
theology, practices, and symbols, as well as the combined audience runs into several millions.

SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA 7


Over 2,000 pesantrens in Java, Sumatra, projects, acquire new expertise, and even secure
Sulawesi, and Kalimantan participated in a resources from other international organizations.
variety of training programs on gender, hu-
Many partners have grown over time, although
man rights, and democracy over the course
their growth cannot always be attributed to their
of the program. Program partners promoted
partnership in the program. However, there is
discussions on Islam and democracy within
little doubt that it helped. The strengthening
pesantrens by creating training materials and
of Muslim civil society organizations commit-
curricula and training senior religious leaders
ted to pluralism and democracy is likely to have
in principles of Islam and democracy.
positive effects on the ongoing democratization
About 200,000 yers addressing contempo- process.
rary issues from an Islamic perspective are
distributed in hundreds of mosques in selected FACILITATING FORMAL AND
regions of the country. The program has also INFORMAL NETWORKS
supported a dialogue between adat (local The program has also facilitated formal and in-
cultural groups) and pesantrens or mainstream formal networks among over 30 Muslim partner
Muslim groups that were prone to conict organizations that have begun to see themselves
in West Java and South Sulawesi (Sulawesi as an emerging force committed to building a
Selatan). pluralistic, democratic country. These organiza-
tions help each other in many ways, often by
The continuing effects of this dialogue, initiated sharing ideas, people, and resources. Within this
and supported by the ICS program, cannot be large network, there are several subnetworks:
underestimated. It has directly and indirectly one supports a dialogue on Islam and gender,
helped mainstream democratic forces who believe one plugs pro-democracy Islamic media into
that Islam supports the values, beliefs, and ways mainstream media, and one facilitates coopera-
of life that constitute the ethos of a just, demo- tion among Islamic educational institutions. For
cratic society. example, when a pro-polygamy campaign was
begun by Islamist groups in Indonesia, the Islam
STRENGTHENING INSTITUTIONAL
and gender network mobilized a multipronged
CAPACITY
media campaign, publishing columns in the
The program has also contributed to strength-
nations largest daily newspaper and arranging
ening the institutional capacities of many of
for ICS partners to argue against polygamy on a
its partners. Before their involvement in the
radio show and a national TV station.
program, most of the partners had little or no
experience working with international donors ICS partners have joined with some Christian
or undertaking initiatives promoting democ- and interfaith groups to form a rapid-response
racy. Moreover, many partners did not possess pluralism advocacy network whose primary
expertise in organizing meetings and workshops mission is to monitor regional and national leg-
or producing publications targeted to different islation for antipluralist elements and galvanize
audiences. All this changed as a result of their the nationwide network into a multipronged
partnerships with the ICS program. In interviews advocacy campaign against such legislation.
with the assessment team, some partners indi- Though this group is still in its formative stages,
cated that they beneted from their participation it has already helped roll back the Religious Har-
in program activities. TAFs nancial and techni- mony Bill, proposed legislation that would have
cal support enabled them to develop innovative severely restricted interfaith relations. Exposing

8 PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13


the bill to national scrutiny and debate generated
a public outcry that resulted in its public retrac-
tion by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the
bills sponsor.
TAFs 37-year history of working with Muslim
organizations in Indonesia contributed to the

FACTORS AFFECTING PROGRAM


legitimacy and effectiveness of the program.

PERFORMANCE
Several factors have contributed to the success of access and legitimacy. It is worth noting that the
the ICS program. few ICS projects that proved ineffective were
those with weak local ownership.
Strong Muslim interlocutors: An important con-
tributing factor is the strength of Muslim civic Many partners: Rather than concentrating its
organizations in Indonesia, including two of the resources in a single organization, TAF worked
largest civil society organizations (NU and Mou- with a variety of organizations. Indonesias Mus-
hammadiyah) in the Muslim world. These have lim community is highly segmented, and access
made education and welfare, rather than party required working through organizations with
politics, their primary focus. The ICS program ties toand legitimacy ineach subcommu-
has very much beneted from their legacy, and nity. The resulting wealth of training programs
many program partners are nongovernmental succeeded in bringing democratic training and
offshoots of the two organizations. organization to a broad array of communities.
A respected intermediary organization: TAFs 37- Autonomy and exibility: USAID provided TAF
year history of working with Muslim organiza- with autonomy and exibility, contributing fac-
tions in Indonesia contributed to the legitimacy tors in the programs success. USAID provided
and effectiveness of the program. TAF established necessary encouragement and support when
its reputation as a dedicated and high-minded needed, and largely relied on TAFs judgment
aid partner possessing a depth of knowledge and in launching new initiatives within the program
understanding of the Indonesian scene. It has framework. USAIDs approach allowed TAF to
also recruited highly qualied Indonesian and move with a speed that would have been impos-
Western staff with ties to local communities and
sible for programs managed from afar, enabling
Islamic networks. TAFs reputation and past ac-
TAF to adjust to emerging opportunities and
tivities neutralized suspicions that programs with
respond to new challenges.
a more direct link to the United States might
inspire.
LESSONS FOR REPLICATION
Local ownership: Local ownership of the program
The ICS program provides some valuable les-
contributed to its success. TAF allowed partner
sons that should be considered in planning and
organizations to develop and manage their own
implementing similar programs. One set of les-
activities. Participating organizations submit-
sons pertains to some preconditions that should
ted proposals that were funded by the program,
be met.
when deemed appropriate. Thus, program activi-
ties were not imposed from outside, but rather 1. The existing political system should allow
conceived and designed by the participating civil society, media, and political groups
organizations. Working through already existing to engage in discussions of public policy
NGOs and networks also heightened program issues.

SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA 9


Suhartos Indonesia was not a free society, but mediary organizations that enjoy the trust
the regime did not prohibit public discussion of of local Islamic leaders and organizations as
major policy issues. Moreover, democracy and well as the trust of USAID.
freedom has ourished in the post-Suharto era.
The success of the ICS program also depended
Although there has been liberalization in on TAFs experience, expertise, and reputation.
countries such as Jordan and Morocco, many Intermediary organizations are needed to
Middle Eastern countries directly or indirectly provide a buffer between USAID and recipient
control civil society organizations and political Muslim religious organizations. While USAID
parties. In such countries, ICS-type programs must be assured that its funds will be managed
cannot be initiated and implemented. Fortu-
and accounted for, Muslim religious leaders
nately, there are many Muslim countries
and organizations must be condent about the
such as Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Niger, or even
motives underlying assistance. The Indonesian
Pakistanthat permit public discussion of
experience indicates that an established inter-
policy issues.
mediary organization can protect indepen-
2. At least some credible religious leaders dence of recipient Islamic organizations.
should be committed to democracy and
pluralism and willing to take the initiative In many Muslim countries, established orga-
to promote them. nizations exist that can serve as intermediar-
ies. For example, the American universities in
Indonesia has enjoyed a legacy of broad-based Beirut and Cairo could perform such inter-
Muslim civil society organizations whose lead- mediary functions if USAID were to launch
ers largely subscribe to the vision of a plural- a civic education program in Middle Eastern
istic, democratic Islam. Most of these leaders countries.
were educated in secular social sciences or
other elds. 4. USAID and the U.S. Embassy should be
fully committed to the program and pre-
The problem is that the leadership of Islamic
pared for the risks involved in working with
civil society organizations in many Muslim
Muslim civil society organizations.
societies is strictly in the hands of conserva-
tive religious leaders who have little exposure USAID/Indonesia enjoys the U.S. Embassys
to secular education. In such countries, it will unquestioned support for the ICS program.
be difcult, though not impossible, to nd Both USAID and the embassy are aware of
Islamic leaders who are willing to sponsor and the risks involved in working with Muslim
support similar programs. religious leaders who do not necessarily share
3. To initiate and manage the program, the the U.S. vision in the international arena.
country should have well-established inter- The essential point is that USAID should
have a long-term strategic vision for engaging
Islamic leaders that is shared and supported

Intermediary organizations are needed to provide


a buffer between USAID and recipient Muslim
by the U.S. Embassy. Both should realize that
many leaders and organizations who receive


USAID funds might disagree with U.S. poli-
religious organizations. cies and programs. A greater risk is that some
organizations presently committed to peaceful

10 PPC EVALUATION BRIEF NO. 13


political change might renounce their commit- should seek to engage groups, such as womens
ment to nonviolence in the future. religious groups, Muslim youth organizations,
Islamic schools and educational institutions,
LESSONS FOR PROGRAM DESIGN and print and electronic media entities.
The ICS program also provides four lessons for 3. The program should be designed as an
designing similar programs. evolving initiative that can respond to
1. USAID should enable indigenous groups emerging opportunities and challenges.
and leaders to design and implement civil One conspicuous feature of the ICS program
society programs. is its exibility. It is not blueprinted with
In Indonesia, USAID and TAF have enabled precise indicators. TAF enjoyed unprecedented
program partners to develop their own initia- autonomy to reorient and redirect the program
tives and plans, taking into consideration their in the aftermath of the fall of the Suharto
capabilities and concerns. They decide what government. The program can recruit new
they would do and how they would do it. partners as opportunities arise and drop old
USAID and TAF play only a supporting role. ones when they fail to operate.
Such arrangements, while promoting commit-
The obvious lesson is that any Islamic civil
ment and initiative, also deect criticism that
society program should enjoy maximum ex-
program partners work for a foreign power.
The ICS model seems most suitable in the ibility to respond to emerging challenges and
present political climate, in which Muslim opportunities. Program operators should be
countries harbor serious misgivings about U.S. able to change and modify plans when neces-
intentions. sary. Such programs should be free from the
regulatory requirements imposed on develop-
2. The program should engage multiple ment programs. Perhaps USAID should either
Islamic groups working on different issues provide grants or sign cooperative agreements
and problems. with intermediary organizations to ensure that
The ICS program has partnered with differ- the planned program has the necessary ex-
ent groups. Its partners launched civic educa- ibility.
tion in Islamic institutions of higher learning,
4. The program should be managed by staff
promoted civic education in pesantrens and
members with intimate knowledge of Is-
state schools, established womens crisis centers
lamic traditions in the country and able to
in cities and towns, published and dissemi-
establish rapport with Islamic leaders and
nated books on pluralism and democracy, and
organized meetings and seminars targeted to institutions.
different audiences. The ICS program in Indonesia is highly
Working with multiple partners is a promising staff-intensive because it involves working
strategy because it creates a synergy in which directly with grassroots organizations. Both
various sponsors of program activities mutually TAF and USAID have excellent staff who are
reinforce and help each other. It also protects not only knowledgeable about local conditions
the program from abject failure if one or more in different regions but also sensitive to local
partners do not perform well. Depending on culture and traditions. In fact, within USAID,
local circumstances and interest, the program the program is managed by a local expert

SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE ISLAM AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROGRAM IN INDONESIA 11


who enjoys superb rapport with civil society Dijk, Kees van. 2000. A country in despair:
organizations. Indonesia between 1997 and 2000. Leiden:
KITLV Press.
It is important that, at the planning stage,
USAID provide for staff members who possess Hefner, Robert W. 2000. Civil Islam: Muslims
an intimate knowledge of Islamic traditions in and democratization in Indonesia. Princeton:
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