Establishing Democracy Schools in Aceh, Papua and West Kalimantan

Brief Overview

Outside the big cities, there is still little understanding of democratic practices in Indonesia even though many of the functions and responsibilities for governing have devolved to local administrations. The Indonesian Community for Democracy (KID) has developed five schools, operating since 2006 to train future leaders. Here, Kemitraan is supporting their further expansion at district level. With the support of the Netherlands government, Kemitraan facilitated KID to further establish three new schools in 2010: in Aceh, Papua and West Kalimantan. Three implementing agencies selected to establish these schools in each of their respective areas, i.e. LSM Sepakat in Aceh, Elpagar in Kalimantan Barat and AFP3 in Papua.


Entrance to the democracy schools is competitive based on an essay submission. Learning system is based on participatory activities such as public hearings, writing articles for local newspapers, and preparing talk shows for radio and television to help raise community awareness. One of the principles of the school is that democracy, despite its universality, must be rooted in the local context and linked with local political traditions. The participants come from various ethnicities, religions, education levels and occupations (the four pillars) and have become more egalitarian, tolerant and collegial. The learning process has become more dynamic day by day; as evidenced by participants’ active involvement in each session and in the depth of discussions. Some less active participants took more active roles later and have eventually developed the confidence to engage in discussions and debates.


Main Achievements/Milestones

Applications exceeded available places and the successful students come from varied backgrounds: community groups, entrepreneurs and political parties. The program has also conducted extensive public outreach in the media to raise the profile of the program including TV and radio talkshows. The classes began in the beginning of 2011. Outside the classroom the students participated in talkshows on radio and TV, observed the development planning process at councils and several wrote OpEd for the local newspaper.


The Democracy Schools were successfully implemented in three locations by the end of 2012 – Aceh, Kalimantan and Papua - and an extensive campaign was launched to attracts the best and brightest from the four pillars of democracy: bureacracy, business, civil society and political parties. Efforts are also being made to attract more women into the schools. Currently women form 38 percent of the 618 participants in the three schools. The final exams were held simultaneously in December except for Papua where the security situation caused a delay of one week.


The Community Committee (CC of KID) has finished an academic research paper on developing draft bills for corporate social responsibility in North Aceh. This academic paper was presented to DPRD Komisi A, and will be discussed in the Legislation Commission.


Project name : Establishment of Ten New Sekolah Demokrasi (KID)
Source of funds : The Netherlands, Denmark
Project duration : January 2010 – December 2014
Geographical focus : Aceh, Papua, West Kalimantan
Implementing Partners :

Komunitas Indonesia untuk Demokrasi (KID), LSM Sepakat, Lembaga Pemberdayaan Pergerakan Rakyat (eLPaGaR), Asosiasi Fasilitator Pemberdayaan Pembangunan Partisipatif (AFP3)

Beneficiaries : local politicians, local bureaucrats, members of the business community and CSOs
Responsible Kemitraan Officer : Agung Wasono
Email :
Responsible Kemitraan Unit : Security and Justice Governance (SJG)