Have a say! The ACT Indonesia Forum

Irawaty Manullang – Forum Convenor in Indonesia, Executive Director of PELKESI

How often do you meet within the forum?

The Forum Coordination Meeting is scheduled once every three months, either offline or online, depending on the Forum members’ agreement. But at least twice a year we hold offline meetings for discussing joint programs and evaluation. Since the Covid-19 pandemic however we changed the offline meetings to virtual online meetings or discussions through WhatsApp. The virtual meetings are held nearly every month, especially regarding disaster response and gender programs.

Where is the focus of joint activities within the forum? 

Based on the ACT Alliance’s global strategy, the Forum holds planning for joint programs on Climate Change, Gender, Peace, Migration and Emergency Preparedness and Humanitarian Response (EPHR). But the issues the Forum has mainly focused on were EPHR and Gender. EPHR is the Forum’s most common concern because disaster frequency in Indonesia is high. Rapid response on disasters can be done as a consortium with the coordinator changing alternately. Concerning gender, currently we are in the process of introducing gender mainstreaming and a gender justice policy for every member. However, each member has different activities since each one’s understanding of gender is different Therefore ICCO, the Forum member who has already implemented a gender justice policy, will help the other members in doing a self-assessment, and also will facilitate completing the needed documents for each member to introduce a gender justice policy.   

Why do you think coordination or working together is important?

Coordination is a must in doing joint programs. Periodically, we can see the progress of the goals the Forum has agreed on, and what the obstacles and the solutions are, so that there are lessons learnt and a common agreement for improvements.

How do you collaborate with the National Council of Churches in your country?

PELKESI, YEU, and CDRM-CDS are members of the ACT Indonesia Forum (ACTIF) and Jaringan Komunitas Kristen untuk Penanggulangan Bencana di Indonesia (Jakomkris PBI) or Christian Community Network for Disaster Management in Indonesia. Jakomkris is striving to encourage churches in Indonesia to have disaster preparedness units. So when disaster occurs, members of ACTIF always coordinate with the local or national-level churches through Jakomkris in disaster response. On the other hand, ACTIF members also serve as facilitators for Jakomkris’ disaster management training for churches.   

In what sense do you benefit from the collaboration as an organization / individual?

As organization the benefit we get from the collaboration is that the disaster response in affected areas become quicker, right on target, and complement each other. Each member has different competencies in disaster response management. For example, ICCO is competent in women’s empowerment in agriculture, PELKESI in health services, YEU in inclusion, and CWS in migration. Individually, each member can broaden its network, and has easy access to disaster information and regulation, either by the central or local government.

How do you communicate throughout the year?

We forward any information we receive from ACT Alliance to the Forum members through the contact persons appointed by each organization. When we feel it’s urgent and needs immediate response, we forward it via the WhatsApp group. At PELKESI, I have some staff that helps me with communication and information issues, and supports me in organizing the Forum meetings using an online platform. Currently PELKESI is trying to empower its PELKESI Disaster Response Unit (PeDRU), so that one day they could handle PELKESI’s role as a convenor.

Besides, some Forum members in charge or as part of regional working groups also help in communicating information from the ACT Alliance, in case I have not received such information. When there are regional-level meetings, I usually coordinate with the PELKESI team and each members’ leaders.

What challenges have you encountered?

  1. Each member of the Forum, both NGOs and INGOs, have different characteristics. And that is the wealth of the Indonesian forum. We have planned several joint programs based on strategic issues at the same location, with work roles according to the potential and capacity of each institution. This will create a comprehensive collaborative activity. It turns out that the plan has not yet been implemented due to the large number of disasters that have occurred in Indonesia and resources have also become limited due to the pandemic.
  2. The difficulty of each member to find time to conduct a Forum activity as each member has its own schedule, and also the limits of virtual meetings which can only have a length of 3 hours maximum. Not to mention the cross-province meetings with significant time differences which make it harder to adjust. Therefore, some Forum agenda are still pending such as ratification of all mandatory policies of ACT, the membership fee mechanism, as well as offering trainings to all members.


Dr. Sari Mutia Timur – Director of Yakkum Emergency Unit (YEU)

Where do you see the benefits/added value of participating in the forum?

Joining the forum allows YAKKUM to exercise meaningful collaboration with other members in different areas, such as in emergency response and advocacy. In emergency response, the forum has implemented appeals and Rapid Response Fund (RRF) projects across Indonesia and learnt from different contexts of emergencies, including how to work together with local churches in various levels of engagement. In advocacy, there are two things which have become the focus in 2021: the first is the initiative to mainstream gender through the ACT Gender Justice Program in Indonesia, and the second one is to support the COVID-19 vaccination program.

In addition, YAKKUM gains diverse perspectives, experiences and practices in delivering quality intervention, such as joint capacity building sessions on child protection, market assessment analysis, supply chain and the Core Humanitarian Standard. The forum commits to provide assistance to increase the capacity of its members as well as their local and church partners. 

What are the topics or issues which are most important for you within the forum?

Currently, there are five topics which YAKKUM intends to focus on and to contribute to the forum; the Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP), inclusion, innovation, COVID-19 mitigation (including vaccination), and gender. Below is an elaboration of each issue:

  • An update of the EPRP is important considering the different contexts of emergencies and different geographical locations of interventions by forum members, as well as identifying the church partners within the EPRP.
  • Promoting inclusion within the forum starts through sharing sessions or discussions over program design, especially in addressing the rights and different needs of older people, persons with disability, persons living with HIV/AIDS and other at-risk groups.
  • Innovation in humanitarian intervention should be supported through encouraging local innovators. YAKKUM is currently initiating “Ideaksi”, a project with a community-based and inclusive approach, where local innovators from the different communities collaborate with at-risk groups to develop solutions to tackle the challenges in their respective areas. The initiative is expected to reduce barriers for vulnerable groups who are often neglected in disaster response or development programs.
  • COVID-19 mitigation efforts have been implemented by the forum members in different locations. However, with the current state of rising confirmed cases in Indonesia, a lot has to be done, especially in increasing public awareness on the adherence to health protocols, and public communication on vaccines. YAKKUM is currently advocating the accessibility of the vaccines to older people, persons with disability, transgender, and persons living with HIV/AIDS.
  • The issue of gender inequality is still prevalent in Indonesia, particularly among the most vulnerable communities. Forum members who participate in the localization and mainstreaming of gender justice policy in Indonesia, namely CDRM and CDS, CWS, ICCO, PELKESI and YEU, have started to collaborate in reviewing and contextualizing the eight principles of ACT Gender Justice Policy to be relevant with the Indonesian context. This is important to the forum as it meets the need for developing future program designs that has a gender justice perspective, which is one of the key requirements under SDGs 2030.


Josephine Adam, Interim Country Representative of CWS

Where do you see the benefits/added value of participating in the forum?

CWS always sees that working with various parties is one of the keys to successful program implementation for communities in need. One of the collaborations and coordination that is considered important for CWS is participation in the ACT Indonesia Forum. In this forum, there is a great enthusiasm for helping each other, complementing each other, and learning from each other. Many opportunities are given by all members, ranging from capacity activities with various trainings, workshops, collaborating in providing disaster response, or exchanging access to information. For CWS, these things really help to improve the quality of assistance to the community.

What are the topics or issues which are most important for you within the forum?
All forum members have experience providing disaster response. This experience gives more strength or value to the members and ACT as a forum. The forum needs to discuss further on how lessons learned from the experience of implementing disaster response by forum members can be used as lessons by other institutions or church organizations that care about disasters. The discussion includes exploring the possibility of documenting lessons learned from disaster response experiences in a book, or publishing guides or modules that can be used as references for other institutions in carrying out similar programs.