In November 2018, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) interviewed participants of its "Strategic Communications and Advocacy" training in Jakarta, Indonesia. The training brought together disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) from eight countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community. AGENDA, a network of DPOs and election-focused CSOs in Southeast Asia, was founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in 2011. An English transcript of the interview with advocates from Indonesia is available below and has been edited for clarity.
Interviewer: We are in the middle of the AGENDA training on Strategic Communication and Advocacy for Regional Disability Inclusion in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is running from first to forth of November 2018, and I am very pleased to be here because we have some of the participants here to be interviewed regarding the knowledge and skills that they have gained from this training in relation to the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan.
Hari: Hello, I am Hari from Indonesia, from PPDI.
Inna: I am Inna from Indonesian People with Disability Association.
Interviewer: What do you think are the most important skills for communicating key messages when it comes to the implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan?
Inna: I think improved knowledge about networking and implementing advocacy for the Masterplan. Because in Indonesia, there is a need to focus on education and health for persons with disabilities.
Hari: First of all, people with a disability in Indonesia are more discriminated against—especially in basic rights like education, health, demographics—because we do not have exact data about how many people there are with a disability in Indonesia. So, the Masterplan is more important to improve our advocacy skills because in the Masterplan they have terms of what the country should do.
Interviewer: Can you elaborate more about the government efforts to implement the Masterplan?
Hari: The government should harmonize the legal framework—to protect basic rights like rights to employment, education, health—with the ASEAN Masterplan because the ASEAN Masterplan includes the goals for achieving an inclusive ASEAN community.
Inna: I think the government must build on the campaign to focus on persons with disabilities. I think the government will change their mindset about persons with disabilities and the government must make protecting the rights of people with disabilities a priority area.
Hari: The ASEAN Masterplan is a good investment for the government of Indonesia because when the government conducts one priority area in education for all, including people with disabilities, they will enhance their prosperity and can increase the GDP of Indonesia.
Interviewer: [to Hari] It is interesting you mentioned that the Enabling Masterplan should be pushed on the education sector to further increase its impact. How do you think the Enabling Masterplan will further benefit larger communities?
Hari: I think the focus should be not only in education. We need to make Indonesia more inclusive and, to do so, it is important to ensure the Enabling Masterplan is implemented by the government of Indonesia.
Inna: The Enabling Masterplan is important because the Masterplan can bring about a change in mindset toward persons with disabilities and can change the lives of persons with disabilities and civil society.
Hari: The ASEAN Masterplan could be implemented with the SDGs because they have the same spirit of ensuring an inclusive society.
Interviewer: In this training, you have worked with other disability rights advocates from across the region to develop messages on the Masterplan. What short of messages do you think the government needs to know about the Masterplan?
Hari: I think that together with other members from ASEAN region, we can champion strategic communication to the government about the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan. Then we can advocate together within ASEAN sectoral bodies like the Political Security Council and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which has a duty to human rights in the ASEAN region.
Inna: For strategic communication with the government, we must introduce how important the Masterplan is, what the Masterplan is and then we can summarize it. Then the DPOs can work with the government to launch and implement the Masterplan.
Interviewer: For the last question, share what you have learned from your peers from other countries during the training.
Hari: We have learned more about strategic advocacy and strategic communication. This knowledge helps to ensure that our advocacy can be successful, so this training was important for us to build upon our advocacy work in Indonesia.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time.