“KOMPAK” is an ambitious initiative funded by the Australian Government that seeks to facilitate economic growth in Indonesia through better governance. Abt leads this effort, working in seven provinces across the vast Indonesian archipelago with the goal of helping low-income and vulnerable people benefit from improved delivery of basic services and economic opportunities.
In 2020, KOMPAK’s already complex mission took on particular urgency as COVID-19 spread throughout the world’s fourth most populous nation. As elsewhere, low-income and marginalized people were hit hardest by the virus—then hit again by the resulting economic downturn. The Indonesian government mobilized a massive response to expand social protection with an investment of more than AUD 63 billion. This required local governments to implement rapidly evolving regulations and to identify populations in particular need of help.
KOMPAK moved quickly to support the response. The team’s deep knowledge of national and local political dynamics contributed to increased protection for the most vulnerable people. KOMPAK also helped deliver clear national policies, guidelines, training, and technical assistance to effectively administer cash assistance from local village funds known as BLT-Dana Desa. District governments across Indonesia were able to use planning and budgeting tools developed by KOMPAK to apply the guidelines. Sub-district governments took a greater role—particularly through village governance facilitators—in helping villages plan and implement their response.
Throughout these efforts, KOMPAK employed the principle of intersectionality coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw—or the interconnection and mutual amplification of various sources of vulnerability—to inform the Indonesian government’s response. By calling attention to the risks faced by highly vulnerable groups that fell outside the formal definition of vulnerability—which focused on economic hardship—KOMPAK successfully advocated for the government to adopt a more inclusive approach to its identification of populations in need. This has enabled national and local agencies to better serve female-headed households, persons without legal identity documents, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
Additionally, KOMPAK played a crucial role in connecting government services to communities in the seven provinces through effective and secure data-management systems. It supported localities in the development and implementation of SID, an information system operated by village governments, and enabled the district and sub-district governments to have access to local data. KOMPAK used SID to help identify eligible recipients of cash assistance as well as people who fell short of eligibility due to lack of legal identity documents. With this information, KOMPAK supported villages in the deployment of civil registration and vital statistics facilitators to help vulnerable people get the required legal documents to access critically needed social assistance programs. KOMPAK’s strong local ties and emphasis on data collection led to rapid deployment of COVID-19 assistance to those who needed it most.