Each month, we shine a spotlight on partners who are using budget advocacy to bring transformational change to their communities. This month, we are highlighting Dani Setiawan, Chair of the Indonesian Traditional Fishers Association (KNTI).
How did you get involved in advocacy work?
I’ve been an activist since college. I started by living in farmers’ communities. These farmers had their lands grabbed by businesses and government officials and the lands were later converted into tourist spots. I wanted to help these communities. I found that one of the ways to address their needs and challenges was to engage in the policymaking process. Anti-corruption and budgetary issues are cross-cutting issues. When we engaged on these issues, we soon realized we could also work with other sectors and more diverse groups.
KNTI worked with IBP to successfully persuade the government to simplify the registration process for small fisherfolk to get subsidized fuel and helped add more than 10,000 fisherfolk to the government’s database. What work are you currently involved in with the small-scale fisherfolk?
We recently got the government to establish a pilot project where KNTI oversees fuel stations dedicated to fisherfolk. (The first fishing station was recently inaugurated by the Indonesian Cooperative Minister). The pilot is intended to make a test case so that more of these stations can be established to provide faster and affordable fuel for the small-scale fisherfolk. The program is called “Fuel for the Fisheries Cooperative.” Not only will it make acquiring fuel easier, but we will be testing a new cashless payment method. The fisherfolk cooperative will have each member registered with a unique bar code, which will be scanned to improve efficiency and make sure the distribution of subsidized fuel is on target.
One of the problems small fisherfolk face is that large fishing boats that also qualify for the subsidized fuel often muscle small boats aside to get to the fuel. How are you addressing that?
This is a problem. The current regulations say that vessels up to 13 gross tons are entitled to enjoy the subsidized fuel. Most of the small boat population only have vessels up to 5 gross tons. We are currently engaged in conversation with government agencies to make 5 gross tons the maximum size (to be eligible for subsidized fuel). We’re waiting to see what happens next.
What is next for your work with IBP going forward?
In the second stage of our project, we will help with capacity building for fisherman’s groups, and members of KNTI, especially coastal women. The problems faced by fisherfolk are not only about access to subsidized fuel, but also the welfare of the families. So, with these coastal women we try to help them with mapping the issues and problems they are facing. We’re giving them training on gender-based budgeting, helping them identify the issues they’re facing and then based on those issues, we will help plan a simple program where we accompany them to meetings with policymakers. A major obstacle the women identified was that they do not have the necessary self-identification papers needed in Indonesia to access social assistance services or business loans. (The goal) is to bring coastal women into the entire planning process.