Each month, we shine a spotlight on partners who are using budget advocacy to bring transformational change to their communities. This month, we’re highlighting Wulandari, Member of The Council, Perkumpulan INISIATIF (Building Better Public Budget Leadership and Politics)
What inspired you to get involved in INISIATIF and budget advocacy work?
When I was 20 years old and a community organizer, a village legislative body member came to my house because a poor man in the village needed immediate surgery, but the head of the village didn’t respond, and the man had no insurance. I was moved to help. I communicated with the sub-district leader and the hospital director, and he received treatment because we intervened.
I joined INISIATIF in 2001 and started working with the local government to discuss (problems and) issues in the community and help define solutions.
I dialogued with the farmer women groups, disability groups, street vendor groups and others, learned about their problems and then got interested in digging deeper to learn about budget advocacy.
How has IBP helped you with your advocacy?
IBP taught us the research methodology and helped me with public budget analysis. And then helped me improve my skills through the Leadership Development Initiative. Because of our budget advocacy in the district, last year we convinced the government to stop spending 12.5 billion rupiah (about US $1.2 million) buying new cars each year (for government use). We then (convinced the government) to allocate financial assistance for teachers for supplies and whatever teachers need for their classrooms. That was a big success.
What is your current focus with INISIATIF?
We have a program called the Budget Politics School (SEPOLA) where our job is to organize public budget education for young people. The goal is to increase budget literacy, increase participation in the budget process, increase budget advocacy and increase political capacity. In 2020 I helped start the Indonesian National Leadership Institute (IKKI) to help produce leaders in the community. The idea is to go from the (Budget) school to the Leadership Institute. Because it just started three years ago, we still have much work to do to develop the Leadership Institue. We have 50 alumni (of the Budget school) each term. Budget advocacy is very difficult and once we get too old, then who will be the advocates? We want to build the next generation of leaders.
What have you gained from your advocacy work that you didn’t initially expect?
It has opened the door to me to network with civil society organizations all around the globe. We share experiences and help each other. I’ve had discussions with groups in Kenya, Ecuador, India and other places and have made many friends around the world.