ASRI and HIH: Taking Jakarta by storm

Guest blog by Clare Selgin Wolfowitz

The second annual meeting of the Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora (CID2, for short) attracted more than 5000 participants from around the world. The 3-day conference, held in Jakarta (August 18-20), is a project of the Indonesian government; it was opened officially by President Yudhoyono. The CID is designed both to support overseas Indonesians through networking, and to encourage them to apply their talents and resources toward Indonesian development.

I consider myself an honorary member of the Indonesian Diaspora. My involvement with Indonesia dates to a summer homestay in Jogja with AFS, more than 50 years ago! So it was a special pleasure to accompany Dr. Hotlin, doing the networking minuet at the Jakarta CID conference as well as afterward.

AFS sisters' reunion

AFS sisters' reunion, August 2013

Thanks to the initiative of a good friend of HIH, economist Priyo Pujiwasono, Project ASRI was included in the CID panel on Public Health. Dr. Hotlin presented a 10-minute talk that was enthusiastically received. We were in turn very impressed with the quality of all the programs represented in the all-day Health panel, projects ranging from eldercare for Indonesian nationals in the Netherlands to a boarding school for young children in Papua.

Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu, ASRI, and the Indonesian Deputy Minister of Health

Dr. Hotlin Ompusunngu presents the ASRI talk (l) and meets the Deputy Minister of Health (r).

Both at the Public Health panel and also at the Green Economy panel, Hotlin made valuable connections with people who were eager to help with aspects of the ASRI program. An Indonesian doctor from the Netherlands, for example, suggested that his company can help with shipping medical supplies.

Following the Congress, Hotlin and I launched ourselves into five days of meetings around Jakarta, talking to anyone who might be helpful with fundraising efforts for HIH and ASRI. But I was startled when, at our very first appointment, the founder of a Jakarta non-profit asked for my help in identifying potential US corporate donors. This was a man whose family is extremely well-connected in the Indonesian business world — but apparently even he can't raise enough funds in Indonesia!

Fortunately for us, a very dear friend, who raises funds for her own non-profit, shared the recipe for accessing CSR (corporate social responsibility) funding in Indonesia. It seems that, despite Indonesia's massive shift toward decentralized government and privatization after 1998, many things are still facilitated by central government. So, my friend arranged for us to meet with the Minister of Trade himself (at 7 am the next day, right before Hotlin left Jakarta for Kalimantan!). She told us we should bring to the meeting a one-page proposal.

So Hotlin conferred with Kinari, and between meetings we put something together, budget and all, and then — sitting in the taxi on the way to the printer, before our dinner meeting — Hotlin produced a version in Bahasa Indonesia. The Minister of Trade turned out to be very energetic, very focused, and he said he would be happy to help ASRI by circulating our proposal to prospective corporate donors!

There were other promising leads as well, including two separate offers to host two fundraising events in December, after Hotlin returns from her US trip. Again, these would be hosted at a high government level: one by a Deputy Minister, and one by the wife of a former Cabinet Minister. We hope that funding will flow generously, of course — but in any case, ASRI and HIH will become much more widely known in Jakarta circles.

Perhaps the most exciting development was our meeting with two social media activists, Iman and Rina. They plan to send interested bloggers to visit ASRI and "do their thing" — to capture their personal impressions and share them widely. (This plan, too, must wait until Hotlin’s return to be implemented, in November or December.) Best of all, Iman promised not only to share the resulting photos and footage, but also to create a fundraising video specifically to appeal to younger Indonesian audiences, and to send it out over their various networks.

Iman and Rina are two wonderful additions to the growing circle of people who are committed to supporting the HIH/ASRI model of community-based conservation.

Thanks to Clare, Dr.  Hotlin, and all our supporters, old and new, at the CID! We're looking forward to the developments to come; in the mean time, follow HIH's Facebook and Twitter for general program updates, and ASRI's Twitter (in English and bahasa Indonesia) for updates from the field. 

About Clare Selgin Wolfowitz

Clare is the Vice President of the Health In Harmony Board of Directors. She spent many years living in Indonesia, but currently resides in Washington, DC.


About Kelsey Hartman | View all posts by Kelsey Hartman

Kelsey is the Communications and Marketing Associate at Health In Harmony, based in Portland, OR.