In Semester 46, we welcomed 15 students on the ACICIS Development Studies Immersion Program (DSIP), 13 of which undertook the program with the support of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan grant initiative. Students began the semester with six weeks of intensive Indonesian language study at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and immersion into development issues in Indonesia through seminars and site-visits coordinated by several local and international development organisations. After a well-deserved break, each student undertook an eight-week Development Placement (internship) with one of ACICIS’ Host Organisations. Our DSIP students interned in Yogyakarta and Central Java, working with an array of organisations that focus on different aspects of development. We would like to congratulate our students on their achievements and contributions, as well as extend thanks to our wonderful Host Organisations!

This semester, we continued to work with Rumah Energi in their Yogyakarta and Central Java offices. Rumah Energi’s mission is to make renewable energy accessible for households, specifically biogas, through their ‘Biogas Rumah’ (BIRU) – biogas for houses – program. Throughout Semester 46, Rumah Energi hosted three DSIP participants in their office in the Klaten Regency of Central Java – Matthew Owen (Charles Darwin University), Timothy Hill (University of the Sunshine Coast) and Shaun Lindfield (Murdoch University). These students were completely immersed in the work of Rumah Energi and gained first-hand experience in community program implementation. Matthew, Tim and Shaun were also actively involved in the project-management cycle of the BIRU program and attended weekly meetings and site-visits to dozens of kampung (villages) around Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta. During these visits, the students were monitoring and evaluating existing biogas reactors and surveying potential sites for new biogas reactors, whilst interacting with community members. Matthew, Tim and Shaun also assisted Rumah Energi team to write up site-visit reports and BIRU ‘success stories’ in an effort to promote the program and its good work.

We were also delighted to be working with SAMSARA again – an organisation which focuses on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women in Indonesia. SAMSARA hosted Rachel Jones (Murdoch University) and Tessa Langhans (The University of Adelaide) for their eight-week internship, during which Rachel and Tessa produced research on SRHR issues in Indonesia. Their research will be used by SAMSARA’s advocacy, education and hotline departments. Rachel and Tessa also had the chance to participate in yoga classes, in-house training workshops, monthly meetings, and ‘SAMSARA talk’ – a discussion forum in which participants share their research of a particular issue in women’s SRHR.

Kathleen Sherrin (Charles Darwin University) undertook her placement with Rifka Annisa – a women’s crisis centre with the mission to eliminate domestic violence against women through empowerment. During her internship, Kathleen had the opportunity to draw upon her Australian experience and facilitate a discussion about domestic violence cases in Alice Springs. Kathleen was also involved in co-facilitating a gender-based violence discussion with UGM students and was featured on Rifka Annisa’s radio segment to talk about body shaming. The work didn’t stop there, however, as Kathleen also assisted the team with research and document translations for Rifka Annisa’s website.

Rebekah King (The University of Queensland) had the opportunity to intern with Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia (PKBI – The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association), the oldest family planning NGO in Indonesia. PKBI focuses its work on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy of youth and marginalised communities. Rebekah was involved in a community-based participatory research project, throughout which she was a research assistant both in and out of the office – where she was involved in interviewing community members.

This semester, ACICIS partnered with Yayasan Vesta – an organisation which works in sexual and reproductive health and HIV AIDS prevention – for the placement of Jorden Garnaut (Murdoch University). Jorden was deeply involved in all of Yayasan Vesta’s projects, including mobile volunteer counselling and testing (VCT), ‘Edutainment’, and regular meetings with the communities which Vesta assists. Throughout his immersion, Jorden was constantly engaging with Vesta’s communities in meaningful ways.

Regina Muller (Murdoch University) interned with ViaVia Travel Jogja – an organisation that aims to provide responsible and sustainable tourism options to tourists in Indonesia. ViaVia Travel also works in community development through running a store that sells products made by Yogyakarta’s marginalised communities. During her internship with ViaVia, Gina assisted the merchandise department by proofreading English-text tags and descriptions. Gina also assisted the ViaVia team throughout the implementation of the Bagelen Art Project – a new cultural tour in the Bagelen Village, Purworejo Regency of Central Java. The Project seeks to increase cultural tourism to the Bagelen village through research, document translation and report writing, with the end goal being a Bagelen Street Art exhibition.

Suzanne Kady (Charles Darwin University) undertook her internship with Pusat Studi Asia Pasifik (PSAP – Centre for Asia Pacific Studies) of UGM. PSAP is a multi-disciplinary research centre that focuses on various issues, including disaster risk management and empowerment for vulnerable communities. Sue worked in the disaster risk management stream, and had the opportunity to participate in workshops, during which she compared policies for disaster risk management in Australia and Indonesia. Sue also assisted PSAP in English-language transcribing, proofreading and editing for proposals for the next community assistance project in the Klaten Regency of Central Java. Sue even conducted Patchwork training for the PSAP team, which included income generation training for PSAP’s assisted community in the Kulonprogo Regency.

Alicia Stafford (Murdoch University) and Lisa Cheeseman (Charles Darwin University) interned with Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB – the Workers’ Samaritan Federation) – a German aid and welfare organisation which works in Indonesia and the Philippines on inclusive disaster risk management and the empowerment of people with disabilities. During their internship, Alicia and Lisa assisted the ASB team in numerous proofreading, editing and reporting tasks necessary for project preparation, implementation, evaluation, and training. Alicia and Lisa also attended a landslide evacuation simulation with communities in Magelang, Central Java, organised an earthquake simulation evacuation in the ASB office, and conducted earthquake safety training in the Yogyakarta International School.

This semester, we were thrilled to work with a new Host Organisation, Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Indonesia, Yogyakarta Branch. HFH is a non-profit organisation which builds decent housing for vulnerable families. Megan Langridge (The University of Western Australia) was our first-ever intern with HFH. During her time with HFH, Megan was actively involved in the implementation of HFH’s project in Selopamioro Village, Bantul Regency of Special Region of Yogyakarta. Megan was engaged in report writing, community interaction, and media-creation. Specifically, Megan was charged with the responsibility of creating a promotional video for the Selopamioro project. Megan also had the opportunity to attend stakeholder meetings with the Indonesian government, as well as to assist the HFH team in assessing a new project site.

ACICIS also welcomed Pusat Studi Sosial Asia Tenggara (PSSAT- Centre for Southeast Asian Social Studies) of UGM as a new Host Organisation this semester. PSSAT is a research centre that focuses on social issues in Southeast Asia. During her internship with PSSAT, Miranda Traeger (The University of Adelaide) was involved in many facets of research. Specifically, Miranda compiled data for a Southeast Asian encyclopaedia which will feature on PSSAT’s new website, SEATAP, and was involved in proofreading, editing, and writing for PSSAT’s website, as well as taking part in regular workshops. Miranda also had the opportunity to be a speaker at a SEA-Chat event – a discussion forum that invites students to discuss issues related to Southeast Asia – where she spoke about educational relations between Australia and Indonesia.

Shilaneh Sharify (RMIT University) undertook her placement with Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ) – another new DSIP Host Organisation. AFJ is a non-profit animal welfare and equality organisation that fights animal cruelty and is committed to improving animal welfare through proactive education, campaigns, research, and rescues. During her placement, Shilaneh assisted AFJ in daily animal care and was an office and veterinary assistant for AFJ’s spay and neuter program. Shilaneh also spoke in front of Olifant Junior High School students about animal welfare, the importance of volunteering and the work of AFJ and single-handedly producing campaign videos for AFJ.

At the end of their immersive and transformative internships, the students presented a final reflection on their experience to their peers, Host Organisation mentors, and ACICIS team members. ACICIS was honoured to continue working with Host Organisations that have welcomed DSIP participants over the years and was excited to partner with new organisations this semester.

A big congratulations to all the DSIP Semester 46 troopers! ACICIS wishes you all the best going forward. Terima kasih banyak!