Three students on Semester 42 (Feb 2016) Development Studies Immersion Program (DSIP) have completed the first six weeks of language tuition, seminar series and case studies. ACICIS recently introduced a new Professional Placement (internship) option for the DSIP students as an alternative option to the long standing Community Placement option. With this exciting new opportunity, ACICIS has significantly expanded the comprehensive range of seminar and case study topics.

For the first seminar, students were introduced to the development process in Indonesia by the ACICIS Development Studies Coordinator, Mr Antonius Indrianto. Students visited the Combine Resource Institution in the south of Yogyakarta. Combine Resource Institution is an organisation which aims to strengthen the community through information and communication networks. One of Combine’s key projects is the Sistem Informasi Desa or Village Information System; which provides communities with a set of tools for the processing of data and information to support their resource management at a village level.

The second seminar focused on disability issues and social inclusion in Indonesia. Mr Rubby Emir from Saujana shared his extensive knowledge on the issues that people with disability continue to face in Indonesia. Mr Emir discussed how the community and many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) work together to push for a more inclusive Indonesian society. To complement this seminar, we visited Sentra Advokasi Perempuan, Difabel dan Anak (SAPDA) or the Centre for Advocacy for Women, Children, and Persons with Disabilities. SAPDA has worked very hard in facilitating crisis centres for women, children and persons with disabilities, and in lobbying for public policies that guarantee their basic rights in the areas of education, health, and employment.

For the third and fourth week, the topics included urbanism and environment in Yogyakarta and how they affect society. For our seminar on informal urbanism, Mr Wiryono Raharjo, Ph.D, who has extensive experience in architecture, urban planning, and urban development, shared his findings on the history of “kampung” development along the Kricak River in Yogyakarta, where the community there transformed their kampungs from informal settlements into secure land tenure. In the fourth seminar, Mr Halik Salendra from Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WAHI: The Indonesian Forum for Environment). discussed rural development in Yogyakarta rural communities and theirefforts in fighting for their environmental sustainability against powerful organisations such as mining companies and property developers. The students also visited several “Resilient Villages” with an organisation working in post-disaster relief called Lingkar Association, where we learned about disaster preparedness and risk reduction management in the disaster-prone areas around Yogyakarta. These resilient villages have taught themselves how to be sufficiently independent during the post-disaster recovery stage through creative economy, such as local organic farming and the cassava chips industry.

In week five, students had the opportunity to visit Balai Konservasi Borobudur and meet with UNESCO representatives to talk about the UNESCO’s community development projects in the areas surrounding Borobudur. With the renowned Buddhist temple growing to be a very popular tourist destination in the last two to three decades, UNESCO found it important to establish links between the tourism industry of the temple and the surrounding communities that continue to maintain strong cultural Javanese traditions and values. Tourists are directed to these surrounding villages to learn about the Javanese culture such as gamelan orchestra, batik painting, and pottery making with the community.

For the final seminar and case study students spent the day with Teater Garasi. Teater Garasi is a multi-disciplinary artist collective, based in Yogyakarta-Indonesia, which explores performing arts creation as an attempt to read, unveil, and understand changes happening in our world. This vision and practice has brought Teater Garasi’s works and artists into the international spotlight, performing in Singapore, Berlin, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka, New York, Amsterdam, and Adelaide.

See here for more information about the Development Studies Immersion Program. Applications for Semester 2 2016 close on 1 April.