Sahabat Cipta Foundation

Lessons Learned

When the Government is actively involved, the result can be massive

Implementing a development program can do so much as the budget and time allow when we do it without the government’s involvement. Number of beneficiaries reached and the impact of interventions conducted are limited to the budget and time made available for the program.

While activities can be completed in one year, the impact can only be seen after the beneficiaries and relevant key stakeholders work together for years in applying the good practices or refined system introduced by the interventions. The common problem in development programs is that the beneficiaries and relevant stakeholders do not apply what they have been trained for, when they are not accompanied in doing so. Hence, the impact is not materialized.

One key stakeholder in development of any community or economic sector is the government. Being the policy maker, the government plays a key role to establish an enabling environment for one sector to grow.

Take an example of developing cashew sector in one province. Most cashews produced by Indonesian farmers are exported raw to international processors. Should the government get involved by introducing a policy of banning or limiting export of raw cashew, such policy will force the players to conduct the processing and develop processing businesses in the province. With such involvement from the government, the program can introduce cashew processing to target beneficiaries so they can be both farmers and processors. This new activity not only provides farmers with new source of income, but also a potentially higher income. Because the price of cashew nuts is much higher than raw cashews.

The above example displays the massive impact of such government involvement. The policy imposed by the government has created an enabling environment for the growth of cashew processing businesses, which provides additional and higher income to farmers. This change can encourage other farmers and service providers to enter the cashew sector. While the program can only trained and coach one thousand farmers, for example, with the government’s involvement, the impact can reached at least two times that as more players are attracted.


Seeing is believing

Smallholders are in principle polite believers. They will quietly listen without being too critical to whatever you say. When they asked questions, it’s because they don’t understand. Not because they want to challenge your ideas. So, conducting a training or a workshop, is the easy part of the job.

The challenge is in making them do want you want them to, because you believe that it is good for them. This is the hard part of the job. Because they usually will not do it, if not never, before they believe it’s true. And they will believe when they see proof.

Therefore, in the beginning, you almost always have to do it yourself. If you can find one or two farmers who are willing to do it with you the first time, you are lucky. That is why we always put demo plots as one of our intervention activities. To give them proof that we are not just talking nonsense. That what we say is true. That it can be done, and it gives the results as promised. After all, deeds speak louder than words.

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Sahabat Cipta Foundation

Jl. Mampang Prapatan XIV No. 47

Jakarta 12790, Indonesia

Tel. +62 21 7919 8690

Fax. +62 21 7919 8691 

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