Indonesia has an ethnically diverse population of over 300 recognized ethnic groups in approximately 17,000 islands. It is the world’s fourth most populous nation and has reduced the poverty rate in half between 1999 and 2018. Over the last 20 years, the country has built its economy, and in 2018 the World Bank cited Indonesia as the 10th largest economy in terms of purchasing power. However, social cohesion challenges continue to be one of the root causes of the recurrence of conflict.

Most recently, ethno-religious differences have prompted increased tension at community and national levels. With 240 different religions within the diverse populations, the need to ensure the visibility and substantively include religious minorities has presented significant challenges and the lack thereof has contributed to an enabling setting for the reception of extremism ideologies. Against this context, intersecting gendered concerns such as violence against women, child marriages, discriminatory norms and the gender nuanced impact of extremism on communities, have taken a lesser role in national conversations on social cohesion. Despite these barriers, women’s organizations continue to work at community level with national results and have illustrated that a gender-responsive human rights approach can have positive results to building social cohesion, community resilience and strengthen institutions.

In 2018, Indonesia announced preparations to enact a National Action Plan on Countering Violent Extremism (NAP/VE) through a mixture of ‘hard measures’ such as prosecutions and ‘soft measures’ to steer populations away from extremism ideologies. The initiative permit has been given to the National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) to work further on finalizing the NAP/VE as signed by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, on 25 January 2019. Drawing on the successes of Aceh’s peace agreement, in which women were instrumental in mediating for sustainable peace, this year’s call for N-Peace CSO Grants will aim to support women as mediators at a grassroots level for increased efforts in promotion of social cohesion, the prevention of violent extremism and against discriminatory norms which contribute to marginalization on the basis of ethno-religious identities and gender.

Congratulations to the following organizations who have been selected for the grants!

Pondok Pesantren Hadhiriyah Kediri

For engaging religious education in advocacy for women’s security and sustained efforts to end impunity for sexual and gender-based violence.

Civil Society Action Against Violent Extremism (C-Save)

For its work in ensuring women’s leadership as an accelerator in promoting social cohesion, identifying the drivers of violent extremism, and promoting tolerance and diversity.

Compassionate Action Indonesia (Yayasan Welas Asih Indonesia)

For its multi-sectoral modality and innovative solutions to increase women’s presence in community-level mediation and promotion of tolerance.