The number of Indonesian diaspora abroad is relatively high, each possessing unique perspectives and different skillsets. One area of potential where these traits may be utilised is in the area of philanthropy. This support can take the form of money, ideas, skills, networks, or other types of resources. Unfortunately, the potential of Indonesian diaspora has not been utilized well as an alternative resource for our national development, particularly in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Philanthropy Learning Forum 7, with the topic “Diaspora philanthropy: Potential, Challenges and Mobilization Strategy” discussed this issue. The event was held by Filantropi Indonesia, in partnership with UNDP, in Jakarta on May 31st, 2016. Philanthropists and their associated organisations attended this forum which presented four (4) speakers who have been actively involved in diaspora philanthropy. They were Dino Patti Djalal (Founder of Indonesia Diaspora Network), Tangkuman Alexander (Vice Director of Public Diplomacy, Directorate General of Public Information and Diplomacy Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Reky Martha (Co-Founder of Hoshizora Foundation), and H. Zarkasih Nurdin (Chairman of Sulit Air Sepakat).
Chrisrophe Bahuet, UNDP Indonesia Country Director, gave the opening speech
Indonesian diaspora refers to those Indonesians who live outside the country. This term applies to all people who are born in Indonesia who become citizens of other countries, or those who live abroad for the purposes of studying, working, etc. The data from the Indonesia Diaspora Network shows that Indonesian diaspora has reached 8 million people, with 4.6 million of them current Indonesian citizens. Millions of these migrations are facilitated by organizations or associations that represent certain ethnic groups, religions, or professions. The diaspora community can be an asset to our nation because they have endured the global competitive environment and some of them are economically well-off.
Franciscus Welirang, Co-Chair of Filantropi Indonesia’s Advisory Board, said that besides global or international diaspora, philanthropy by local diaspora also had to be encouraged and facilitated so they it could flourish in every ethnic group or region in Indonesia, especially those who have had historical traditions of travel or migration, such as the Minang, Batak, Bugis, Madura, etc. Philanthropic acts of the migrants can include both monetary donations and other types of support that they provide for their hometown while living in major cities.
Franciscus also said that diaspora philanthropy. both locally and globally, has a big potential to become an alternative resource for our national development. However, the compassion and generosity shown by these migrants has not been targeted by an optimal fundraising effort. There are very few organizations who take the effort to mobilize support from global and local diaspora in a serious and professional manner. In terms of utilization, the donations coming from migrants is mostly being used for consumptive and charitable needs.
Franciscus added that mobilization efforts are not effective because there is no regulation from the government that supports it, or provides ease, facility or tax incentives. In comparison to the Philippines and India, our government is still behind in promoting the role and contribution of diaspora, especially in philanthropy. The government has yet to produce regulations to boost the role of Indonesian diaspora and to facilitate their contribution to the nation’s development.
PLF 8 Participants
This effort to spur the growth of Indonesian diaspora philanthropy is also supported by Christophe Bahuet, the Country Director of UNDP Indonesia. According to Christophe, Indonesian diaspora all over the world play an important role in national development, especially in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the ways to encourage their participation is through the SDG Philanthropy Platform, an ongoing project in Indonesia and three other countries: Colombia, Kenya, and Ghana. The purpose of this platform is to support the philanthropy sector in understanding the opportunities to get involved in achieving the global goals and supporting governments in utilizing the power of philanthropy.
Through the Platform, philanthropy organisations and government can better understand the potential of Indonesian diaspora philanthropy and raise their support for SDGs. Christophe added that the use of information technology, such as that of crowdfunding which is growing in Indonesia, can overcome distance or geographical challenges to make it easier for Indonesian diaspora to participate as individuals or through organizations. Besides contributing to the achievement of the first 16 goals of SDG, the role of Indonesian diaspora is a big step in implementing goal 17, which is “Partnerships for the Goals”.