ACCESS (The Australian Community Development and Civil Strengthening Scheme) was a bilateral programme between Australian and Indonesian Governments, aimed at empowering the citizens and organisations of specific districts within Indonesia to engage with local governments and stakeholders to bring about change in local democratic governance and thereby improved local development outcomes.
Aurecon’s role in the ACCESS programme was to engage with civil society organisations (CSOs) and capacity building service providers to ensure civil society engaged with service provision units such as health care centres, schools and sub-district offices.
Decentralisation in Indonesia can be perceived as essentially concerned with distribution of political power and ACCESS was designed first and foremost as a civil society strengthening programme to capitalise on the potential role of CSOs, citizens and their organisations as effective and sustainable governance actors in the decentralisation process.
As such the programme aimed to support the empowerment of individuals, strengthen their organisations and establish mechanisms for constructive interaction and engagement between citizens and local government, including local government public service delivery units incorporating primary health care and education.
Aurecon utilised an asset-based approach, identifying strengths and assets in all stakeholders involved and identifying how these assets could be used to work in achieving a common agreed programme goal.
This involved Aurecon recruiting, mobilising and managing over 10 international and 50 local personnel, resourcing and administering the programme including managing hundreds of grants for civil society organisations, assess and engage with partner CSOs, develop and implement their capacity building plans and activities, access grant funding for capacity building and engage with citizens and government, monitoring CSO activities and outputs, evaluating impacts and facilitating periodic lesson learning, and reflection and adaptation of the program in response to these lessons learned
Over its 12-year duration:
It contributed to building local constituencies that could act responsibly, engage and interact in constructive dialogue with their local governments, hold service deliverers to account and demonstrate proven development methods to their local governments which led to a better alignment of government service provision with local needs.
Both the Indonesian Government and the private sector recognised the programme's efforts through a series of awards to 21 separate individuals and groups, with the ACCESS programme itself receiving an award in 2013 from the Bantaeng District Government for innovations in community empowerment and capacity building.