Batik is something close to the hearts of all Indonesians. The traditional fabric remains highly visible in many areas of people’s lives, from the office to weddings and other formal functions. However, despite the fabric’s prominent place in Indonesian work and social life, many of the traditional makers of batik often struggle to make a living. Like other small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia, many batik-makers are trapped in escalating debt cycles due to their reliance on loan sharks for the credit they need to run their businesses. As a result, they are forced to live on meagre incomes and with little chance of improving their family’s welfare.
For Viesda Pithaloka and Aprilia Ambarwati, researchers from the Bandung-based research institution AKATIGA, the difficulties SMEs face in accessing credit at reasonable rates is something that can and should be addressed through adjustments to government policy. SMEs absorb 97% of Indonesia’s labour force. But their lack of access to credit limits the extent to which SMEs can lift people out of poverty and improve living standards.
“SMEs in Indonesia have the potential to foster the country’s economic growth. However based on AKATIGA’s research, existing policies have not been able to provide the supports that SMEs need to play such an important function. This is why AKATIGA choose to undertake action research that focuses on the trade chain in order to identify the most appropriate policies to encourage the development of SMEs,” said Viesda.
Viesda and Aprilia recently had the opportunity to develop their ideas for this research during the Knowledge Sector Initiative’s Research Design Workshop and Clinic, held from 13-17 April 2015 in Bogor. Participating researchers from KSI’s 16 partner organisations were paired with a senior academic from the Australian National University or the University of Melbourne who helped them to develop their research proposals.
For Viesda and Aprilia, discussing their proposed research with their assigned expert peer and others throughout the week helped them to sharpen the focus of their research questions and develop their approach to implementing the research. The Workshop also deepened their understanding of strategies for writing good research proposals that are likely to attract the interest of potential providers of funding.
“In the clinic sessions, we were encouraged to directly apply the knowledge we learned from the workshops,” added Aprilia.
After the week-long event in Bogor, all participants agreed to refine and develop their proposals further with their assigned peers continuing to provide support provided remotely via email. On 20 May, Viesda and Aprilia will come together with the other 30 participating researchers to present their research proposals to each other and discuss their plans for implementing the research.
KSI hopes to fund all 16 projects that emerged from the Research Design Workshop and Clinic, as part of the core funding provided to the 16 partner organisations, as listed below.
Also read Supporting the Life of Batik-Makers through Action Research
The complete proposals from 16 research partners are:
Organisation/Research Teams / Working Titles
Iis Gindarsah & Tobias Basuki
Criminalising Social Interaction in Cyberspace: Assessing the Impact of Cyber Law in Indonesia
Irsyad Rafsad & Husni Mubarok
Measuring Religious Freedom in Indonesia
Viesda Pithaloka & Aprilia Ambarwati
Mikrokredit dan Pengembangan UMKM di Indonesia (Microcredit and the Development of SMEs in Indonesia)
PPH Atma Jaya
Kekek Apriana & Laura Milette
Government Funding for CSOs operating HIV/AIDS programs: How to Achieve Program Sustainability
Nandyan Nurlaksana Wilasto & Anwar Dwi Cahyono
Towards Sound Policy Development for The Introduction of New Vector Control Technology for Dengue In Indonesia
Rangga Eka Saputra & Dirga Maulana
Pendidikan Agama dan Transmisi Radikalisme di Indonesia (Religious Education and the Transmission of Radicalism in Indonesia)
Rita Kartika & Arsyi Rahman
KPH Di Antara Dua Jalan: Studi Kasus Praktek KPH di Tiga Daerah (Aceh, Yogya dan Berau), (Forest Management Units [KPH] Between Two Paths: A case study of three KPH practice areas: Aceh, Yogyakarta and Berau
Mia Novitasari & Julia Ikasarana
Gender Discriminative Regulations and Women’s Career Advancement in the Civil Service
Estu Dyah & Miko Susanto Ginting
Overcrowded Prisons: How Does Judicial Discretion Contribute?
Egi Hendrawan & Amir Mahmod
Proses dan Konflik Pembebasan Tanah di Indonesia: Studi Kasus di Lebak Selatan Banten (Process and Conflict in Land Acquisition in Indonesia: A Case Study from South Lebak Banten)
Miftah Fadhli & Purnama Ayu Rizky
What Do Indonesians Say? Understanding Privacy in Indonesia
Dinar Prasetyo & Ana Rosidha Tamyis
Water and Sanitation Programs in Indonesia: What are the key factors that change mindset and behavior?
Widya Kartika & Yenti Nurhidayat
Integrating Planning and Budgeting Processes in Indonesia
Dani Alfah & Fita Herawaty
Studi Kesehatan Reproduksi Remaja di Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta: Kebijakan antara Remaja Sekolah, Luar Sekolah dan Difabel (Studies of adolescent reproductive health in a privileged area of Yogyakarta: Policies for adolescents in school, out of school and the disabled)
Sunaryo Hadi Wibowo &Dina Mariana
Penguatan Demokrasi melalui Musyawarah Desa sebagai Arena Baru dalam Pengambilan Keputusan Strategis Pasca Lahirnya UU Desa (Strengthening Democracy through Village Consultations: a New Arena of Strategic Decision Making Following the birth of the Village Law)
Boedi Rheza & M. Iqbal Damanik