The need for MITRA:

  • Before MITRA there was no single inclusive body or sense of community to unite youth and other progressive actors throughout Eastern Indonesia.
  • The resources and power of Indonesia are concentrated towards the core of the country, Jakarta and wider West and Central Java. In contrast Eastern and peripheral provinces are largely disadvantaged and face stigma due to the structural inequality of Indonesia.
  • Opportunities are also concentrated in core areas. There is a relative lack of access and information about social, economic, educational and employment opportunities as well as a general absence of international exposure for communities in Eastern Indonesia.
  • As a result, many families choose to send their children to Java, Bali or other parts of Indonesia for their education rather than having them educated in East Indonesia. This has led to a skills drain in Eastern Indonesia and an undervaluing of the universities, local institutions and human resource potential that exists in Eastern Indonesia.
  • Before MITRA there were too few if any international students and international institutions who come to Eastern Indonesia for study and cooperative programs. There is also a scarcity of local student volunteers delegated to the role of welcoming these international students.
  • Very few youth and agents of change in Eastern Indonesia have been able to gain access to information and opportunities to join international events.

The need for MITRA is also illustrated through data and statistics related to the key human development indicators of the human development index. This is just one set of criteria which can be used to assess inequality and the development gaps across Indonesia.

Ranking Province HDI Score   Ranking Province HDI Score
1 DKI Jakarta 77.85 18 South Sulawesi 71.97
2 North Sulawesi 76.39 19 Aceh 72.00
3 Riau 76.38 20 Lampung 71.77
4 D.I. Yogyakarta 76.14 21 Maluku 71.72
5 East Kalimantan 76.00 22 Central Sulawesi 71.46
6 Kep. Riau 75.88 23 Banten 70.79
7 Central Kalimantan 74.92 24 Gorontalo 70.64
8 North Sumatera 74.50 25 South Kalimantan 70.27
9 West Sumatera 74.11 26 Central Sulawesi 70.37
10 South Sumatera 73.26 27 West Sulawesi 69.95
11 Bengkulu 73.24 28 West Kalimantan 69.49
12 Kep. Bangka Belitung 73.20 29 West Papua 69.42
13 Jambi 73.11 30 North Maluku 69.32
14 Bali 72.65 31 Nusa Tenggara Timur 67.59
15 Central Java 72.79 32 Nusa Tenggara Barat 65.89
16 West Java 72.58 33 Papua 65.22
17 Lampung 71.77 17-18 National Average 71.53

MITRA intends to challenge these development gaps and structural inequalities in Indonesia by adopting an assets based approach which utilizes contextual best practice from Eastern Indonesia. As an equity-based movement, MITRA has the ability to challenge the ineffective institutions, systems and power structures which have supported this structural inequality across Indonesia.

Enshrined within the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a clear rhetoric for change, equality and the idea of ‘leave no one behind’. MITRA hopes to transform this rhetoric into a reality by focusing on the neglected and disadvantaged regions of Eastern Indonesia. However, new approaches are needed within this sustainable development paradigm.

It is the belief of the founding members of MITRA that one of the best ways of delivering ‘sustainable development’ or ‘valued change’ to Eastern Indonesia is through strategic planning and action and the building of concrete mechanisms oriented towards the long-term future. MITRA does this through empowering future generations and instilling within them the spirit or desire to contribute towards their societies. This spirit has been formed by a focus on international knowledge and skills transfer which for the purpose of strengthening local contributions to local communities and ecosystems. The spirit allows MITRA to be guided by a community service-oriented drive rather than the conventional self-regarding ambition which have been so destructive for Indonesia and the wider world in the past. In this sense, MITRA presents a departure from other organisations and movements. This makes MITRA unique from other organisations. Due to all of these factors mentioned, as well as an increasing pressure towards a ‘global orientation’ there is a clear need for an actor such as MITRA.

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