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Partnering for Peace in Aceh, Indonesia: 2023 in Review

Date: December 29, 2023

At the beginning of 2023, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) and six partner organizations launched a project in Aceh, Indonesia. Working together, we are advancing women's and children's rights, strengthening the truth and reconciliation process in Aceh, and connecting leaders to one another.

As the consortium lead, NP has been supporting our local partners on organizational development, project management, financial management and accountability, monitoring and evaluation, responsible partnership, and resource mobilization so that they can sustain their work for the long run.

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Advancing Women's & Children's Rights

Three of our women-led partners have similar objectives in advancing the promotion and protection of women’s and children’s rights. Flower Aceh works to increase women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts and strengthens access to protection. YHBA provides case management support and protection to victims of sexual and gender-based violence and their families. In 2023, Balai Syura intensified its efforts to lobby for the government to ensure the new criminal code in Aceh does not discriminate and violate the rights of women, girls and children.

Flower Aceh has been instrumental in promoting women's rights through impactful workshops and community events over the past year. Highlights include a youth-focused workshop with 26 participants and a lively community event in Mon Ikeun with 105 attendees. Our collaborative efforts with partners have created inclusive spaces for discussions, revived cultural passion at the village level, and inspired the younger generation to contribute actively to Aceh's future. We've documented these journeys with a treasure trove of good practices and an Innovation Story celebrating local wisdom and youth contributions to peacebuilding—which we look forward to sharing in 2024.

In the last year, YBHA Peutuah Mandiri provided direct physical protection for dozens of individuals, coupled with offering psychosocial support, legal assistance, and reproductive health checks. But that's not all – community-based legal counseling and education in two Aceh Besar villages engaged 96 participants in the past three months alone, shedding light on gender-based violence awareness.

Their public awareness campaign on preventing sexual and gender-based violence took center stage. YBHA dived into podcasts and talk shows with experts and social media influencers to hold crucial conversations for change.

Balai Syura has been engaged in insightful meetings on laws affecting women and advocating for women's protection through strategic discussions. Their podcast series reached 731 individuals.

They are empowering women ex-combatants with workshops and meetings ... from a recent session in Banda Aceh resulting in a strategic plan for Askarimah Organization ... to 86 individuals gathering to prepare for a conference on women's role in peace. Together, our partners are working towards making a positive impact!

Strengthening Truth & Reconciliation

KontraS Aceh enhances the capacity of Aceh’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the documentation of abuses and policy advocacy. 

In order to support the process of transitional justice, KontraS Aceh has been actively involved in coordination meetings with Truth and Reconciliation Commission and official Statement Takers—the individuals responsible for sensitively collecting and documenting statements from those who have experienced or witnessed human rights abuses or injustices.

As part of a 6-month project implementation monitoring, KontraS Aceh conducted a monitoring activity with Statement Takers in the east and center regions of Aceh, ensuring ongoing progress and effectiveness. They conducted statement taking across various areas. As of October, KontraS had already collected 433 of the 1,200 total statements to be collected during this two-year project.

Koalisi NGO HAM is actively working to gather information on reparations models for communities affected by human rights violations.

Koalisi's initiatives spans across more than 17 districts in Aceh, ensuring diverse perspectives. The commitment to inclusivity is evident in workshops that are facilitated to empower victim-survivors to shape reparation plans reflecting victim-survivor perspectives.

In the past year, Koalisi organized citizen journalism workshops for human rights violation survivors. Led by an Alliance of Independent Journalists representative, these sessions equip survivors with journalism skills, enabling them to share their stories and advocate for rights locally. These efforts exemplify the coalition's commitment to meaningful change through grassroots initiatives.

two women in hijabs, one watching the other while she talks to someone off camera.

Connecting Leaders Across Aceh

La Kasspia is a pivotal force in Aceh's peacebuilding landscape, fostering collaboration by facilitating cross-regional events for leaders from conflict-affected areas. Beyond active participation, La Kasspia critically evaluates peacebuilding effectiveness, as seen in their comprehensive study of the Aceh peace agreement. Their commitment to thoughtful and inclusive evaluation reflects a nuanced understanding of sustainable peace, making La Kasspia a guiding beacon in the journey toward a united and peaceful Aceh.

One such event, held in Banda Aceh, epitomized La Kasspia's commitment to fostering collaboration. With 35 participants, the gathering became a melting pot of diverse perspectives. The outcome? A strategy and roadmap to advocate that the new criminal code in Aceh does not violate human rights. La Kasspia works with our other partners to strategically move beyond discussions, translating ideas into actionable plans.

In the heart of Aceh's transformative journey, the collective endeavors of Nonviolent Peaceforce and our partners stand as a testament to the tangible impact that unified, strategic collaboration can bring to the forefront of peacebuilding efforts.

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To reinvigorate the peace process, NP is partnering with the Royal Government of the Netherlands for the SPEAR project, or Sustaining the gains of peace, equal rights for women and attaining reconciliation in Aceh. The project focuses on partnering with six local civil society organizations to strengthen their work to sustain the peace process. The six organizations that make up the consortium are KontraS Aceh, Koalisi NGO HAM, Yayasan Bantuan Hukum Anak Peutuah Mandiri (YBHA), Balai Syura Ureung Inong Aceh (BSUIA), Flower Aceh, and La Kasspia.

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