Empowering Indonesia's future leaders

12 February 2018
Leaders from Disabled People's Organisations have completed a two-week leadership run by the University of Sydney.

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre hosted 20 leaders from Indonesia for a two-week course to strengthen the leadership and management skills of key disability advocacy organisations in the country.

Participants vowed to use their experience in Sydney to help drive change in their organisations and Indonesia.

“The course will help me build the capacity of our board members and members of the organisation. Then our organisation can show the public and the government our ability to be involved in the development of our city,” said Umi Salamah who chairs the People with Disability organisation in the Kediri district of East Java.

Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, Professor Michele Ford said the course was designed to give participants the practical skills they need to help drive change in Indonesia.

“With the introduction of Indonesia’s new disability law in April 2016, we can see that the country is making significant steps toward greater inclusion for people with a disability,” Professor Ford said.

“Ultimately, these changes came about because of strong grassroots advocacy and support from leaders like those who attended this course. They agitate on the ground and hold the government to account.

“Since we started this leadership program in 2016, we have trained 41 leaders from Disabled People’s Organisations and 51 women leaders.”

During the course, participants engaged in activities designed to develop practical skills in public speaking, engaging with government and project management.

They also visited the Australian Museum, Government House, the Museum of Contemporary Art,  and attended the GIO Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Race on Australia Day

The group will complete the program with a course in Jakarta in March. Before meeting again in Jakarta, they will be required to implement a project they designed in Sydney.

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and managed by Australia Awards in Indonesia, the course equips participants with organisational, communication and advocacy skills they can use in their leadership roles.

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