In the last decade, social protection has risen in prominence as a strategy to address poverty and vulnerability in developing countries, yet little is known about the role that Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) plays in the reform of social protection. To address this gap, this paper explores the specific example of Australia’s ODA in shaping the social protection programs of Indonesia. The authors argue that, in its engagement with the Government of Indonesia, Australia acted as a “constructive partner” rather than a “demanding donor”, which contributed to the recipient government retaining ownership over its activities. Among social protection programmes in Indonesia, the paper focuses on the Poverty Reduction Support Facility initiative, which the analysis shows was embedded within the Indonesian governance structures and operated in a manner that was sensitive to the political culture of the Indonesian bureaucracy. Finally, this paper suggests that two-way transformation can occur as a result of effective ODA investment in social protection reform.
At the time of contribution, Brooke Wilmsen
was Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at La Trobe University (Australia), Alexandra Kaasch
was Junior Professor in Transnational Social Policy at the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and Mulyadi Sumarto
was a faculty member at the Department of Social Development and Welfare, Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia).