“Participatory budgeting in Indonesia – the Musrenbang – has great potential, but there is a high degree of variability in how it is applied across cities. We are seeking ways to improve the Musrenbang to make it more accountable, transparent and inclusive.” — Kota Kita
citizen-selected participatory budget projects implemented in Solo City, Indonesia
Indonesians still live below the poverty line
January 2015 End date
Other than voting for their political leaders every four years, Indonesia’s participatory budgeting mechanism – the Musrenbang – is the only opportunity for citizens to express their needs and desires for their communities. It has great potential, but is often treated as a ‘wish list’.
It has also been practiced differently from one city to the next, and there have been challenges in implementation. Improving the Musrenbang to make government more accountable and transparent means learning about these differences to develop a range of solutions for each context.
Kota Kita’s ongoing work on participatory budgeting in Solo City has identified problems including lack of information for project planning and prioritisation, local elites dominating the Musrenbang, and non-implementation of projects selected by citizens. It has developed solutions to these problems that include neighbourhood profiles and a tracker tool which shares information about the implementation of selected projects.
Kota Kita believes that such technological innovations – alongside work to improve engagement between government and civil society – can support the overall transparency of the Musrenbang.
This research aims to learn how to apply different combinations of solutions to improve the Musrenbang in six Indonesian cities. It will:
- examine the constraints and prospects of the Musrenbang as it is currently practiced in different cities
- provide recommendations to city governments and CSOs to help make the Musrenbang more transparent and inclusive
- promote knowledge and critical reflection on the Musrenbang so that such policies can become more widespread throughout the country.
Kota Kita is a non-profit organisation that has been working to promote and support participatory budgeting and planning in cities across Indonesia since 2010. Its work is based on the belief that empowering citizens -- through raising awareness and providing tools for them to better engage with governments -- can ensure government accountability and transparency.
The research finished at the end of 2016. It concluded that in order to improve the transparency, accountability and inclusivity of participatory budgeting in Indonesia, it is necessary to:
- strengthen the capacity of local musrenbang facilitators, particularly in understanding urban issues, problem analysis and prioritisation of interventions
- revitalise the role of civil society so that it has a more prominent role in facilitating musrenbang discussions - including providing capacity building for government and communities, strengthening participation by producing tools, modules and training, and providing useful urban information for planning and budgeting
- encourage devolution of budgets to the neighbourhood level.
It also advocates the use of technology to improve access to information, and include young people, but warns that tech needs to be better designed to make it more user-friendly and to ensure that it can be combined with traditional, offline traditional forms of consultation.
Participatory budgeting in Indonesia: past, present and…