Springfields has partnered with OXFAM in establishing a ‘Virtual’ Musrenbang in Timor Tengah Seletan, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia. This project was conducted in 2014 and focused on a community communication system, using mobile phones to improve accessibility to village decision making processes and allow individuals to raise concerns and ideas who otherwise may not be able to.
The system aimed to improve accountability; transparency and governance, by ensuring all stakeholders are informed and engaged in the operation of the system. The pilot targeted members of the communities who do not normally have access to the decision-making processes (primarily musrenbang meetings). This allows members of the community who are normally excluded from the decision making processes to engage with the musrenbang and community guidance. By doing this we intend to not only make the musrenbang and community decision-making process more accessible, but also more transparent. The focus on community members who are traditionally excluded from the musrenbang process such as women and agricultural workers will ensure the greatest possible impact on the community. This provides an opportunity to support an innovative solution for meeting poor women’s needs, focusing on women in leadership roles, and providing equal opportunities for women through improved education, knowledge exchange and capacity building.
There were two core components:
1. Community grievance/ interaction
Communities can interact directly with the village decision-making process, which will allow users to send complaints, grievances, and suggestions and to allow quick response from local authorities. With this approach, it will allow communities to have more control and interaction with their local governance systems. The system works when a community member sends a text message to an SMS gateway and keywords get picked up using a search algorithm and sent directly to the system administrators, therefore, allowing quick response. The system will also create a database of all grievances, which will create a monthly report for the village governance community to review and discuss improvements and determinations. Community members will have access to these monthly reports and the defined actions.
2. Information Dissemination
Community members will be informed regularly on key messages, such as results of community musrenbang meetings and other community planning information. This improves transparency and accountability of the musrenbang decision making process. These messages will be broadcast through SMS ensuring any members may access the system with their existing mobile phone accounts.