Iwan Mucipto Moeliono
This profile was prepared when Iwan Mucipto Moeliono was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1990.
The New Idea
In Eastern Indonesia, as in much of the world, the coastal zone is fundamentally different from the inland areas ecologically, economically, and therefore sociologically and politically. Governed until recently by somnolent local custom and largely ignored by others, this coastal region is suddenly experiencing a series of profound changes, many beyond the grasp not only of the local people and rule but also of the newer institutions springing up to help.Iwan is setting up something between a framework and an association to bring together and help all the widely differing groups working to help fishermen and their coastal neighbors across Eastern Indonesia, especially East and West Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and Irian. It is designed to reinforce local organizations, community groups, or producers and their associations.First, Iwan wants to strengthen the smaller, more local groups. Second, it seeks to provide services and allow effective action on the regional and national levels that are beyond the reach of their local constituents, but that are now essential as larger forces come to bear on the region. More especially, he wants to encourage the private voluntary organizations (PVO's) to do what they do best, to innovate. To do so they must break free of the conformist thinking he feels increasingly characterizes the emerging PVO sector in Indonesia. That, in turn, means that the institution he builds must be carefully structured not to become a vehicle that encourages common thinking but instead truly strengthens and respects local innovators.Second, he'll provide a framework where those working in the many different organizations in the field will be able to obtain, and contribute to, common services. Training and mutual help consultancy are two examples. His association will organize training sessions, very much expecting the participants to share their expertise as well as learn. This service then flows naturally on into groups that have mastered a needed skill e.g., how to build and place artificial reef-like structures to inexpensively attract fish, help those elsewhere in the region master it.By functioning on a broader plain, moreover, his organization will be able to give its constituents longer reach. He envisages, for example, helping these small, geographically remote organizations reach out more effectively to funders. This will also facilitate their having an impact on national and regional policies, suddenly quite essential. Iwan's organization can help collect information, identify risks and opportunities, and concert parallel or collective initiative.Iwan has a number of specific ideas he plans to pursue while building this new institution. One example illustrates his sense of the importance of reaching out beyond the PVO community's collective thinking. Because PVO's commonly see the "patrons" or owners of fishing boats as businessmen and even explorers rather than the poor these organizations seek to serve, they generally don't work with them. However, Iwan believes that helping them be more efficient offers major opportunities and that working through the patrons may be one of the most effective ways to stop harmful practices (such as bombing the coral reefs with dynamite to drive more fish into the nets).