The involvement Faith-Based Organizations (FBO) in humanitarian assistance during disaster events has been recognized for a long time. FBOs have a long history of responding to people in need (Ferris, 2005), particularly people at a grass roots level in dire circumstances where governments often cannot or fail to provide assistance to them (Shaw and Katsuihciro, 2004). Thus, the discussion aims at describing the role of Muhammadiyah organization, one of the largest Moslem organizations in Indonesia, in strengthening capacity to have a more effective and efficient humanitarian response. Muhammadiyah was founded in 1912, and is an NGO/FBO/CSO which has significantly extended its mission to take a role in disaster relief and response in the recent past. Muhammadiyah has an estimated 35 million members, branches in 34 provinces, 172 higher education institutions, 10,209 schools, 457 hospitals and clinics, and 372 orphanages/elderly homes, and thousands of mosques throughout Indonesia which contributes to the ability to provide robust humanitarian assistance. Yet, the capacity for emergency relief is still lacking due to inadequate awareness among its boards and members, the voluntary nature of the organization, and the skills sets needed as well as knowledge of humanitarian principles, architecture, and management. Thus, the program of Preparing to Excel in Emergency Response (PEER) is intended to strengthen management, administrative, financial and programmatic skills necessary for relief and response. The interesting thing is that the program is carried out in partnership with another FBO, the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in Indonesia. This interfaith approach to providing humanitarian assistance was initiated by Muhammadiyah in 2008 through the Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI), a forum and network of 14 Moslem and Christian FBOs. The forum was established based on humanitarian principles, and facilitated stronger cooperation and coordination by (1) establishing common goals on humanitarian assistance; (2) transforming perceived barriers into opportunities; (3) creating space and dialogue – mutual listening, response, and discussion; (4) pursing a collaborative approach to work through differences and identifying deeper common ground. This seminar will assess the best practices and the interfaith approach for disaster relief and response in various parts of Indonesia.
About the Speaker:
Dr Rahmawati (AMA) Husein is a visiting fellow with the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Programme (HADR), Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University and an Assistant Professor of the Jusuf Kalla School of Government, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY). She teaches public policy making, urban/development planning, change management, research methods, and disaster risk reduction. Her current research concentrates on local government, disaster management, and environmental planning. She is the vice chair of the Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC), the Central Board of Muhammadiyah, a social and non-government organization. She was formerly a commissioner of the National Commission on Women, Komnas Perempuan. She also served as a program manager/coordinator of the national committee/task force of the Muhammadiyah organization for tsunami relief and response in Aceh, 2005 and earthquake response in Central Java and Yogyakarta in 2006. She received her BA in English literature from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, her masters in community planning, from University of Cincinnati, OH, US and PhD in urban and regional planning focusing on disaster management from Texas A&M University, TX, US.