Local Communities Are Not Consulted in Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programs in Post-Tsunami Aceh

A report by two watchdog groups—Eye on Aceh and Aid Watch—focuses primarily on projects funded by five major donors: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD), the European Commission (EC), and the Multi Donor Trust Fund for Aceh and North Sumatra (MDTF). The assessment is based on the responses of ordinary Acehnese during visits between March and December 2005. The report offers a detailed set of recommendations. Among its major findings:

  • Many Acehnese feel excluded from the rehabilitation and reconstruction process. Donors and implementers should have placed more emphasis on consultations and genuine two-way communication, and tried to capitalize on local expertise.
  • Unequal levels of assistance, and the ability of some individuals to profit from the presence of international agencies while others bear the brunt of inflation, are fuelling social jealousy. Tension is building between those displaced by the tsunami and host communities. And the marginalization of women in decision-making processes reinforces existing patterns of gender discrimination.
  • There is a surprising lack of monitoring of projects and of post-project evaluation. And donors and implementers frequently ignore the recommendations of internal and external evaluations.
  • Donors and implementers often appear more focused on their own short-term need for visible results than on the longer-term needs of the local population. In the rush to spend money, the need to build local capacity (to sustain projects in the longer term) has been neglected.
  • There is an alarming level of environmental damage related to reconstruction efforts, in particular deforestation resulting from illegal logging.

Related Links:

Eye on Aceh and Aid Watch, A People’s Agenda? Post-Tsunami Aid in Aceh, February 2006.
Links: http://www.aidwatch.org.au/index.php?current=1&display=aw00878&display_item=2, or http://www.acheh-eye.org/data_files/english_format/ngo/ngo_eye_on_acheh-eng/ngo_eye_on_acheh_007_2006.pdf.