SEKNAS FITRA (Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency) was founded in the midst of an Indonesian reform movement in the 1990s calling for good governance. It now functions as a national coalition of 13 member organizations advocating for budget transparency at different levels of government. FITRA is funded by international donors and local foundations, and it raises a small amount from publication sales as well as consulting and speaking fees. To further diversify its income, it has put in place a plan to start up three social enterprises, including a consulting company to provide capacity-building services on public finance management for local governments. Plans also include a second social enterprise in the form of an alternative media company focusing on promising budget transparency and accountability. The company will provide free information, but sell customized analysis to clients for a fee, and publish and sell popular content on budgets and public finance. The third is a public finance academy, registered as a foundation, intending to charge tuition to train people to work at the local government level. FITRA is investing in these social enterprises as the principal shareholder, but the enterprises will have their own directors and management. A portion of the companies’ profits will be donated to FITRA.
Theory of Change
Creating information and mechanisms for budgetary oversight by the public, and advocating for the public’s right to information and good governance promotes greater realization of popular sovereignty over public finance and budgeting.
FITRA creates databases on state budgets, and practical, understandable analysis of state budgets, advocates for budgetary transparency and raises awareness about public budgeting within the community, and establishes budget control networks involving various elements of civil society both at home and abroad. FITRA has been collecting data and doing analysis on public budgets since 2009. It is now using its extensive knowledge resources to provide accessible information to the general public. As an alternative to the Ministry of Finance’s public finance college, FITRA’s academy would provide a pro-people curriculum emphasizing public participation, and greater concern for marginalized groups.
FITRA works with a coalition of organizations throughout Indonesia to promote a movement calling for the public’s right to information and good governance. Its social enterprises align well with FITRA’s mission. They provide unrestricted income, enabling FITRA to support activities which international funders cannot fund, and to better support its member organizations. The media company and academy will also expand FITRA’s reach and impact for the general public as well as for the companies and local governments that use the consulting company’s products and services.