Rowing the Weaves of Community Participation

Good Practices in Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program in Rural Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara


  • Ali Abdillah UNICEF Indonesia



early childhood development, partnerships, communication, teaching capacity development, managerial development


This paper describes the rural community participation within the context of an integrated early childhood development program initiated by the government of Indonesia in partnership with UNICEF and AusAID in Central Lombok (2008 – 2010). Based on purposive interviews with relevant stakeholders, as well as an analysis of past documents, researchers' involvement, and current policies and practices, both at the local government and rural community levels, the paper draws key good practices for possible application in other similar programs for rural settings.

Central Lombok is situated in West Nusa Tenggara Province, which according to the National Statistics Bureau’s 2010 Report, holds the lowest Human Development Index in Indonesia. Among ten districts within the province, Central Lombok has the third lowest index. Rural population, which accounts for more than half of the total district population, contributes to this overall low quality of human development. Over the past five years, rigorous development programs including early childhood education and health have been directed towards rural areas, both in land and around the coasts. The integrated early childhood development partnership targeted a far-south coastal area called Kuta, which the local government endeavours to transform into a major tourism destination.

The partnership program sought to empower early childhood health centres by inserting early childhood education programs for toddlers and their parents. The centres were established by the District Health Office, but irregular DHO’s follow up support and lack of community’s engagement had caused most centres to a non-functioning status. Throughout the life of the program, community participation was progressively placed at the centre of implementation and monitoring. The partnership drew three key good practices that enabled program ownership and sustainability. The first good practice was rigorous investment in grass root leadership through participatory selection, training, close mentoring, and small incentive scheme. The second good practice was formation of a sub-village cluster system that answered the issues related to distance and unavailability of public transport, and in turn allowed non-costly and more intensive community engagement. The third good practice was facilitating the establishment of a micro cooperative that generated income for the centres’ stakeholders, and provided financial support for centres’ daily operation. Today, two years after the partnership program concluded, the centres owned fully by the community continue to serve the children of Kuta. Beyond that, District Health and Education Offices have worked together to replicate some components of the program to other rural areas in Central Lombok.




How to Cite

Abdillah, A. (2014). Rowing the Weaves of Community Participation: Good Practices in Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program in Rural Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 24(1), 1–8.