By Karishma Huda, Shez Farooq & Heracles Lang
Indonesia, an archipelago of over 13,000 inhabited islands, faces strong regional diversity and geographical disparities.1 Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, experienced a poverty rate of over 27 per cent (as compared to only 3 per cent in DKI Jakarta) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.2 Papua’s challenging geographic terrain and limited access to basic services contribute to this geographic disparity and has had negative implications on child development. Papua’s children experience lower education, nutritional attainment, and access to adequate shelter and basic services as compared to the national average.3
Given the need to address child development issues and to improve the coverage of social protection programmes across Papua, the Provincial Government of Papua (PGP) responded by launching BANGGA Papua, a child grant for all indigenous Papuan children from birth until their 4th birthday. BANGGA Papua has reached over 32,000 children (and 23,000 mothers) through a benefit level of 200,000 IDR (~13.50 USD) per child per month, and has helped the PGP to realise their commitment of achieving a “Generasi Emas,” or a golden generation of Papuans.
Despite the limited access to financial institutions due to infrastructure challenges, the PGP partnered with a local payment service provider, Bank Papua, to deliver payments through individual bank accounts. While this effort significantly increased financial inclusion in some of the most remote districts in the province, it was not without its challenges. Typical of most cash transfer schemes, BANGGA Papua beneficiaries required a national identification number to set-up their bank accounts and receive payments – but Papua has among the lowest national identification ownership in the country. The local demand for birth registration services is often stimulated by administrative requirements later in life, such as school enrolment, and is not an automatic procedure immediately after birth. The weak supply side (e.g. limited equipment and training for civil registration, and a lack of incentives for local governments to accurately register and report births) contributes to this outcome.4
While this is often an obstacle preventing families living in poverty from enrolling in social protection schemes, the PGP innovatively turned the problem into a solution. It leveraged BANGGA Papua as an opportunity to register Papuan citizens who have remained invisible to civil registration systems. The PGP, all too aware of the cost of going back to families multiple times, put in place a simple “3-in-1” registration form that incorporated data fields for program enrolment, civil registration, as well as bank account opening. The process did not seek to collect complex socio-economic data that would be time-consuming to collect and would have no bearing on eligibility. Rather, every data field was carefully considered and served a practical purpose.
Once this information was captured for all eligible beneficiaries, this data was then leveraged by the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) system to issue national identification numbers for enrolled beneficiaries who do not yet have a national identification number. For those who already have the numbers, the CRVS system is used to cross-check their accuracies. These national identification numbers were then used by Bank Papua to create bank accounts for all enrolled beneficiaries (see Figure 1). In essence, the BANGGA Papua Management Information System (MIS) acted as a comprehensive beneficiary management system and a “one-stop” shop for several services, attracting the attention of national policymakers.
This process of using cash transfer registration as an opportunity to increase financial inclusion and civil registration led to several positive unintended consequences: there was a spike in the attainment of birth certificates; women are more frequently utilising the local health centres for delivering babies, as the local health centres also act as a point of registration; and there is an increased local demand for BANGGA Papua, not just because of the vital income support it provides families, but because the programme has provided a vehicle for indigenous Papuans to obtain legal identity documents which will facilitate their access to broader state services.
The PGP has made considerable achievements in its two years of implementing BANGGA Papua. The programme acts as a case and point of how challenging contexts can lead to innovative practices, and the critical role that a well-designed beneficiary management system can play in leveraging data for multiple outcomes. The PGP has a big task ahead of achieving greater interoperability between the civil registration system, Bank Papua’s MIS and the BANGGA Papua MIS. This is critical to ensuring these achievments are not just pilot successes, but can be replicated as the programme grows in scale and scope.
This joint guest blog was written by Karishma Huda, Social Protection Specialist with the Australian Government-supported MAHKOTA program in Indonesia; Shez Farooq, a Social Protection MIS and Operations Specialist; and Heracles Lang, Governance Specialist with KOMPAK, the Australia – Indonesia partnership on decentralised governance.
For an analysis on lessons learnt from implementing BANGGA Papua, please visit https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/an-inclusive-child-grant-in-papua-lessons-learnt-from-implementing-cash-transfers-in-remote-contexts.pdf
Note: This blog has been funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The views expressed in this publication are the authors’ alone and are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government Huda, K., Carrera, F., H. Salame (2020), An Inclusive Child Grant in Papua: lessons learnt from implementing cash transfers in remote contexts, Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government  TNP2K (2018), The Future of the Social Protection System for Indonesia: Social Protection for All, Jakarta: Office of the Vice President  UNICEF (2017), Children in Indonesia: An analysis of poverty, mobility and multidimensional deprivation. Jakarta: UNICEF  MAHKOTA and KOMPAK (2017), Social Protection for Papua’s Children and Older People, Program Design Document (unpublished)  MAHKOTA and KOMPAK (2017), Social Protection for Papua’s Children and Older People, Programme Design Document (unpublished)