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For two days (22 to 24 January 2018), representatives from key government agencies of Papua and West Papua visited Banda Aceh and Calang, Aceh Jaya to share information and discuss Otsus Funds implementation challenges to find new ways to collaborate. Three districts from Papua that also participated are Jayapura, Lanny Jaya and Paniai.

Funded by the Australian Government through KOMPAK, the cross-learning activity aims to support the Government of Indonesia to optimise the use of Otsus Funds to address poverty in Aceh, Papua and West Papua.

The Australian Embassy’s Fleur Davies said that the visit would provide an opportunity for the three provinces to share innovative ways to improve public services delivery in health, education, legal identity and social assistance.

“Otsus Funds should be used effectively to improve public services and promote development in the most left behind, remote districts,” Ms Davies said.

BAPPENAS’s Dr. Ir. Taufik Hanafi, MUP, who accompanied Ms Davies on the visit, said that regional inequality could only be addressed if special attention is provided to lagging regions.

He said he was pleased that the three provinces are learning from each other to improve the implementation of Otsus. In 2018, Aceh will receive Rp 8 trillion in Otsus funds, while Papua and West Papua will receive Rp 8 trillion and Rp 4 trillion respectively.

“Australia is pleased that the KOMPAK program, which provides technical assistance to Indonesia to optimise the use of regional fiscal transfers for frontline service delivery, is working in Aceh, Papua and West Papua, including their remote districts,” Ms Davies said.

In Papua and West Papua, KOMPAK is working in 205 villages, including 181 primary schools, 29 health centres and 24 sub-districts, located in 10 districts. In Aceh, KOMPAK is working 18 villages, three sub-districts and three districts.

The representatives from Papua Province also visited Calang, Aceh Jaya where a pension grant to elderly or ASLURETI is being implemented at the district level. They also visited two ASLURETI beneficiaries for face-to-face discussion.  While the representatives from West Papua provinces learned about Aceh’s universal health coverage, Jaminan Kesehatan Aceh (JKA) at Zainal Abidin Hospital, which is funded through the Otsus money.

Recently, the Papua Government launched a universal child grant trial, BANGGA Papua, which two Australian-funded programs, KOMPAK and MAHKOTA, have helped design.