Exclusion and Marginalization within Community Participation in Development

Hestu Prahara (Ekuator Foundation)


Since the introduction and implementation of community-driven development (CDD) paradigm on a large scale by World Bank in the late 1990s in Indonesia, social scientists play an important role in engineering communities to be fully integrated in development practices. Such effort implies a perspective that sees community as direct actors in development practices and therefore needed to be empowered. As a part of the social engineering process, the so-called ‘community empowerment project’ under the CDD paradigm was built using ‘monitoring instrument’ to ensure inclusive development planning, prevent elite capture, and promote internal audit capacities. The practice is characterized by the extensive use of bureaucratic instruments (e.g. paperwork, assessment forms, official stamps, program proposals/reports, financial report, etc.) at the community level that shapes its form of participations.Through this paper, I propose a discussion on how the framework of participatory is inevitably promotes various forms of exclusions and marginalization. The finding is based on my experience observing the implementation of ‘public consultation approach’ in PBDT 2015 (Pemutakhiran Basis Data Terpadu/ Unified Database Updating). Within the program, local stakeholders and board of trustees at kelurahan are requested to hold a meeting to verify the list of names that registered by the state as poor households in their neighborhood. The verification of such document is crucial since it will be used as a unified database to determine beneficiaries of several social assistance programs in Indonesia. Inevitably, the verification meeting was nuanced by dramatic tensions and debates about deservingness with various source of justification. In this paper I explore how the participatory scheme embraces the exercise of prejudice, ethnic sentiment, and moral references in determining hierarchy of deservingness at the community level.

Keywords: Community-driven development, participatory, exclusion, marginalization