Australia Awards in Indonesia

The Australia Awards are prestigious, transformational scholarships and short courses offered to emerging leaders for study, research and professional development in Australia

20 Mar 2024

Adhi Rachman Prana's Journey in Advancing Disability Rights and Empowering Changes

Adhi Rachman Prana has long been passionate about advocating for disability rights. Currently a Young Expert Planner (Perencana Muda) at the Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), he dedicates himself to integrating disability considerations into policymaking.

Driven by his commitment, Adhi pursued Development Studies at Melbourne University to deepen his understanding through global practices and real-life experiences.

"I aimed to explore how various stakeholders, including government bodies and civil society, influence development policies," Adhi shared.

During his studies, Adhi encountered unique aspects of the Australian education system, such as the option to forego writing a thesis. Opting for coursework provided him with the flexibility to select classes aligned with his interests, including "Disability and International Development," which allowed him to delve deeply into disability issues.

Transformative Coursework: A Catalyst for Change

The coursework Adhi undertook proved pivotal in his journey, transcending mere academic requirements to become a catalyst for exploration of his profound interest in disability issues. Enrolling in the Disability and International Development course provided Adi with an opportunity to closely examine the complex intersection of disability rights, inclusion, and global development. Through it, he gained profound insights into the formidable challenges faced by individuals with disabilities worldwide.  

“I’m grateful for the experience because it equipped me with invaluable approaches to crafting disability policies across various sectors: workforce, healthcare, education, and social protection," Adhi remarked.

This newfound interest in disability issues significantly shifted Adhi’s perspective. Previously focused on employment sector policies at the Ministry of National Development Planning, he now recognises the importance of inclusive policies for disabled workers.

Observing limited discourse concerning the needs of disabled workers in macro-level development efforts, Adhi realised the necessity for change. Empowered by his coursework, he returned to Indonesia with a determination to advocate for inclusive policies.

“The timing was just right. When I came back from Australia, I got promoted from my previous role to Young Expert Planner at The Directorate for Poverty Alleviation and Community Empowerment where disability and vulnerable groups’ policies are part of my responsibilities. I told them about my desire to shift my focus towards disability issues, and they approved it," Adhi shared with excitement.

Contributions to Advancing Disability Rights and Social Inclusion

Following the enactment of Law No. 8 of 2016 on Persons with Disabilities, Adhi assumed a pivotal role in championing the rights of individuals with disabilities. Leading a dedicated team, he oversaw the ongoing implementation across various ministries and institutions, as mandated by the National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities (Rencana Aksi Nasional untuk Penyandang Disabilitas), specified in the Minister of National Development Planning Regulation No. 3/2021.

In collaboration with disability organisations, Adhi spearheaded diverse programs aimed at enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The introduction of the National Action Plan marked a significant stride forward, establishing a systematic approach to address the multifaceted needs of people with disabilities, particularly in development planning.

"This represents a pivotal step towards actualising inclusive policies at both the national and sub-national levels, where regulations were previously lacking. Through this formulation, we aspire to lay the groundwork for regional authorities to execute disability-related programs," Adhi said.

In addition to promoting disability inclusion, Adhi has played a crucial role in shaping policies for other vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly, through the National Policy for Older Population. To support this initiative, Adhi’s team developed the SILANI (Sistem Informasi Lanjut Usia) Digital Platform, initially launched in Bali and Yogyakarta. This platform enables seamless access to elderly care assistance, connecting individuals with local caregivers and facilities.

SILANI’s excellence was recognised with the Best Smart Care Technology award at the 11th Asia-Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2023 in Singapore, affirming its impact on improving elderly care services across the region.

Building on his masters studies, Adhi aims to pursue a doctoral degree in Australia with a research focus on disability policy. As an Australia Awards scholar, he is poised to embark on his PhD journey in 2024.

"My passion for this cause runs deep, and in the future, armed with advanced skills, I envision myself becoming a leader in the public sector. My goal is to ensure that the development policies I implement are precisely tailored to address the most pressing needs." Adhi expressed.

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