The Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme is an ambitious 5-year, £24 million bilateral programme working with the Ministry of Forestry and a wide range of other stakeholders throughout Indonesia to ensure that the policy environment for forest management enables poor, forest-dependant communities to manage their own resources to provide improved, sustainable livelihoods. The main emphasis of the programme is to support changes that are already underway among civil society, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and in parallel, to help the government system to respond. Communications and information play a vital, central role throughout the programme.
To achieve its purpose, MFP will need to produce information and communicate directly with the key policy makers to convince them of the need for new policies, help produce information for, and strengthen the capacity of programme partners to influence the policy-makers, and produce information that empowers policy-makers to put improved policies into practice. The various stakeholders in the programme have different information needs. The MoF and DFID require programme management information about programme plans, progress and expenditure. Grant-holders require information about the grant mechanisms, and help to communicate the results of their projects. Other stakeholders require general information about the programme, about how to become a partner, about progress, and especially about what the programme has learned that can help them contribute to the programme purpose.
The programme has already undertaken many communication and information activities, and has started to establish internal and external communication systems, but is constrained by the complexity of the environment in which it works, the capacity of current staff to focus on communication and information activities, and weak internal communication and information systems. There are however many other networks involved in forest policy in Indonesia, through which the programme can amplify messages, and a bewildering array of information and communication service providers in Indonesia (albeit of variable quality) who could help.