Building a dojo for changemakers: the journey

Those of us who want to encourage change have hopes for a better Indonesia, and one of the ways to make this happen is through civil society organizations (CSOs) that can create balance in the country.

According to the SMERU database, currently there are 1,648 CSOs in Indonesia1 in various fields, and all of them have the same demands: to be successful in bringing change and to be able to become a more sustainable organization without depending on donors. Both of these things can be achieved through effective communication to gather support, both from the community and from other organizations.

However, effective communication is hampered by many things. Starting from lack of skills, limited funds, to undermining the communications department in the organization. So we built Suluh Penggugah as a dojo for activists to learn to kickstart their movements, communicate better, and bring about change effectively. We received support from the Ford Foundation in this activity.

Suluh Penggugah will also accommodate a community of CSO communication teams who will work together to continue to hone themselves in increasing the effectiveness of social change communication in Indonesia.
Suluh Penggugah was opened by inviting CSOs throughout Indonesia
We opened the registration session by sending scholarship invitations to the entire Ford Foundation grant recipient network. From this invitation, participants can register independently without direction from the organization. We selected 65 scholarship recipients from the Ford Foundation to take part in this training.

Aside from that, we also provide space for CSOs who are not Ford Foundation grant recipients to obtain scholarships. At this stage we had 51 applicants, and 11 of them were selected to receive scholarships and join Suluh Penggugah. A total of 76 participants took part in this program. Due to the high level of enthusiasm, we divided the first batch of Suluh Penggugah into two training groups to make the teaching and learning process more effective.
Onboarding classes are carried out to prepare participants to face class challenges
Setiap organisasi yang mengikuti Suluh Penggugah memiliki latar belakang yang berbeda, dan salah satu tugas terpenting dari Suluh Penggugah adalah memastikan mereka semua berdiri secara sejajar serta membangun rasa kebersamaan antar peserta. Hal ini dicapai melalui sesi kelas onboarding yang dilaksanakan secara bersama oleh Yayasan Bahana dan Roemah Inspirit (Roemi). Banyaknya peserta yang bergabung di Suluh Penggugah membuat sesi onboarding ini dibagi menjadi 2 sesi: pertama pada 11-14 Juli 2023 dan kedua pada 1 - 4 Agustus 2023.

Pada pelaksanaan sesi onboarding, Bahana dan Roemi menggunakan spesialisasi masing-masing untuk memberikan pembekalan kepada para peserta. Roemi memberikan sesi yang membangun ikatan peserta melalui berbagai aktivitas team building. Para peserta dibagi dalam kelompok-kelompok kecil yang menghubungkan antar sesama staf komunikasi dari organisasi yang berbeda dan banyak yang sebelumnya tidak saling kenal.
Suluh Penggugah participants discuss in groups to work on case studies in class.
After attending the session with Roemi, the participants attended a session with Bahana who provided capacity building which included two things: effective and inclusive ways of brainstorming ideas, and writing effective messages to gather support.

Brainstorming classes encourage participants to use new methods other than brainstorming to gather ideas in groups. Participants who have been divided into their respective groups can immediately practice the methods taught with example cases.

Meanwhile, the message writing class provides provisions for participants to build communication with various different targets. Participants are taught how to identify targets, find “touch points” to move them, and encourage the recipients of the message to create action according to the creator's call to action.

At the end of the day, Roemi held a sharing session, where participants could share the things they wanted to know more about or their daily reflections. This session provided participants with not only a one-way lecture, but they also got to say what they wanted. In this session, participants showed that they were very interested in learning further and deepening their knowledge.

One participant wrote a daily post-class reflection
Some of participant testimonials
Sesi onboarding saat ini sedang dilanjutkan dengan kelas daring mandiri
After building the foundation in the onboarding session, participants are encouraged to continue their classes through an independent online class session on the Suluh Penggugah website: This session has four classes that can be followed; they are required to choose at least one of them. Apart from that, there is one additional class for participants who want to sharpen their skills. These classes are:

Effective Presentations
In driving change, CSO staff must be able to create and deliver effective presentations, either at internal meetings or to external parties. This class teaches participants why presentations are ineffective, how to avoid it, and how to create presentations that can ignite the audience.

Data Speaks Through Stories
In advocating for change, CSOs usually convey data as indicators of problems. However, data often fails to convince stakeholders, because the delivery is unclear and the flow is difficult to follow. In this class, participants learn why the results of data analysis should be packaged like a story, whether later presented through a presentation or infographic.

Creating Stories of Change
Stories of Change are one of the things that CSOs professionals tend to misunderstand. This misunderstanding can be detrimental to the organization, especially if it is considered just a “reporting task.” So in this class, we dissected the definition and purpose of stories of change and why donors often request these stories.

Writing is Difficult, But…
One of the main jobs often done by CSO staff is writing. This class aims to provide participants with the basics of expository writing to help them write more easily and effectively.

This online class is not only carried out by watching video recordings of lessons, but also assignments sent via email correspondence. Apart from that, every week participants have the opportunity to take part in online classes to discuss with the teacher in their class and get direct input.
Screenshot of the class on the site
Apart from that, Roemi's companions will guide participants to overcome the difficulties they experience during the learning process. This assistance is provided in WhatsApp groups and online discussion sessions.

After these series of classes, graduating participants are expected to have the ability to convey messages and convince their audience, both orally and in writing.
Coming back together and next steps
After the independent online class session, successful participants will take part in the next face-to-face session to learn more in-depth public communication skills. The material is as follows:

Social Change Campaigns
This class will discuss aspects of public campaigns to bring about change, both in terms of behavior of community groups or public policy. Participants will be encouraged to view the campaign comprehensively and understand when and how they can use the skills they acquired in previous online classes.

Nonprofit Brand Building Participants
will learn how to position CSOs like a brand and build public perception of their organization. This class will also show how successful examples of commercial brands can be applied to the process of building a nonprofit brand.

At the end of the learning process, participants will be asked to make a campaign proposal as a final assignment. The final assignment will be assessed, and this assessment is combined with observations during the learning process to find the best participants. They will have the opportunity to obtain grants to carry out communications activities for their organizations.

After all these processes end, Suluh Penggugah alumni will be invited to become part of a larger community of social change practitioners. Participants will continue to be invited to participate in alumni activities, where they can connect with peers and find individuals who can help them, or who they can help.