AMAN Kaltim stands for Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, East Kalimantan Province. Nusantara is another name of Indonesia. In their profile, customary community refers to indigenous community or indigenous group of people who live in particular area for generations and maintain their traditional and cultural life.
AMAN Kaltim (AMAN East Kalimantan, or shortly as AMAN) was founded in 2011 and was initiated by indigenous people rights activists in East Kalimantan (Ms. Margaretha Seting, Abriyanto Amin, and some other local figures). AMAN Kaltim is a member of the National Alliance of AMAN. The National Alliance of AMAN formally was established in 2001 after some years of discussion, meeting, and conferences among the indigenous communities throughout the country. The founder of the AMAN Kaltim was part of the preparation of National AMAN establishment. Aside from AMAN Kaltim, there are other 32 provincial level alliances from AMAN from other provinces in Indonesia as members of the National Alliance.
As an organization at the provincial level, the management of AMAN Kaltim is independent, but they always communicate and coordinate with the National / Central AMAN. National AMAN shares information of the opportunities of program implementation, but in the project development, negotiation with donor, and implementation will be the responsibility of the local or provincial level is independent.
AMAN Kaltim is located in Samarinda, the Capital City of East Kalimantan Province with the program areas cover throughout the province, and even outside the province. Currently AMAN Kaltim is only able to reach 5 out of 10 districts in East Kalimantan Province. AMAN Kaltim is currently assisting 68 indigenous community groups in 5 districts, in East Kalimantan Province. The districts include: Kutai Kartanegara, Kutai Barat, Mahakam Hulu, Passer, and Kutai Timur Districts. The cultural roots of these indigenous peoples are indigenous in East Kalimantan i.e. Dayak (with several sub-ethnic), Kutai, Paser, Tana Tidung, etc.
The main activities carried out by AMAN Kaltim refer to the central AMAN activities, which include:
1. Advocacy on Human and Political Rights
a. Encouraging the policy changes in laws, regulations, and agreements to recognize and to protect the rights of indigenous people.
b. Provide assistance to local cases of the indigenous communities of AMAN members who experience conflicts over their customary rights
c. Encourage the political participation of the indigenous people.
2. Strengthening Organizations and Institutions: Strengthen organizational management and operational capacity and capacity of AMAN members and local cadres.
3. Community Service and Support
Mapping the area of living of indigenous people; strengthening community economics, conserving local cultures, developing education, developing indigenous people forestry programs, and other areas needed by indigenous people.
In the implementation at the provincial levels, the program may vary according to local conditions, but indigenous peoples' empowerment becomes a central point of activity. Currently AMAN Kaltim is working with The Asia Foundation to implement programs of indigenous people empowerment in 7 locations/villages in two provinces (East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan Provinces). The program aims to improve the capacity of indigenous people in the assisted areas in obtaining civil rights to improve their quality of life. Activities can be grouped into 3 group of activities:
1. Local policy advocacy through identification of problems faced by the indigenous people to be consulted with local government.
2. Economic empowerment of the indigenous people groups, through local resource management activities for women and youth groups. AMAN Kaltim accompanied the women groups to make handicrafts from rattan and pandanus leaves, and accompanying youth to plan the management of ecotourism in customary forest.
3. Revitalizing local culture. Accompanying indigenous groups to preserve local culture and apply in daily life.
AMAN Kaltim as the assisting NGO has limited capacity, while the objectives to be achieved are quite large.
They lack of capacity because they come from local communities with little experience in organizational management. AMAN Kaltim Executive Staff generally have sufficient formal education but the "stigma" from the community that putting the indigenous people as marginalized groups makes them feels less confident. AMAN Kaltim is managed based on the understanding and daily experience of the executive staffs and for the time being does not have a good foundation of organizational management.
Likewise, the financial management of AMAN Kaltim basically follows the financial systems developed by the donor organization. AMAN has 2 two finance staff (one is a university graduate from the Faculty of Economy, and the other one is still studying in a university. They have enough basic knowledge on financial management, but the feel they need to improve their capacity especially to manage, to plan and control the organization’s finance.