After years abroad studying south and southeast asian economy and politics, coming back home was the right step in my drive to deepen my knowledge of Indonesian political economy and its public policy realm.
As I aspire to become a public policy analyst/researcher, the Emerging Policy Leaders Program (EPLP) offered by Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) has drawn my attention since my last year of university.
After months of waiting for the EPLP application to open, it was with great relief and gratitude that I received the offer to be a part of the program. The EPLP batch 2022 was filled with brilliant people from various backgrounds, indicating the intellectually rigorous journey we would undertake in this program.
The first week saw the EPLP team receiving training to acquire vast knowledge in a short amount of time through the event management of T20’s Task Force 4. The opportunity to have hands-on experience in familiarizing ourselves with agriculture-related topics has accelerated our learning progress.
Moreover, the tasks assigned by senior researchers required our active participation and direct involvement in the research processes, including interviewing experts, collecting primary data, and pitching ideas.
The training has also equipped the EPLP team with not just theoretical, but also practical skills, with assignments following every session giving us the opportunity to implement what we have learned. The training, ranging from statistics to policy advocacy was very well-structured according to the development of the complexity of our tasks.
One of the projects that impacted me the most was the Sustainable Landscape Management Project, a collaboration with the World Bank for the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs. The project taught me a lot about collaboration and strategic communication skills.
Working with other parties to produce recommendations for the government on national strategies, effective communication, and understanding was crucial. Not only to deliver our recommendations but also to ensure we can accommodate what the client wants and really help alleviate the challenges they faced.
In addition, being given the opportunity to write an Op-Ed piece was really one of the highlights of my EPLP experience. After months of learning about Indonesia’s agriculture and trade policy, and training in the essential skills needed as a policy researcher, I could finally put my knowledge into practice, voice my opinion on a certain policy, and exercise my public policy analysis skills.
In my Op-Ed, I analyzed how Indonesia’s policy interventions to try to stabilize the price of cooking oil and address supply imbalances in crude palm oil (CPO) have created more problems than they solved and failed to allocate resources for optimal use in the economy.
To redress the imbalance, the palm oil value chain requires more than just trade instruments but also agricultural and tenurial policy, fiscal tools, social assistance, and logistics and infrastructure.
Other than the lessons on public policy analysis, the most significant experience is the amount of support I received from the team which has been a tremendous help throughout my journey as an EPLP. Thank my fellow EPLP teammates, senior researchers, and all colleagues at CIPS who always have each other's back, supporting one another in this journey of learning and growing. Indeed, the best support system.