Indonesia Young Leaders Programme


INSPIRASI is a capacity building programme for emerging young civil society leaders from East Indonesia. Each year, ten participants are selected to further develop their knowledge, skills and confidence so they can enhance their contribution to the sustainable development of their community and the wider East Indonesia region.

The programme offers young leaders the opportunity to explore new ideas and approaches to sustainable development both in East Indonesia and New Zealand, inspiring them to think creatively about the challenges in their own communities. Participants follow a group programme and work together on an inclusive, cross-ethnic and cross-religious basis. Each young leader will explore a specific development challenge affecting their community, develop and refine a research question on this topic, and prepare a proposal for a participatory action project to address the challenge.

INSPIRASI is funded by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of its International Development Cooperation programme in Indonesia.  The programme is managed and run by UnionAID in collaboration with Bursa Pengetahuan Kawasan Timur Indonesia (BaKTI) and Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Applications For INSPIRASI are NOW CLOSED FOR 2024

Programme Content

Sustainable Development Course

The Sustainable Development Course (SDC) will be delivered in two parts. SDC Part 1 is a part-time online course of approximately 150 hours delivered in Indonesia, commencing in June.

Online learning is complemented by a two-week in-person residential workshop held in Indonesia during SDC Part 1 for participants to meet their peers and teaching team, and to learn intensively. SDC Part 2 is a full-time, in-person course of approximately 12 weeks which takes place in New Zealand, commencing in September.

The Sustainable Development Course will enable participants to:

  • explore the principles and practice of sustainable development in East Indonesia and New Zealand
  • apply systems thinking to understand complex development challenges
  • develop research skills, including participatory approaches, and apply these to gain a deeper understanding of a specific development challenge
  • understand how to achieve development goals through a range of approaches
  • apply learning on cross-cutting issues including human rights, gender and social inclusion, and environmental impact
  • build the skills required to develop and manage a project, including proposal writing, project management and MERLA (monitoring, evaluation, research, learning and adaptation)
  • improve their proficiency in English for professional and academic purposes

SDC Part 2 in New Zealand will include:

  • exposure to a range of New Zealand institutions, policies and practices that are relevant to sustainable development, such as human rights, democratic processes, and community development, through classroom learning and field trips
  • visits to government and non-government organisations, such as community development organisations, the Human Rights Commission and Parliament
  • Māori approaches to development, introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi and the opportunity to stay on a marae (traditional Māori meeting ground)
  • leadership skills workshops, such as organisational management and campaign skills
  • a schedule of visits with organisations addressing similar issues to participants’ development challenges, either individually or in small groups
  • a multi-day young leaders conference to share learning and exchange ideas with young leaders from the Mindanao (Southern Philippines) Young Leaders Programme

English for Development course

INSPIRASI participants develop their English language proficiency for professional and academic purposes through the English for Development course (EDC). The EDC runs alongside the Sustainable Development Course, commencing online and continuing in New Zealand.

The course supports participation in the SDC by teaching:

  • language specific to sustainable development
  • formal English suitable for a professional context
  • oral and written communications skills
  • writing for research reports and funding proposals
  • study skills for more effective language learning

The online component of the English for Development course requires a total of approximately 40 hours: 20 hours of online workshops and 20 hours self-study.

For applicants whose level of English does not meet the selection criteria, there may be additional in-country English language support available prior to departure for New Zealand.

Action project implementation – East Indonesia

Participants manage a small action project in their communities, which is funded subject to meeting certain criteria. The action project provides participants the chance to apply learning from the programme to address a specific development challenge in their community.

The action project is in two phases: phase 1 (community consultation and scoping), and phase 2 (implementation). Both these phases take place after SDC Part 2 once participants return to Indonesia. Participants will receive coaching and ongoing support from UnionAID, BaKTI and alumni throughout this process.

Who can apply for the INSPIRASI Programme?

  • be aged 20-30 years 
  • be working for a community-based organisation or NGO such as a women’s organisation, labour union or environmental group in Eastern Indonesia 
  • intend to continue working for your organisation for a minimum of one year after completing the programme 
  • have support to participate in the programme from the organisation you represent or work for, including flexibility to attend online study sessions during office hours, and to take leave from work for 12 weeks to participate in the programme in New Zealand 
  • have English language proficiency equivalent to ≥4.5 IELTS or > TOEFL 32-34. This level is necessary to ensure that the participants will get value from the programme, particularly the Sustainable Development Course. Note: you are not required to sit an IELTS or TOEFL test, but an English language test will be administered at the interview stage 
  • Be available to participate in a full-time residential of 2-4 weeks 
  • Not be enrolled in any other full-time courses of study or a similar scholarship/fellowship during the Sustainable Development Course (SDC) 
  • Talk to UnionAID before enrolling in any other part-time courses during the SDC 
  • hold or be able to obtain a passport issued by the Government of Indonesia valid until 30 June 2025 




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