Laurel MacLaren


What Does Community-Driven Development Deliver? Lessons from a Balinese Village

November 13, 2013


Early this month, I boarded a bus to visit the Balinese village of Sobangan to see in action the impact from a decade of Community-Driven Development (CDD), an approach that delivers public funds directly to the village level and allows citizens to determine priorities for social services and economic development.


Beleaguered by Graft, Indonesians Shocked by High Court Corruption

October 9, 2013


Indonesia finds itself in a crisis of confidence this week after its Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested the chief justice of the Constitutional Court for allegedly accepting a bribe to fix the verdict of a local election dispute.


Indonesia Makes Strides in Budget Transparency Despite Political Patronage

January 30, 2013


Two new publications showing very different profiles of the quality of governance in Indonesia landed on my desk this week, prompting debate and consternation. The just-launched International Budget Partnership’s “2012 Open Budget Survey” painted an encouraging picture…


Indonesia’s Women Parliamentarians are Ready to Lead

April 25, 2012


A high-energy buzz filled the room as hundreds of women in fancy traditional dress from across the Indonesian archipelago chatted, laughed, and took photos with one another. Some 400 women legislators were gathered in this elegant ballroom on April 21…


Books Help Transform Indonesia’s Poorest Elementary Schools

April 27, 2011


A year ago, the Leuwiranji Elementary School in West Java was falling down. Located in a remote corner of the district of Bogor, the school’s 177 students come from poor families who are mostly employed in the sand-and-rock harvesting business that supplies a booming construction industry in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta.


[SLIDESHOW] Election Watch: Voters Take to the Polls in Indonesia

September 8, 2010


In 2010, an estimated 70 million Indonesians will vote in more than 250 local elections being held across the archipelago. For only the second time in the nation’s democratic history, citizens are now voting on a rolling basis for district-level executives. In a polling station located in a vacant storefront, two voters cast their votes in Bandung… Read more


Indonesia Stunned as Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Leaves to Join World Bank

May 12, 2010


Last week, Indonesia was stunned by the World Bank’s announcement that Indonesia’s Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani, has been appointed to one of the Bank’s most senior positions. Of immediate concern for investors in Indonesia is how the country will manage to retain the hard-won progress in economic reforms made under Mulyani’s leadership. More broa… Read more


From Indonesia: Survey Examines Decentralization’s Impact on Local Governance

February 10, 2010


The transformation of Indonesia’s political system in the past decade has included a radical overhaul of the country’s governance structure. What some have dubbed the “Big Bang,” responsible for decentralizing a range of public services to the country’s 500 plus regions, has made Indonesia one of the most decentralized countries in the world. Nine… Read more


What Progress is Indonesia Really Making to Improve Maternal Health?

April 1, 2009


A decade ago, when Indonesia launched an ambitious program to place a midwife in every one of Indonesia’s 70,000 villages, the country got international recognition for its bold programming move. But how quickly is Indonesia making progress on health, particularly as related to its commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG)… Read more