Imbun, Ben (2009). "Assessing human resource development needs to empower an indigenous group of people: The case of Papuans in Indonesia. " Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.
The Indonesian province of Papua has a chequered political history. The significant events that profoundly shaped the province had been mostly products of external powers which had scrambled to control its resource abundant land and its people. Up until late 1969, Papua was a colony of the Dutch and controversially became a province of Indonesia thereafter. Despite the province of Papua generating significant revenue to the Indonesian government coffers from its vast natural resources, the indigenous Papuans have largely remained subsistence farmers and poverty stricken all their lives. Almost all human development indicators put the Papuans at the lowest level relative to other provinces of Indonesia. This picture is beginning to get some attention after some political administrative changes were made, to the Indonesian political system in the 1990s, with the passing of a special autonomy law for the province. One of the achievements had been the election of an indigenous Papuan as the governor of Papua. Amongst other endeavours to empower the people of Papua, particularly the indigenous Papuans, the governor has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the province’s human resource development (HRD) opportunities. This paper discusses a rapid assessment of HRD in Papua in light of the governor’s development goals and programs as a way forward to understanding the critical human resource issues and identification critical areas for intervention by the government. The paper does this in the context of general discussion of the socio-economic contentions of the province and assessing ongoing/current relevant HRD activities and policies. Consequent of the analysis, gaps, challenges, problems and priorities are identified and suggestions for intervention made.