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CIRCLE Indonesia: A Brief History and Behind the Logo

Entering its 12th year of operation, CIRCLE Indonesia reflects on how it came into being and what was behind its logo.

The establishment of CIRCLE Indonesia dates back to the series of discussions initiated by Yohanes da Masenus Arus, Sabastian Saragih and the late Retno Winahyu in April 2005 on how they could continue to develop and share knwoldege and skills that they have acquired from Oxfam GB after they were no longer part of the organisation.

The discussions revolved around on how Rights-based and Fair Trade approaches to development could be integrated with the existing capacities on project management in the context of civil society development in Indonesia.

Soon the idea evolved into the desire to institutionalise those approaches and capacities. Further discussions were led by Rizal Malik, the former Country Representative of Oxfam GB office in Indonesia during 1998-2002, who sparked the initial idea into a collective one that involved other several former Oxfam GB Indonesia employees. It continued to roll until 20 other former staff of Oxfam GB joined the bandwagon. Ideas also came up for the establishment of a forum that would maintain ties and good relationships between these former Oxfam GB staff members.  It was finally agreed unanimously to establish a cooperative.

Why A Cooperative?

A cooperative was chosen since this kind of institution believes in the principles of justice and good democracy. Cooperatives strengthen kinship and demonstrate continuous social commitment to its environment.  A cooperative aims at not only accummulating capital and profit but also ensuring collective well being.

After agreeing the type of organisation, the next step was finding the name and logo.

CIRCLE Indonesia was unanimously selected to become the name of the organisation. CIRCLE represents the main idea for having a forum for members to share ideas and learnings both from individual as well as collective experience of working in non-government organisations. The founders expected that CIRCLE Indonesia can serve as a specific circle of holistic thinking and development of civil society in Indonesia. A circle also represents the ties and kinship that all hopes to maintain both in good and bad times.

CIRCLE Indonesia’s logo was later designed by Reina Asmedi, one of CIRCLE Indonesia’s members, based on the input and insights from other members. Red and blue were chosen as they represent the nature and characteristics of CIRCLE Indonesia’s members. Red represents the courage, source of energy, strength, spirit, and passion to be in action and signifies joy. Blue is meant to give a balance and signifies stability, intelligence, and confidence.

The C letter in red signifies that the members of CIRCLE Indonesia Cooperative are professionals with valor, energy, and passion in their work. Meanwhile, the blue globe within the letter C represents CIRCLE Indonesia’s vision and hope of being able to outreach globally.

The meeting for the establishment of CIRCLE Indonesia Cooperative was held at the late Retno Winahyu’s place of residence on 26 February 2006. The signing of the legal notarial deed on the establishment of the Koperasi Pengembangan Sumberdaya Masyarakat Sipil Indonesia “CIRCLE Indonesia” was done before the notary, Sutrisno, S.H., at his office on 26 May 2006 in the presence of three founders, namely the late Retno Winahyu, Yohanes da Masenus Arus and Theresia Wuryantari, who represented other 18 founders.



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