Blog Post by Sarah Eggert
After a wonderful introduction to the community of Kemijen on the first day upon arriving in Semarang, UNDIP and UHM students got right to work on day two. As the initial part of the vulnerability assessment, government officials were invited to share their expertise and knowledge about flooding in Kemijen in interviews with students.
Officials from several different government agencies from sectors such as environmental management, water management, spatial planning, health, and “polder banger” management, were very generous with their time and joined students at the same building where the 100 Resilient Cities office is located.
The morning was spent engaging in rich conversation and the exchanging of ideas about vulnerabilities facing Kemijen, as identified by government officials. After having researched Kemijen for months, the interviews answered many questions students had and were quite insightful.
As the morning ended and the stakeholder interviews were completed, UNDIP and UHM students quickly made their way to Kemijen to conduct three focus group discussions with community leaders. Kemijen’s community leaders had a warm welcome for the students and were very open with participating in the planned activities.
Led by the UNDIP students, a mapping exercise was completed and an informal but guided discussion took place over a three-hour period.
Flooding, environmental issues, the role of different institutions, and the polder banger were all themes woven throughout the discussion. Thanks to the openness and willingness of participants to engage, the focus group discussions were very informative.
As information about floods varied from RW to RW, students were looking forward to following up with the information shared as part of the household surveys in the community of Kemijen the following day.