M.R.P. Students Participate in Urban Social Forum in Indonesia
In December, CRP students Sarah Dougherty (M.R.P. '16), Adna Karabegovic (M.R.P. '16), and Anne Pease (M.R.P. '16) traveled to Surabaya, Indonesia to participate in the third annual Urban Social Forum (USF) conference, and conduct research for individual projects with residents in various areas of Java.
Aimed at promoting awareness of urban issues, improving understanding of current practices, and promoting collaboration, the USF is an annual event that provides an opportunity for participants to debate ideas, exchange experiences and knowledge, and meet and network with other leaders and organizations working on pressing urban issues throughout Indonesia.
"We saw the new leaders of social change at the USF," says Pease. "It's not the same generation as the people who had to take to the streets to advocate for change — these are young people, academics, and government officials collaborating to share ideas. We heard people talking about using new technology to improve waste collection, urban activists encouraging bike commuting, and gender advocates discussing targeted strategies to increase female participation."
Dougherty and Karabegovic were part of the participatory budgeting panel, where they presented "The Advocacy Planning Guide," a project originally created for the International Development Planning workshop. The presentation focused on the opportunities that exist within Indonesia for collaborative planning.
After attending the conference, Dougherty traveled along the coast to Semarang, and then to Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta in central Java to conduct research for her exit project, which focuses on gender dimensions in local climate change processes. The project furthers research begun over the summer with Yayasan Kota Kita (YKK), an Indonesian NGO founded by John Taylor.
Pease and Karabegovic went to Solo and presented findings from previous workshops to community leaders. Their report included key findings regarding security and shelter, sanitation, and community participation. The pair also conducted new research as they interviewed leaders in the communities that they worked in previously to gain a better understanding of the participatory budgeting process, a process known as musrenbang. During the upcoming semester, Pease and Karabegovic are pursuing an independent project in collaboration with YKK that examines the participatory budgeting process in Solo. They hope their findings will aid the City of Surakarta as well as civil society organizations in making the musrenbang process more efficient.
Funding for the trip was partially provided by the Cornell Southeast Asia Program.
—By Rebecca Bowes