Project MURIA: Empowering Youth Communities for Urban Resilience and Livelihood Enhancement

Project MURIA: Empowering Youth Communities for Urban Resilience and Livelihood Enhancement

Across various slums in Indonesia, inhabitants’ resilience consistently stands out. Dwellers of these slums face multiple hardships in their everyday lives, encompassing modest incomes, confined living conditions in hazardous zones like flood-prone areas, and limited accessibility to vital services such as clean water, sanitation, transportation, and waste management. 

Marunda is a sub-district in the Cilincing district of North Jakarta, located in a flood-prone coastal area that encompasses a slum environment. Its 23,000 residents find themselves under chronic stresses of the coastal flooding and squeezed in the presence of a heavy industrial port zone, ongoing property developments, and the adjoining sea. The coastal flooding situation worsens during the rainy season as intense rainfall triggers more severe flooding. Alarming rates of land subsidence exacerbate all of these problems.

Houses in slum area of Marunda (MURIA, 2015)

The most vulnerable families live in extreme poverty near the coast and rivers. Around 38% of Marunda’s sub-villages had household incomes of less than 30,000 Rupiah per day (Kompas, 2023). Due to insufficient demand from adjacent villages and inadequate educational credentials, many of Marunda’s residents need help generating income. As a result, their incomes rarely meet their necessities, forcing many to borrow from numerous illegal financial sources. Furthermore, Marunda has long-term residents and newly arrived groups known as the ‘flat community.’ These households were evicted from their original settlements in Jakarta, generally near rivers and other attractions, and relocated to larger social housing complexes. The apartments they currently live in are more pleasant, but many need help paying the rent and are shut off from where they formerly worked. Many residents in Marunda cannot advocate for their rights since they cannot engage in and contribute meaningfully to city development plans.

To tackle this issue, The Marunda Urban Resilience in Action (MURIA) initiative, initiated by Cordaid and Karina Yogyakarta in August 2015, has effectively introduced the MURIA multi-stakeholder platform in Marunda, North Jakarta, and provided viable pathways for the development of the urban poor. The effectiveness of the MURIA multi-stakeholder platform in advancing Marunda’s progress, particularly in enhancing the economic prospects of the marginalized urban community in the Marunda Sub-district, has been substantiated. When the community, government, non-profit organizations, and private sector in Marunda collaborate to establish a multi-stakeholder platform, it enables comprehensive discussions and prioritization of the challenges and solutions in Marunda. This approach leads to formulating and implementing development plans in Marunda that are resilient to risks and benefit all stakeholders. This entails involving the local residents, including women, youth, other groups, and local organizations, in risk assessment and planning to ensure alignment with their capacities and requirements. 

The project then extends its reach to engage with other stakeholders to build the platform. Focused on livelihood improvement, sanitation, waste management, rainwater harvesting, and disaster preparedness, this project represents the collaborative effort of all engaged stakeholders in crafting the initial solution and project to sustain community engagement.

The establishment of the MURIA multi-stakeholder platform aimed to forge a collective agenda for Marunda’s development, providing a platform for members to cooperate and implement programs that enhance urban resilience. Given the diverse risks and challenges inherent to Marunda, the MURIA Platform serves as a space for productive discussions and intelligent solutions to address the community’s intricate issues and barriers.

Nurturing Resilience through Citizen Mapping on OpenStreetMap and Ushahidi

To accomplish the goals of the MURIA project, this collaboration involved the active participation of Perkumpulan OpenStreetMap Indonesia (POI). During October and November 2015, POI conducted training sessions and workshops in RW 07 (or Neighborhood unit in English; RW is Indonesia’s second lowest administrative unit), focusing on disaster preparedness efforts through maps. Specifically, Ushahidi training was conducted to utilize the Ushahidi platform as a space for community members to share stories and information related to disasters in the Marunda Sub-district, particularly RW 07, which serves as the site for the MURIA pilot project.

Public facilities of RW 07 Marunda in OpenStreetMap before (right) and after training (OpenStreetMap Contributors, 2015)

In 2016, the MURIA project secured one-year financial support from the Ford Foundation, building upon the previous efforts. This funding aimed to strengthen urban resilience in Marunda through the platform, concentrating on benefitting 805 households in RW 10 and RW 07 while involving ten government agencies, 25 government personnel, and five new private sector entities and NGOs. RW 10 and RW 07 were chosen due to their high population density within the Marunda Sub-district, forming strong community foundations. This phase emphasized community empowerment through Participatory Disaster Risk Appraisal (PDRA), Participatory Urban Neighborhood Appraisal (PUNA), and Participatory Research to identify risks and challenges. The MURIA platform served as a platform for discussing and developing solutions towards enhancing resilience and reducing poverty in Marunda.
POI continued its involvement in this project by providing training and mapping assistance for disaster-prone areas using the Ushahidi and Drupal platforms. The training spanned three days, with two dedicated to Ushahidi training, covering topics like the Ushahidi website’s primary interface and functionalities, report creation, platform administration, smartphone usage, and designing and assessing reporting forms. A separate day was dedicated to Drupal training, conducted on August 2, 2016. This segment encompassed activities such as QGIS installation, digitization of flood-prone areas on QGIS, and cartography for map creation on Drupal. As a culmination of the training, the Disaster Preparedness Map of RW 07 Marunda was created and made accessible at https://openstreetmap.id/marunda/.

Ushahidi training activity in August 2016

In 2017, POI extended its engagement in this project by delivering training and aiding in mapping efforts for RW 07 and RW 10 inhabitants. These two areas were selected because they were the most densely populated sections within the Marunda Sub-district. From August 21 to 23, 2017, an intensive OpenStreetMap (OSM) training initiative focused on enhancing the accuracy and accessibility of crucial public facility locations within RW 10. The training spanned across three days, each dedicated to specific skill sets. The first day, August 21, was dedicated to instructing participants on adding data to OpenStreetMap using the iD Editor and JOSM. The following day, August 22, centered on field surveying techniques, imparting knowledge on utilizing GPS handheld devices alongside the OSMTracker smartphone application. Participants gained insights into effectively gathering on-ground information. The culmination of the training occurred on August 23, delving into field paper training and the process of downloading OSM data. This final session aimed to ensure the sustained quality of OSM data, focusing on preserving and enhancing data precision through rigorous field surveys using field paper methodologies.

A subsequent training session took place on September 5-6, 2017, primarily focusing on providing Ushahidi administrator training. The training spanned two days and covered various aspects of Ushahidi utilization. On September 5, participants were introduced to the tools within the Ushahidi platform and the specific Ushahidi MURIA (https://openstreetmap.id/muria/) created in the preceding training session. The activities on this day included delving into category settings and creating report forms. The following day, September 6, was dedicated to training participants in report creation on the Ushahidi platform. This training aimed to equip participants with the skills needed to utilize Ushahidi for data collection and management effectively.

Public facilities that were surveyed on training and mapping activities in September 2017

According to the report dated 31 December 2017, the MURIA platform successfully created a financial support mechanism through 15 community-managed organizations from 14 waste banks. This achievement paved the way for establishing joint business ventures for savings and loans and a daily savings and loans tool, attracting 341 customers. A preparedness team comprising 63 members, including Marunda’s youth, was formed. Creating a digital preparedness map and a digital map were also accomplished, encouraging 394 individuals to embark on farming endeavors, some of whom have already commenced their agricultural enterprises. Furthermore, this progress captured the attention of the Jakarta government. The commitment to sustaining collaboration with the MURIA platform remains intact, aimed at supporting and facilitating participatory mapping in new areas and providing OpenStreetMap services for these fresh territories.

MURIA’s Extension to RW 07 Jatisari for Sustainable Livelihoods and Resilience Enhancement

Having accomplished successful initiatives in the previous locations of RW 07 and RW 10 within the Marunda Sub-district, the MURIA project extended its endeavors to new regions, specifically focusing on RW 07 of Jatisari Sub-district in Bekasi. The choice of RW 07 Jatisari was strategic, aligning with its solid foundation of family-based community structure, which harmonized well with the project’s ongoing objectives. During this phase, POI again played an integral role, facilitating mapping and journalism training for the local community of RW 07 Jatisari over three months.

The timeline of training activities unfolded as follows: An RW 07 Jatisari region was assessed in September 2019, followed by participatory mapping training on OpenStreetMap (OSM). In the following month, October 2019, local individuals received journalism instruction, which was quickly followed by a journalism competition. In addition, training sessions on Ushahidi usage and subsequent reporting were held in the same month, October 2019. The Ushahidi MURIA updates were published in November 2019, simultaneously announcing the journalism competition winners. This sequence of works culminated in November 2019 with the completion of the RW 07 Jatisari mapping procedure.

Printed Map of RW 07 Jatisari

This comprehensive project achieved a multifaceted array of objectives. It successfully established sustainable livelihood practices for the community of RW 07 Jatisari, consequently generating increased business prospects. The project also enhanced flood contingency strategies and early warning systems to mitigate disaster risks and minimize the impact on livelihoods, assets, and resources through the map. Additionally, the initiative seamlessly integrated risk management strategies into developing urban livelihoods at both provincial and national levels, effectively aligning with broader urban policy directives.

The Transformative Journey of the MURIA Project

In summary, the journey of the Marunda Urban Resilience in Action (MURIA) project has been marked by collaborative efforts, proactive initiatives, and a dedication to enhancing the livelihoods and resilience of urban communities in vulnerable areas. Through partnerships with organizations like Perkumpulan OpenStreetMap Indonesia (POI) and leveraging open-source platforms like OpenStreetMap and Ushahidi, the project effectively harnessed the power of technology and community engagement to address challenges such as poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change. The project’s evolution from mapping and training in RW 07 and RW 10 to its expansion into RW 07 Jatisari showcases a commitment to sustainable development and community empowerment. MURIA successfully equipped communities with the tools to build their resilience against disasters, promote economic growth, and foster knowledge through facilitating training sessions and participatory mapping. As a result, MURIA stands as a testament to the positive outcomes that can be achieved when multiple stakeholders collaborate towards a common goal, creating lasting impacts on the lives of those living in urban slums and underserved areas.

Read another article about Project MURIA in Bahasa Indonesia here.

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