A Human-Centric Approach — A Year after the Palu Earthquake and Tsunami


Penabulu came to Palu on October 6 so, it was a week after the tsunami and earthquake, with 2 main activities. Firstly, to do a rapid assessment for market in response to the disaster, and secondly, to provide direct supports for survivors with temporary shelters, WAS (water and sanitation), and public facilities… and also DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction). In November, however, the circumstances changed. And since our resource was limited, we chose to work with only 4 villages, using our own approaches. Firstly, no matter what, we had to live in the community. Secondly, we encouraged them to attain self-sustenance, to be able to rebuild with their own capabilities and available resources. So we decided to pick 2 villages in Kulawi, which had always been rarely accessible from the beginning. And out of the 5 or 6 disaster affected villages there, we picked two… Tangkulowi and Boladangko Generally speaking, Tangkulowi, even without any disasters… is always isolated. In rainy seasons, there will surely be landslides, the mountain will collapse, and the roads will be cut off. Consequently, when we are isolated, the economy will also be crippled. We also decided to take another district: Dolo Selatan. In Jono and Wisolo villages. It was the first time we experienced that. I was standing here, and that field over there, which we have flattened back now, was shaken terribly, because the earthquake was so big, And I saw the ground become like sea waves. It really made that kind of wave. Really really horrible. And on the land next to my house, and many other places… new rivers were formed. No water however. Maybe they went underground. Every village was handled by one personnel, our CO (community organiser), who lived in among them. The initial steps we took were: we conducted the Need Assessments, we made the baseline data, and the area profiling. The profile was to map the area before and after the disaster. And lastly, most importantly too, was how to make population data to meet the national standard. Before this, our data were really awful. Every time somebody asked for the data, we would search and print… ugh terrible. Thank God somebody from Penabulu worked hard with us to recover this. Even myself, the Village Chief, didn’t know how to keep them in a file etc. But with the help of Hendrik’s and other young men, now we can use and send those files… (chuckles) This is very good. Everything’s clear. You can, say, find the poor families, etc. It even has coordinates. This is very easy. When I need to make changes, I can just update it. If somebody dies, I can just change it to deceased. (chuckles) We will use these data indefinitely. Apparently, that is what any village would need, what evacuation camps need. Any institutions need a valid data of the disaster affected population. Those data are not ours. We only helped the villages make their data properly… after the disaster. Our advantage over the affected population is we have the network. Then we entered the second phase. Since we were approaching the rehabilitation and reconstruction stage, permanent housing became a very important issue. From our previous experiences, we knew there would be too many interventions by the government. Self-sustainability had been established, and they didn’t need to get paid. To us, the most important thing is… that the people have the freedom to choose their own permanent houses. As a matter of fact, in Kulawi and Dolo Selatan, no wooden house was affected by the earthquake. So we decided to make 4 house models. And they took part in the process, including the planning, design, budgeting… up to the final modelling and design. Coincidentally, at the same time, BPBD (the Regional Disaster Management Agency) and PUPR (the Ministry of Public Work and Public Housing) also introduced their own house designs. This became a heated argument. In essence, the public refused (the government’s designs). In the end, the Regent let the public choose and build their own house designs. Given the two options, of course the people will take wood, because it is safer. Concrete has become something terrifying for us. It killed 4 people in our village. My house was even decided by the village board. They insisted the chief’s house to be built according to Penabulu’s design as a model. In the future, when the government gives us the fund they will all use this model. It is safer. In the second phase, we also found another interesting fact in Kulawi. Vanilla. It grows very well here and it has a good market value. So our first question was how to improve the farmers’ capacity. And now, after we made trainings on how to grow and cultivate vanilla properly, we also want to make Kulawi the vanilla cultivation centre for Central Sulawesi. With a national standard. On the third phase, agriculture. This one leans toward the economy recovery. A marketplace is what we all in Kulawi have always been longing for. So, when we learned about Penabulu’s plan to build it here, I myself and the farmers were really looking forward to it to happen. For soon they would have a place to sell their produce. On urban territory. There were a couple of issues… with the first one being located along the coast of Palu Bay. The mangrove issue. We planted around 30,000 mangrove seedlings, and we also built a mangrove nursery place there. We also trained groups of fishermen’s wives and families in 3 neighbouring villages We tried and involve the local young people. So we didn’t actually organise formal trainings with designated time and such. Instead, we all worked and learned together on the spot. We are also setting up a mangrove information centre now. as a learning centre for many. So, by the end of the program, next March there will be a mangrove coast area management run by the local people. This is also supported by DKP (the Office of Marine Affairs and Fisheries) To be honest, Palu never had a designated conservation area. because the original city development plan was intended to accommodate industries But now, Penabulu has empowered the local communities with mangrove cultivation. And in the future we can also collaborate with these communities, buy their seedlings… to rehabilitate other coasts. We also tried and get deeper into urban problems. The garbage issues. Around the subject of integrated waste management. We stepped in at 5 villages in the City of Palu and collaborated with the local government to record how much garbage the city had been producing daily. So at least they would have the basic requirements in waste management. When you want to know how much to be reduced, you’d need the right figures. They have helped us understand how much garbage we produce in the city, and how much we could and could not collect. So we can plan our future actions. Because what we aim for in 2020 is zero garbage collection. On district level, we built models on how to make people interested in learning that garbage has an economic value. So, by using waste bank model as the trigger we will also make the people on village levels manage their own hygiene. There are only two important matters here in Silae. How to turn them to become (the service) users as well as (the bank) customers. The residents of the village are obliged to pay IDR25,000 retribution for garbage collection, per household. While actually if they do their own garbage sorting, the amount is paid back to them as a (waste) bank customer. Why yes, we are now gambling with a short term project. This won’t be easy for the community who will run these things. They’ll have to be patient. It was tough to make them understand that. We never want to make their life any harder. Or make them dependent on us or other outsiders. On the other hand, we only know too well that they live and breathe mutual assistance and self sustenance in their everyday life. They are stronger, they really appreciate and are not ashamed of their own culture. The success of the Penabulu approach has been… they are not working for the people, they are working with the people. It was really an approach from the point of view of the people here that needs the help. So it was not an NGO saying I know what to do. Here’s what we’re going to do: A, B, C, D. No. It was a very human-centric approach.

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