Master of Urban and Regional Planning Diponegoro University (MPWK UNDIP) collaborates with Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) to conduct a field training activity aimed at facilitating and developing the knowledge and skills of students in flood risk management. This activity took place from 4 – 13 July 2023, in the northern region of Pekalongan City. The field training is the second phase following the success of the first phase activities of DECAF conducted on the earlier month, from 2 May to 6 June.
Developing the Capacity of Student Scientist for Supporting Disadvantaged Communities to Cope with Flooding (DECAF) itself is a collaborative effort between VUW and MPWK UNDIP, with a support from the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN-GCR). Several universities in Asia the Pacific are also participating in this project, including Education University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), University of Nottingham Ningbo (China), Clemson University (USA), Spring University (Myanmar), and Inisiatif Kota untuk Perubahan Iklim (IKUPI).
Out of more than 200 registered participants from various regions in Indonesia during the first phase, 18 participants from different disciplines were selected to participate in the 10 full day field training. Most of them are from UNDIP, and two are from UGM, both at the master’s and undergraduate levels, affiliated to five disciplines: Urban and Regional Planning, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Remote Sensing, and Disaster Management.
In completing this second phase, each participant was required to go through four training modules: MODULE 1 on water quality assessment, MODULE 2 on exposure assessment, MODULE 3 on vulnerability assessment, and MODULE 4 on adaptation planning. These modules were further reinforced with co-design activities to refine the modules before implementation, including inputs from the Public Works, Water Resources, and Spatial Planning Agency (PUSDATARU) of Central Java Province and the Regional Planning and Development Agency (BAPPEDA) of Pekalongan City as part of government partners of DECAF.
Dr. Alex Lo, the Program Coordinator of the Master Climate Change Science and Policy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and Rukuh Setiadi, Ph.D., a lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) at UNDIP, coordinated this program. Rukuh said, “During the fieldworks, the participating students conducted water quality tests on the city’s water supply (PDAM), community-based drinking water supply (PAMSIMAS), and other drinking water sources such as shallow wells, including water inundation surrounding areas housing and rainwater reservoirs.”
Furthermore, the students performed exposure assessments to determine the severity of floods. During the fieldwork, they were trained to conduct direct measurements, observations, and interviews to assess the impact of floods on physical structures. Vulnerability assessments were also carried out to understand the attitudes and capacities of the affected communities regarding floods. Finally, the students developed flood management plan documents based on data from MODULES 1, 2, and 3.
One of the participants mentioned that the DECAF training provided a deep understanding of floods, not just through the use of software commonly taught on campus. Another participant said, “The DECAF program did not only met but exceeded my expectations. After participating in DECAF, I gained experience and knowledge from the mentors and the residents of Pekalongan. DECAF provided me with opportunities to explore new possibilities. I became a group coordinator in the team. I also had the chance to facilitate focus group discussions (FGD) for the first time. I interacted with people affected by floods, listened to their aspirations, and discussed current and future situations. The DECAF program added colour to my holiday season and made it more productive.