Harnessing Social Capital for Community Self-help in a Rural Water Supply Project: Lessons from Participatory Action Research in Kumalabaru Hamlet, Indonesia

By Mukarramah Fnu.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research studied challenges of obtaining community participation in collective action to improve a rural water supply and to find associated solutions. By collaborating with the community to carry out some of research stages, this research found that a decrease in participation is due to a decline in cognitive and structural social capital. The former is associated with fewer volunteers and fewer donations, an increase in the sense of unfairness, and the existence of self-interested behaviour. The latter is perceived as the result of the community’s loss of trust in a leader, the inability of that leader to lead the action, and the existence of conflicting interests between community leaders. In order to address these issues, this research facilitated the community’s actions to restore structural social capital and make the existing cognitive social capital work effectively. The actions included appointing a person with the expected leadership qualities to lead the collective action, assigning the committee leader to facilitate the planning process, improving the sense of fairness and equality, and harnessing social networks. By using these ways, the community successfully built the bathhouse and is now able to access more fresh water, in spite of the limited budget available.

Keywords: Rural Water Supply, Collective Action, Community Participation, Social Capital, Participatory Action Research, Self-help Community

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.87-99. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 454.765KB).

Mukarramah Fnu

Master Student, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Gresik, East Java Province, Indonesia

I worked in SPeKTRA, a local NGO in Surabaya City, East Java, Indonesia, as a facilitator for provincial government in organizing a community economic development program from 2005–2009; and as a coordinator for a women farmers empowerment program funded by Unilever Peduli Foundation in Nganjuk and Madiun districts in 2009. In 2010, I received a scholarship from the Ford Foundation to continue my studies. Now, I am completing my Master’s at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, focusing on community planning and social policies. Besides that, I am actively involved in the Indonesian Student Association (PERMIAS Chapter Hawaii) to promote Indonesian culture and dialogues about Indonesian issues. I am also engaged in East West Centre Participants Association as a community service coordinator. My interests are poverty reduction, community participation, rural-urban linkage, and evaluation.