Strengthening community-based flood resilience in Bidara Cina, East Jakarta, Indonesia

With its population exceeding twelve million, Jakarta is considered as one of the most problematic ‘mega-cities’ in the world for its complex urban development challenges. Being located in a coastal lowland area and cut across by thirteen rivers and many other streams, Indonesia’s capital city is affected by recurrent inundations, especially during the rainy season.

Since 2003 UNESCO Office, Jakarta, together with local partners has implemented activities to strengthen the flood resilience of communities living in Bidara Cina.
The area of the city sub-district Bidara Cina is located in the eastern part of Jakarta along the Ciliwung River, one of the major drainage systems in Jakarta. It covers an area of 126,10 ha with a population of 43,113 inhabitants (Data Kelurahan Bidara Cina, 2007). The major problems of Bidara Cina are waste disposal, water supply, health, and public hygiene; contributing to devastating flood effects.

During different project phases non-structural flood mitigation and preparedness measures have been implemented in several neighbourhood units in Bidara Cina to improve community’s understanding and awareness of the natural and social components of floods, and to strengthen people’s capability to deal with flood events. Each project phase was conceived in a way to be easily replicated in other neighbourhood units as well as at large level.

Starting with the neighbourhood unit or Rukun Warga (RW) 06 in 2003, the area of intervention has been widened by 2007 to other neighbourhood units in Bidara Cina, namely RW 07 and RW 14. As conditions in the three RWs were different a flexible project approach was important to meet the specific needs of each neighbourhood unit. In RW 06 it was important to raise the awareness and knowledge of the broader community to initiate the establishment of a community organisation for flood preparedness; whereas in RW 07 and RW 14 such organisations had been already established (so called Satgas Banjir) but with different capacities.

Local organisations such as the self-reliant community institution Layung Fajar, which is located in RW 07, have been actively integrated in carrying out the different project activities to ensure ongoing facilitation of the community of Bidara Cina after project closure.

Activities carried out
Water quality, supply and user assessment study
In collaboration with the Laboratory for Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology (Institute of Technology, Bandung), UNESCO Jakarta’s Hydrology Unit conducted a water quality, water supply and water use assessment study in RW 06 including chemical and bacteriological analyses of 25 groundwater samples from open and closed wells. (For brief overview of results please click here)

Vulnerability and capacity assessment
Vulnerability and capacity assessment has been conducted in the three RWs using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods, focus group discussions and questionnaires.

Public education and training
Public awareness raising and education was especially important in RW 06 to initiate the establishment of a community organisation for flood preparedness. Besides basic knowledge of community-based flood management these trainings also included waste management techniques, organizational strengthening and first aid.

Capacity building for community organizations
Community organizations for flood response in the three RWs have received trainings on community-based flood management and organizational strengthening. Their focus on merely flood response was widened to include flood preparedness and mitigation as well as post flood rehabilitation. On-going and timely coordination between the different flood-related community organizations established in the different RWs of Bidara Cina was initiated.

Publication of a practical handbook for community participation in flood management
Based on inputs and concerns gained from the community of Bidara Cina a practical handbook for community participation in flood management will be published and distributed to the main stakeholders of community-based flood preparedness and mitigation in Bidara Cina. This handbook provides readers with the basic knowledge of the different stages of flood management and the possibility and importance of community action.

Results achieved
As a result of the pilot project a local community organisation for flood preparedness and mitigation has been established and trained in RW 06 and the capacity of existing organisations in RW 07 and RW 14 strengthened. These organisations represent an important channel for disseminating flood related information to other neighbourhoods and ensuring improved flood preparedness and reactivity of the whole community in Bidara Cina.

The important role that these organisations play for community-based flood preparedness and mitigation has been acknowledged beyond the borders of the city sub-district Bidara Cina. Members of the community organisation in RW 06 (Kelompok Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Bantaran, KPMB RW06) have been actively involved in disaster preparedness activities of other organisations and the government, such as the ‘training and simulation on flood preparedness’ organized by the City Government of East Jakarta or the ‘International Youth Day’ which sought to raise disaster awareness of the young generation, both organized in 2006.

Local project partners

  • Pusat Pengembangan Masyarakat Agrikultur (PPMA): Local project implementer (Email:
  • Layung Fajar: Provided training on community participation in flood management and introduced the practical handbook
  • Sangsurya: Provided training for organisational strengthening and team building


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