Social Dimension Successes: Education, Relationships and Pride
A significant success of the project included the educational by-products - a broadened knowledge on processing and marketing strategies as well as practices. There are numerous advantages to this as enhanced knowledge increases productivity, income and gainful employment (e.g. Salkeld 2007). Ongoing education is often considered indispensable for project success as well as for maintaining agricultural productivity and income (see Zamroni and Yamao 2011). Although instigation of the educational process can be attributed to Lingkar’s provision of an initial training session, it is imperative to note that the planned schedule of workshops and consultation visits were not entirely fulfilled for this collective. This may have been a result of resource and organisational limitations as seen in similar projects (e.g Salkeld 2007). This lack of training provision combined with the collective’s determination for continued growth of the business fostered a culture of self-training through trial and error as well as adaptation which enabled the improvement of knowledge and activities surrounding marketing and food processing. This continued knowledge building, despite the lack of fulfillment in proposed continued assistance by field staff and consultation visits to improve knowledge and practices, highlights the self-motivation and determination of the women’s collective to attain new knowledge and skills. Furthermore, this ability to self-educate has inspired confidence and respect within the collective; an indirect outcome that will foster further benefits of enhanced resilience and project success (e.g. Ferris et al. 2010).
Another key success of the project includes its capacity to encourage and enhance relationships amongst the women within the community. This success has occurred as a result of the collective’s organisational structure that encompasses a system of communally owned and managed land. The communal land tenure provides a platform for interaction which creates friendships and familial relationships that subsequently enhances solidarity (Diaswati and Barnes 2015; Kusumasari and Alam 2012). The sustainability of land tenure systems such as these, however, have been frequently contested with issues such as the ‘tragedy of the commons’ which highlights how the interaction of self-maximizing individuals and shared natural resources will result in overexploitation (McCay and Acheson 1987; Hardin 1968). As McCay and Acheson (1987) highlight however, contextual factors can invalidate underlying assumptions of this notion. The individualistic bias and assumption that self-maximizing individuals are unrestricted by social norms may, for example, be undermined by gotong royong; a Javanese social organization founded on cooperation, reciprocal assistance that involves community collaboration to achieve common goals (Diaswati and Barnes 2015; Bowen 1986). Gotong royong and its associated social norms stem from a village-scale logic that outlines the necessity of cooperation for fostering development and stability, and can apply to a multitude of contexts such as politics, village maintenance of infrastructure or post-disaster recovery (Diaswati and Barnes 2015; McCay and Acheson 1987). As a disaster generates an atmosphere of collectively shared risk, disruption and loss, the communal culture of
gotong royong habitually emerges in local recovery processes. Within Gunung Manuk’s recovery and adaptation, gotong royong’s structure and its associated norms that ensure cooperation and care for others may have offset any individualistic or self-maximizing characteristics that encourage the overexploitation of communal property (McCay and Acheson 1987). Moreover, the individualistic bias of the tragedy of the commons notion is also undermined by the nature of the project as a business for the collective whereby all women cooperate to produce the product and thereby share the revenue. This successfully implemented communal structure also supports the recovery process by enhancing project efficiency, sustainability and resilience through facilitating coordinated action, the spreading of risks and its potential role as a ‘social bridge’ to manage conflicts (Kapucu 2006; Martaamidjaja and Rikhana 1996). Moreover, the long-term viability and effectiveness of this risk reduction project is furthered by the capacity of group activities to foster greater commitment and willingness to fulfill key tasks and goals (McCay and Acheson 1987).
The collective also unanimously agreed that the project’s accomplishments inspire pride and elevate morale; characteristics identified by the collective as imperative for driving long-term sustainability of the project. This ability of pride and morale to drive projects has also been observed in similar livelihood diversification projects in South Sulawesi and the Philippines, where pride associated with achievements perpetuate participation and project continuity (see Zamroni and Yamao 2011; Pollnac and Pomeroy 2005). An elevation of pride is also present through the revival of a former culture in cassava consumption. This is a unique project outcome due to the common trend of fading cultural practices as markets expand. This cultural revival may be considered an important success to government bodies in particular as it fulfils cultural preservation objectives in the National Middle-Term Development Plan (2010-2014). Moreover, the project’s aforementioned use of gotong royong also contributes to the continued salience of Indonesian traditions.