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Inkrispena and SOMO working together on research in extractive sector in Indonesia

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Yohannes Wasi Gede Puraka and the social research institute Inkrispena focus on social scientific research on the economic crisis and its socio-political impacts on society in Indonesia. Inkrispena’s activities include research, training and facilitation of workers’ groups. This article will give you insight in the collaboration between SOMO and Inkrispena.

Wasi Gede Puraka is a researcher with a background as a teacher and researcher at the University of Indonesia, and Executive Director of Inkrispena, the Research Centre for Crisis and Alternative Development Strategy. Together with his colleagues at Inkrispena, Wasi Gede Puraka specialises in social scientific research, such as in the extractive sector and in company research. Inkrispena aims at collecting, analysing and providing data as well as tools of analysis and scientific information for academia, government and society. The institute is based in Jakarta, Indonesia. SOMO started working with them in 2012 because of the high-quality research carried out by the many academically educated researchers involved. ‘Five years ago, we started the cooperation. Inkrispena then researched the private sector development of the Dutch government’, stated Roos van Os (SOMO). ‘It had a lot of impact.’

Learning from both sides

Wasi Gede Puraka: ‘When we collaborate with SOMO, we value the transparent working process, participation, support and respect for their partners. The strength is the will to learn from both sides, which is not just manifested in the formal process but also informally. We have worked on several projects with SOMO; a good example is the project, The Role of Security Actors in the Extractive Industry(opens in new window) . We were involved in the whole process, from the research design, proposal-making, planning, report writing and disseminating the final report. We collected field data through interviews and field observation. This helped us to learn more about how to investigate multinational companies and to look deeper into the cause of the problems they create. It also taught us how to cooperate in a consortium (SOMO, University of Nottingham and Inkrispena) and how to deal with collecting sensitive information. We moved forward and developed our research capacity.’

Palm oil publications

Palming off responsibility

The current release of two publications on palm oil is a good example of the cooperation between SOMO and Inkrispena. One is on labour right violations in the Indonesian palm oil sector and the second is on the role of security actors in the palm oil and logging sector.

‘Our role was to communicate with trade unions in the sector, to obtain field data from the targeted companies through interviews and observation; to conduct data processing and write research reports. The data were analysed and sharpened by SOMO (and by the University of Nottingham as well), especially in answering the questions on compliance with international regulations related to palm oil,’ explained Wasi Gede Puraka.

The two hats of public security actors in Indonesia

In reference to this cooperation, Vincent Kiezebrink stated:

‘Inkrispena have great insight into the context surrounding their research in Indonesia, and manage to find and speak to the right people even when working on controversial topics in remote areas. Without them as a partner, our joint field work would not have been possible to undertake.’

Strategic direction

Inkrispena’s goal is to provide knowledge and advocacy to the general public, with a specific focus on labourers. This is expected to help civil society and grassroots organisations to accomplish changes.

Wasi Gede Puraka: ‘In the future, we hope to continue working with SOMO because this cooperation has helped us to formulate a theory of change and to discover more strategic opportunities for intervention used by our partners. We hope that in the future the collaboration with SOMO can also provide a positive contribution to the academic community in Indonesia.’

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