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When research and development intersect: Ensuring research continues safely in settlements under construction

By Ruzka Taruc, Chief Investigator - Indonesia Assessment
10 March 2023

The research and intervention arms of RISE have never been more intertwined. As we continue to monitor the changing health of informal settlement environment and residents, data collection is now taking place in sites under construction with our water-sensitive infrastructure intervention.

As our fieldworkers, construction teams and residents now all navigate shared space, new processes are maintaining the rigour of our activities, and above all, everyone’s safety.

The team has put several layers of communications in place. At our weekly meeting, the research team has been communicating their plans to visit the construction sites for that week, on which days, and the type of sampling work that will be done. The day before the visit, the research team re-confirms with the Site Engineer of the settlement, and shows the sampling maps so that the Site Engineer can brief the contractor about the upcoming visit from the RISE research team, and assess potential safety issue from those sampling locations.

In the morning, the community fieldworkers (CFWs) meet with the Site Engineer before starting their sampling. The CFWs are then handed construction PPE, such as helmet and safety vest, and discuss with the Site Engineer any potential safety concerns that they should be aware of. There is also a health and safety officer from the construction contractor for each site who can assist the CFWs for any safety issues around the construction site.

This constant communication and coordination is an important tool that can help protect the safety of our CFWs, the workers on-site, and the community members, and ensure that the research activities will not get in the way of the build construction process.

RISE Fiji Engineer Aminiasi Lailai conducts a safety induction with Community Fieldworkers Meiva Setoka,
Jonati Kitekitoga, Pita Tamani and Nirai Ravulo before they enter a site to collect samples.  

Cover image: RISE Indonesia Community Fieldworker Mohammad Hatta collects soil samples at a live construction site.