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RISE breaks first ground on demonstration site in Makassar, Indonesia

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The MSDI-led Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) research program has achieved a significant milestone with the official groundbreaking ceremony taking place at the demonstration site in Makassar, Indonesia.

On November 21, 2018, the Mayor of Makassar, Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto joined the RISE Program Director, Professor Rebekah Brown, and Australian Consul General for Makassar, Richard Matthews, as well as members from the local Batua community, for the official groundbreaking ceremony of the first RISE revitalisation project. Prof. Brown and Mayor Pomanto signed an MoU to formalise the partnership and ensure the project is integrated into city operations and maintenance systems for it's long-term sustainability.

Professor Brown described he groundbreaking ceremony as a momentous occasion. “It is the culmination of many years of planning and collaboration across countries, disciplines, institutions, and individuals,” she said.“At the centre of this effort has been the residents of Batua – their local knowledge and insight, along with an unwavering commitment to the program, has been invaluable."

RISE is an action-research program working at the intersections of health, environment, water and sanitation. Led by MSDI, the global, interdisciplinary program is trialling a new water sensitive approach to water and sanitation management in 24 informal settlements and two demonstration sites across Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji.

Working with communities, governments, local leaders and partner institutions, RISE is co-designing location-specific solutions that integrate green infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, to strengthen the whole-of-life water and sanitation cycle across the settlements.

Underpinned by the emerging discipline of ‘planetary health’, the success of RISE -which was launched in August 2017 and is scheduled to conclude in July 2022 - will be measured by the health and wellbeing of residents – particularly children under five years of age – and the ecological diversity of the surrounding environment.

At the demonstration site at Batua, in Makassar, in South Sulawesi, the Batua community and the RISE Indonesia Build Team will lead the implementation of the green infrastructure, alongside local contractors.

Community construction has already commenced on privately owned land, with RISE providing materials and landowners contributing labour for biofilters, rainwater harvesting tanks, and connections to the communal system.

“Commendation must be given to the RISE Indonesia team whose expertise and outstanding work ethic have ensured RISE could successfully get to this stage,” Professor Brown said.“Further, I extend my warmest regards and sincere gratitude to Your Excellency Mayor of Makassar, Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto, for his ongoing endorsement, which has been instrumental to our progress,” she said.

Mayor Pomanto said "The Makassar City Government provides full support for RISE research activities in 12 locations, plus the site zero pilot site in Batua.”

“The ground-breaking activity at the site zero pilot site is expected to be an example of RISE activities at the other settlement areas in Makassar, and become learning material for other districts and cities in Indonesia to solve environmental health problems in informal settlements,’’ he said.

Breaking of ground on the second RISE demonstration site in Suva, Fiji is scheduled to occur in early 2019.

Led by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, RISE brings together global expertise from five Monash University faculties (Art, Design and Architecture, Business and Economics, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science), Monash University Malaysia, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, Stanford University, Emory University, The University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge, Fiji National University, Hasanuddin University, The University of the South Pacific, Live & Learn Fiji, United Nations University, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Oxfam, WaterAid, and Wellcome Sanger Institute. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Asian Development Bank.