Jessica Vandenberg (PhD) Spends Summer in Bontosua Conducting Dissertation Fieldwork

Jessica Vandenberg (MAF PhD) spent the summer conducting her dissertation fieldwork on the island of Bontosua, a small island located in the Spermonde Archipelago of Indonesia. Jessica’s research focuses on understanding the influence that external development projects have on small island communities. More specifically, she is investigating the impacts of a community-supported coral restoration project on the local island community of Bontosua and how accessibility to participation affects community dynamics. To tackle her research questions, Jessica conducted household surveys and interviews with community members and local government officials to get a sense of who is currently participating, the extent of information sharing regarding the project, and how the project was designed by the local government to achieve equitability. Her preliminary findings have highlighted that access to participation is primarily dictated by political alignments and that despite the small size of this community, information sharing regarding this project is minimal. This upcoming January she plans on returning to Indonesia to survey a nearby island where a similar restoration project was implemented.

Jessica and her interpreter, Sani, interviewing Pak Ridwan, head of the Bontosuan fisheries management organization.
Jessica and her interpreter, Sani, interviewing Pak Ridwan, head of the Bontosuan fisheries management organization.
Traditional Makassarese houses situated along the shoreline of Bontosua Island (Right).
Traditional Makassarese houses situated along the shoreline of Bontosua Island (Right).