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Title: Social learning and social contracts to improve water governance, infrastructure planning and service delivery

Time frame

Start 1 September 2013


30 November 2013

Proposed Organisations (Indonesia) Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) and Water Utility Association
International partner
International WaterCentre
GoI partner agency
Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS)
Research question
Previous work under IndII NTT/NTB water governance program has shown that since decentralisation water service delivery
has deteriorated, and investment into water supply infrastructure has decreasedi. This has been attributed to a number of
factors, including poor relationships between Local Governments (LGs) and local water companies (PDAMs). The trust in
these and other stakeholder relationships has been described as social contracts. Social contracts between PDAMs, LGs and
customers/constituents were implemented with a goal of ensuring good working relations and improving service delivery. How
social contracts are managed and delivered is critical to ensuring that investment in capital infrastructure and performance
evaluations (e.g. the WSSI) are translated into sustained improvements in service delivery.
The core infrastructure research question for this project would be:
How have social contracts built social capital between water service delivery stakeholders, and how could social contracts
improve water service infrastructure, governance and delivery by PDAMs?
The objectives of this research question include:
To identify the characteristics of social contract of PDAMs with different performance rankings (e.g. high and low
performing PDAMs) to undertake comparative case studies;
To measure the mix of social capital (bonding, bridging and linking) that exist between different PDAMs
stakeholders, and the effect of this on their performance;
To assess whether better and more sustainable infrastructure decisions result when social contracts exist, and the
characteristics of these;
To examine the role of oversight bodies and regulatory environments in building social capital and enabling effective
delivery of social contracts; and
To examine whether characteristics of high performing PDAMs are transferrable to improve water governance more
widely throughout Indonesia.
Background and expected outcomes
Challenge: While technical investment and better performance evaluation (e.g. by assessment using WSSI) will help improve
and understand technical performance, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the persistent bottlenecks for
improving water service delivery are socio-institutional.ii Furthermore, there is a risk that poor results from the WSSI will result
in a lack of motivation amongst PDAM personnel, and potentially become a driver for dissatisfaction amongst external actors.
Careful facilitation is required to allow PDAMs engage external actors and tackle operational and institutional weaknesses.
This process will require stakeholders to shift away from their sectoral positions (of how much, who pays etc.) and focus on
whole system changes. Each actor will need to have a clear role that contributes towards improvements in the overall
governance system for PDAMs.
In 2010 the second phase of the NTT/NTB water governance project set out to facilitate social contacts with PDAMs through
an iterative process. While the first iterations can be lead by IndII, ultimately a local body such as the PDAMs Oversight Body
will need to have the legitimacy and social acceptance of all key actors if it is to be capable of taking the longer-term role as
the honest broker in the social contract agreements.
Opportunity: The PDAM oversight body consists of different stakeholders with each carrying the interests of their
representative group. Breakdowns in the function of such bodies commonly stem from: lack of appreciation of different values
or opinions; and, lack of vertical integration with decision makers.iii An examination of social capital will help understanding
what linkages or bridges need attention. A carefully facilitated social learning process will be necessary to address power
imbalances and build respect for different knowledge domains. Social contracts are built on social capital theory which
emphasis for key factors: relations of trust; reciprocity and exchanges; common rules, norms and sanctions; connectedness,
networks and groupsiv. This can be achieved by examining the Oversight Bodies of a well-performing PDAM (e.g. one which
meets weekly and reports its findings) with Oversight Bodies in other lower performing PDAMs. The research will identify the
reasons for differences in the levels performance and will recommend strategies that can increase the effectiveness of
Oversight Bodies.
Benefits: Ultimately the success of social contracts will underpin the sustainability and performance of PDAMs within the
context of decentralisaion. The benefits of understanding differences and building linkages between interest groups can
reduce the transaction costs of decision making, increase ownership and adoption of policy decision and collective actionsiv.

Research activity design and method

The project will conduct research to understand the current mix of social capital in different performing PDAMs, and then
design and pilot test a process that can assist PDAMs and the Oversigh Bodies identify barriers and engage stakeholders to
take collective actions that address barriers and weakness. To achieve this a number of steps will be required:
Stage 1.
1. Liaison between research team, IndII, BAPPENAS, PERPAMSI, University of Indonesia and any other relevant
stakeholders to identify high and low performing PDAMs to use as case studies in the research;
2. Workshop in Jakarta to discuss and finalise research objectives, case studies and roles. Our research team would
aim to engage with local researchers (eg. University of Indonesia) for this stage, and involve them as research team
members for capacity building purposes, throughout the project; and
3. Finalise full project work plan in consultation with counterparts.
Full Project
1. Visit case study PDAMs to build rapport and ownership of research project and directions;
2. Review existing literature and previous initiatives to inform the design of a conceptual framework;
3. Design and implementation of action research to observe how PDAMs and external stakeholder negotiate
performance barriers;
4. Undertake surveys including semi structured interviews, focus groups and workshops to:
4.1 Better understand governance arrangements, social contracts and existing social capital in different PDAMs;
4.2 Identify bottlenecks in infrastructure decision making and investment, and suggest steps for overcoming
5. Assist stakeholders in finding strategies to bridge and link different interest groups;
6. Prepare Guidelines for Effective Social Contracts based on research findings for dissemination to other PDAMs.
A social learning framework will be employed both during the formative survey process and pilot interventions to ensure
appropriate knowledge transfer both with partner organizations and local stakeholders.
Proposed deliverables
Stage 1.
Workshop and workshop report
Finalised Research Project Work Plan confirming counterparts, identifying case studies and agreed methodology
Full Project
Interim Report, with review of practices and approaches adopted by different PDAMs (high, and low performing).
Guidelines for Effective Social Contracts.
Journal publication and/or conference paper to disseminate findings, within Indonesia and globally.
Final Research Report, with findings and recommendations on implementation and scaling up of the demonstration
program elements, sustaining social contracts and further communications of findings.
Research communication, knowledge transfer and implementation
Initial knowledge transfer will mainly occur with participants within the demonstration projects sites. Initial awareness of
performance gaps (i.e. a need for change) and evidence of local adaption to project inputs will be observed.
Recommendations for how to diffuse and mainstream findings will be best considered in consultation with project partners and
directly with PDAMs, and may take the form of Guidelines for Effective Social Contracts. Such Guidelines would be
disseminated through appropriate channels in consultation with PERPAMSI, at national water industry conferences as well as
academic channels. Continuous coordination with the Ministry of Health, the water and sanitation implementation group for the
hibah program and PERPAMSI will be critical for maintaining wider sectoral involvement and ensuring ownership of project

Coucouvinis, J. (2010) Better Governance for Better Water Services. Prakarsa. Issue #4, Oct 2010.
Brown, RR & Farrelly, MA 2009, Delivering sustainable urban water management: a review of the hurdles we face, Water science and technology: a journal of the
International Association on Water Pollution Research, vol. 59, no. 5, p. 839.
iii Hoverman, S, Ross, H, Chan, T & Powell, B 2011, Social learning through participatory integrated catchment risk assessment in the Solomon islands, Ecology and
Society, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 117.
iv Pretty, J & Ward, H 2001, Social capital and the environment, World Development, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 209227.
v Averill, K. et al., 2011. Independent Evaluation of the Water and Sanitation Hibah Program Indonesia DRAFT: Final Evaluation Report, AusAID, Canberra.