The restoration of gotong royong as a form of post-disaster solidarity in Lombok, Indonesia

Jop Koopman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article explores the mobilization of local resources to reconstruct devastated villages in Lombok after the earthquake of 2018. Local leadership and NGOs managed to mobilize survivors and their communities to rebuild their devastated built environment by evincing the principle of gotong royong. They made an effort to include the survivors in the reconstruction effort, enabling them to begin their recovery trajectory and creating bonds of friendship and trust between various religious groups and villages. In other disaster aftermath situations, such as Aceh after the tsunami of 2004, NGOs and the Indonesian government did not succeed in mobilizing survivors by evoking the principle of gotong royong and, in some cases, even paralyzed the communities they tried to help. On the basis of qualitative data collected immediately after the earthquakes in 2018 and in the following year, I argue that local leaders and NGOs managed to mobilize these groups through effective leadership, transparency about funds and goals, stakeholder participation, an understanding of local legislature and explicit roles of accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages18
JournalSouth East Asia Research
Issue number3
Early online date9 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I want to acknowledge my interlocutors from the field, without whom I could not have written this article. I thank Dr. Freek Colombijn for his useful feedback on a draft of this article. I am also very grateful to Rosemary Robson for her English language corrections.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • community
  • disaster studies
  • Gotong royong
  • Indonesia
  • local leadership
  • post-disaster reconstruction


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