Our monthly spotlight on the work and lives of the next generation of water@leeds researchers.
June 2021: Dewa Ayu Putu Eva Wishanti
PhD title: The Impact of Foreign Aid on Water Governance in Indonesia: A Case Study of Fragmented Water Service Reform
School of Politics and International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
Supervisors: Professor Anna Mdee, Dr Adam Tyson
Photograph: Taken during fieldwork on water and sanitation governance in 2017, Dewa inspected the water management infrastructure in Oehala Waterfall, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. This was as a part of a larger research theme about water and sanitation development in the province.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I was born and raised in East Java province, Indonesia. Currently, I am on leave from my position as a junior lecturer in International Relations Program, Brawijaya University, Indonesia. Prior to my study in Leeds, I have been involved in energy, environment politics, and water governance projects with multi-stakeholder partners.
Why did you choose University of Leeds?
Leeds is very student-friendly with easy access to nature as well as modern lifestyle. The University also has a couple of research groups and networks that are related to my main research topics, such as water@leeds and networks of Southeast Asian Studies. These features provide balance for my academic and social life.
What is your research about?
Simply put, my PhD explores how foreign aid has been shaping water governance reform in Indonesia. Foreign aid provides a boost to accelerate the reform as water sectors are severely underfunded. Globally, Indonesia is one of the major water privatisation partners and is a regular recipient of water-related aid in terms of infrastructure. Other studies focus on the impact of foreign aid based on its output. Meanwhile, my study will underline water governance as an important element to be analysed as it experiences political and legal impact from foreign aid conditionalities. The case study is in West Java Province, which is home to one of the strategic rivers in Java, and is the most populated island in Indonesia.
What did you wish you knew before starting a PhD?
Looking back, I wish I had the chance to take a leisurely tour around my prospective fieldwork site to immerse myself before working on the proposal, so it could be more concise, not half-baked that I had to struggle in my first 6 months!
Follow Dewa on twitter @evawishanti