grantees » Riska Darmawanti

Riska Darmawanti, Indonesia

Riska is a junior researcher at the Ecological Observation and Wetland Conservation (ECOTON) in Indonesia, where she monitors the biodiversity and water quality of the local Brantas and Surabaya Rivers. The aim of her work is to conserve the riparian environment and its ecosystem services for the local populations. Additionally, Riska is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Environmental Biology.

Riska has applied her JWH Initiative grant to further her training in local historical environmental knowledge, as well as her education in ecotoxicology and environmental data statistics. Her main goal was to improve her overall abilities as an environmental researcher, manager, and activity to become a more useful environmental advocate in her community. To expand her historical environmental knowledge of the region, Riska researched the relationship between local temples and water management, and she found there is much to be gained in studying temples not only as historical and cultural treasures, but also as environmental guides to appropriate water conservation. Furthermore, Riska attended courses at the Science and Technology Faculty of Airlangga University, where she learned how the Brantas & Surabaya Rivers receive toxic wastewater discharge that is harmful to fish reproduction and well-being. The process of bio-accumulation then makes these toxins build up in human populations that eat the fish from the river, and is a legitimate health concern in the area. In the internship, Riska learned how to monitor water quality and address sources of these pollutions to help mitigate the problem. Riska also attended a statistical analysis course that helped her learn how best to use the environmental data she collects in her work and determine its significance.

Riska says that participating in the JWHI grant “is a great honor for me and it has helped to develop my ability as a researcher.” She says that learning new things from her grant activities has given her “a wider view and understanding in order to raise people’s awareness”of environmental problems in Indonesia. In the future, Riska hopes to build her own fish farm and research center in order to breed and study indigenous species.