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About the project

The project Utarakan Jakarta – Speak up (North) Jakarta – aims to inform and raise awareness about flooding in Jakarta.  It also shows the urgency to protect Jakarta against floods.

Uturakan Jakarta portrays the lives of 4 people living in North Jakarta behind the seawall in a Facebook Campaign of 12 weeks. It captures their struggles with floods, a sinking house and the costs of drinking water in a city on the verge of drowning. The campaign shows their worries, dreams and hopes for a better future.

In addition to these personal stories, experts give their opinion about causes and solutions of land subsidence, waste and pollution, preservation of the coast and green space and the importance of history and cultural heritage. Once a week the YOU – the citizen – show what you can do to stop or to cope with floods. Share experiences, give comments and participate in polls and act.

Jakarta, with more than 20 million residents, is sinking between 7,5 cm – 25 cm per year. Economic development and a growing population are causing an excessive and unregulated extraction of deep ground water (200 m).
Jakarta relies on an existing 40-year-old seawall to keep the city safe from the Java Sea. This 30-kilometers seawall is also sinking at an alarming rate.

The team

In October 2012, Cynthia Boll and Jan Heerkens saw a feature item on the Dutch news on a project in Jakarta called the Giant Seawall. It showed the issues regarding how fast Jakarta is sinking and the involvement of Dutch and Indonesian experts in finding solutions and developing a master plan.

They started to do research, talk to stakeholders and write a proposal to document the project for a longer period. In May 2014, the proposal was awarded with an Innovation in Development Reporting Grant program – about new and innovative ways of story telling- by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Funding is also being provided by DutchCulture, Stichting Democratie en Media and the Dutch Embassy (exhibition).

After a research trip to Jakarta in November/December 2014, Cynthia Boll started to take photos and making films about the main characters being portrayed in the project from January till March 2015. In this period Heerkens and Boll decided to develop the project as a Social Media Campaign on Facebook, Twitter and website, with offline publications in National Geographic Magazine Netherlands and Indonesia and a mobile exhibition.

From November 2014 onwards, the founders formed an international team with researchers, journalists, creatives and designers and have been working intensively on the execution of Utarakan Jakarta.


Cynthia Boll is a Dutch photographer www.cynthiaboll.com and has published in National Geographic Magazine, Time Magazine and Dutch newspapers; she is well-known for photo documentary projects and her exhibitions; in 2011 she was winner of the Silver Camera in the Netherlands.

Jan Heerkens is a Media and Communications Expert with a longstanding experience in organizing campaigns and projects for Charities like the Dutch Refugee Council, Victim Support, UNICEF and the Red Cross.

The Core Team is Indonesian and Dutch.

Ika Vantiani is the projects director in Jakarta and has 14 years’ experience in Advertising, Media and Community based management and Creative Design. She was creative director One Comm Indonesia and responsible for media campaigns for CIMB Niaga, Roppan en BNI.

Dina Indrasafitri is a journalist and worked for the Jakarta Post, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Penerbit Erlangga publisher. She has written the stories for FB and was chief-editor till July 2015.

Dodi Riadi is an expert in Tourist Community Development; he has been doing research for the project and is the community liaison person.

Anisa Kirana (Poppy) is an English Literature graduate and former Chief Editor of German-Indonesian Chamber magazine `Sorotan`. She has been a Community Relations Executive for TEMPO Media Group and became a Connector of the Climate Project Indonesia. She is now active as a writer for Utarakan Jakarta.

Creative & social media team

Yolando Siahaya is designer and founder of Start Collective a Jakarta based web & graphic design agency www.startcollective.com. He is the designer of the Uturakan Jakarta website and Facebook pages.

Rangga Kuzuma is a famous and creative video designer living in Jakarta and Bali; he worked worked for Alam TV and did many visuals for the commercial and music industry. He is the visual designer and editor for the project.

Nafinia Putra is a social media consultant with previous experience handling digital presence of local brands such as Garuda Indonesia, Oakley Indonesia, Marie France Bodyline and many more. She has more than 3 years of experience in the digital industry and social media; very passionate with entrepreneurship and was volunteering for Lean Startup Machine in Jakarta this year.


Ariel Shepherd is a Canadian researcher and has a Master in Science in Development Planning and Design. She has been working for 3 years in Jakarta as an urban planner and community developer for Cilliwung Merdeka. She has done research for Uturakan Jakarta, network expert and is the author of the feature article for National Geographic Magazine about ‘Jakarta is Sinking’.

Ben Krewinkel is a Dutch photo historian and lecturer in photography at University for the Arts in Utrecht: www.benkrewinkel.nl.

Rik Keijzer has an extensive experience in online developments in web design and social media strategy. He was Head of Internet Disney online Benelux.

Schrijf-Schrijf is a Dutch creative concept and text agency working for NGO’s, the Commercial and Banking Industry and the Cultural and Arts sector: www.schrijf-schrijf.nl

Podium is a well-known Dutch agency in the field of communications, educational and public experience projects, especially on water management: www.podium.nl


European Journalism Centre financed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Worldbank: I. Gunawan, senior disaster risk management specialist
BPBD: Pak Bambang, division head informatics and controlling
Komunitas Historia Indonesia: A. Kambali, CEO
National Geographic Indonesia: D. Kaspi Kasem, chief-editor
National Geographic Netherlands: A. Aarsbergen, chief-editor
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Netherlands Water Partnership: I. van der Linden, advisor Indonesia
NCICD:  V. Coenen, projectleader, A. Sannen, (former) team leader
RoyalHaskoningDHV: M. van Elswijk, director advisory group Asia
Witteveen+Bos: V. Coenen, representative
Deltares: J.J. Brinkman, expert advisor
UNESCO IHE: J. Luijendijk, senior advisor knowledge and capacity development

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For more information about the project and the team: utarakanjakarta@gmail.com

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