To preserve Indonesian culture and enhance community preparedness, the UGM Center for Disaster Studies and the UGM Center for Cultural Studies commemorated Rebo Wekasan in Sompok, Bantul Regency, on the evening of Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
The Rebo Wekasan, titled “Understanding Disasters Through a Cultural Perspective,” was attended by the Head of the Community Service Sub-Directorate of the UGM Directorate of Community Service, the Head of the Emergency and Logistics Division of the Bantul Disaster Management Agency, and local officials.
This commemoration aimed to enhance the readiness of the Sompok Hamlet community to face disasters through a cultural approach.
Through this cultural approach, the two UGM centers invited the Sompok Hamlet community to recognize their area’s physical and social characteristics, especially those related to potential hazards.
Additionally, the community was expected to understand the potential resources available through the characteristics of their region.
One of the methods was identifying and mapping local toponyms (place names) to reveal the history of an area, often explaining potential hazards and the resources available in an area.
“Toponyms are traces of local wisdom that can help us recognize potential threats and resources in an area. We can learn about the history of disasters and how to mitigate them through toponyms,” said Disaster Studies Center Head Dr. Muhammad Anggri Setiawan.
In addition to identifying and mapping toponyms, cultural reflections related to potential hazards were conducted by singing macapat (traditional Javanese poetry recited in songs).
Guided by the Center for Cultural Studies, participants sang macapat, which contained contemplation and prayers to the Almighty to be saved from all forms of danger.
Dr. Setiawan stated that a cultural approach can improve community readiness in facing disasters. According to him, this approach can help the community reflect on their way of life and avoid destructive cultural practices within the community.
In line with this statement, Dr. Sri Ratna Saktimulya, Head of the Center for Cultural Studies, stated that cultural reflection can be more acceptable to the community because culture is a component that is always present in people’s lives.
“A cultural approach can also serve as a reminder that much of the damage to the earth’s surface results from human actions. Cultural reflection functions as a control to prevent humans from continuing to cause damage to the earth,” she explained.
In addition to increasing community preparedness internally, the Rebo Wekasan commemoration also aimed to strengthen Penta helix collaboration. By bringing together stakeholders in the local area, this activity can exchange information, knowledge, ideas, and concepts related to disaster management, especially in the Sompok Hamlet and Bantul Regency.
The Rebo Wekasan commemoration is part of the village-based community service grant program implemented by the UGM Directorate of Community Service.
In practice, this village development program has materialized as Empowered Disaster-Resilient Villages, consisting of members from the Sompok Hamlet.
Through community empowerment activities in disaster management, it is hoped that the Sompok Hamlet community will have strong preparedness and capacity to face potential hazards in their area.
Author: Taufik Waskita