The lush green fields of the quake-hit vocational school (SMKN 1) in Indonesia’s village of Gangga, in Lombok island, may appear to provide a safe space for students working towards their vocational certification programme. But, upon closer look, one could observe the damage caused by the 2018 quake. The earthquake destroyed their school building, forcing students to study in makeshift classrooms around the area.

The school is one of many buildings being reconstructed by UNDP’s Programme for Infrastructure Reconstruction Assistance (PETRA) in Lombok’s Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) province, among other vital infrastructure. Key to the reconstruction efforts is transfer of knowledge to local communities, hence the Project extends its support by offering vocational training programme for the students. With funding by Germany’s development bank, KfW, the training has  helped these students fulfill a critical phase of their studies—linking theoretical knowledge with practical skills.

“I am very happy, I have learned to calculate foundational work, and structural engineering of earthquake resilient buildings, through the programme,” said Ms. Fitria Angelina, a vocational student. “I hope to build a career in this field and help construct safe buildings which will help more communities,” said the 17-year-old architecture student.


Fitria is among 13 women of the 46 students who took part in the on-the-job training programme. The vocational school plays an important role in providing employable technical skills to young people in the communities, offering practical competencies such as designing and construction, installing electrical equipment, computer networking and motorcycle repair.

The students followed a three-month training programme at 12 PETRA construction sites in North Lombok from January to March 2021.  The programme is part of the PETRA project’s aim to help develop  the knowledge and skills of the local community in support of UNDP’s “build back better” principles applied in its reconstruction projects. It is expected upon completion the job-training the students will have better understanding to promote build back better principles in their own community.

“It has been very difficult to find suitable placements for our students to complete the on-the-job-training component during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are thankful for UNDP’s PETRA project for the cooperation in helping provide this opportunity for our students”, said Mr. Andi Munif, the head of school.

“On-the-job training is beneficial for our students and has increased our students’ awareness of “build back better” principles in construction,” noted Ms.Yentri, an engineering teacher at SMKN Gangga.

Under the guidance and supervision of the Project Manager of PT Ervan Prima Abadi JV, Mr. Henry Siagian, students have developed technical and practical competencies on-site including land measurement, drafting detail engineering design, structural engineering guidelines and management of  building materials. "We are committed to recruiting students who have followed job training here with good performance to work join us in Jakarta,” said Site Manager, Mr. Irvan Bengue.

The head of the Education and Culture Office of West Nusa Tenggara appreciated the KfW- supported PETRA project’s work in the province. “UNDP has been  promoting the principle of “build back better” and this is a great opportunity to equip them with technical knowledge on disaster resilient buildings,” said Dr. H. Aidy Furqan, head of the Educational and Cultural Office of West Nusa Tenggara.

PETRA project is implemented by UNDP, with financial support from the Government of Germany through its development bank, KfW


Text by Zaenudin Zein

Edited by Ranjit Jose and Tomi Soetjipto

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