What is Student Community Service (SCS)/Kuliah Kerja Nyata (KKN)?

Student Community Service (SCS) or KKN-PPM  is a compulsory practicum semester for all UGM undergraduate students. The underlying philosophy of the program is that university students are a privileged minority who have an obligation to ‘give something back to the community’ at the conclusion of their studies. This is done in the form of semester long practicum programs during which groups work with a nominated community on a range of projects. The underlying principle is that tertiary education graduates possess knowledge and technical skills that may serve to empower local communities and improve livelihoods.

Although KKN has its origins in the top-down development atmosphere of the New Order period (the program was launched in 1971), ideas of collaboration and cooperation with local communities are viewed as essential ingredients of any successful KKN project. Today the acronym PPM (Pembelajaran Pemberdayaan Masyarakat or Community Empowered Learning) is used alongside the acronym KKN to reflect the change. The program is now formally known as KKN-PPM and development of student empathy with the problems facing low-income communities is considered to be one of the three key pillars of the program.

Who Manages the KKN-PPM Program?

KKN is managed by the Institute for Research and Community Services (LPPM). Structurally the LPPM is under the coordination of the Vice Rector for Education, Research, and Community Services. The program is therefore not coordinated at the faculty level. Transcripts for the successful completion of KKN are, however, issued through the faculty upon the assessment of participant reports.

Who Participates in KKN-PPM?

All UGM undergraduate students must complete the KKN-PPM semester, usually in their final year of study. KKN groups are determined by the specific needs of the target location. A typical KKN-PPM group will consist of approximately 30 students from a range of disciplines. This group is then sub-divided into smaller teams of 5-6 people. A typical project may be located in Village A with the 30 participants then divided into smaller units that are placed in the four or five sub-village units (Dusun) that make up the village (Desa).

Who Determines KKN-PPM Sites?

Faculty workshops coordinated by LPPM determine themes for each KKN-PPM semester. Faculty lecturers then put forward proposals in consultation with students. Communities might approach UGM themselves, or alternatively programs may be designed to meet the conditions set by specific donors. Most projects are semester specific while some may roll over for number of semesters.

What Type of Projects are Undertaken?

As a pioneer in the research of Indonesia’s rural sector and population studies, UGM’s KKN-PPM program has a deliberate rural bias. Projects target low income or marginalised segments of the community. For the 2010 DSPP students participated in an integrated village project in Bantul regency, just to south of Yogyakarta city. Kasongan is a well known centre for ceramic production, but development in the region is highly uneven and the ceramic industry is dominated by retailers that control the main sales thoroughfare. The integrated village project is premised upon a desire to deconcentrate the ceramic industry and open up opportunities for surrounding villages to integrate themselves into the existing strong retail and tourism sector. The DSPP students were assigned to one of the following themes:

  • IT/ITC – Information and Technology/Information Communication and Technology. For example, developing online maps of the area or online marketing schemes.
  • Waste Management.
  • Tourism – work on strategies to make Kasongan more than a day trip by capitalising on it attraction for people wishing to experience ‘village life’.
  • English course – teaching English in local schools.

Examples of previous KKN-PPM projects are as follows:

  • Environmental Conservation and the consolidation of land resources: The empowerment of locals to achieve sustainable agricultural practices, Sembungan Village, Wonosobo, Central Java.
  • Optimising land use for mixed farming beneath high voltage power lines, Wonosari village, Purworejo.
  • Maximising synergies for small to medium enterprises involved in the government BKKPN program, Bantul, Yogyakarta.
  • The empowerment of local farmers to provide improved livestock health and agricultural returns, Wukirsari village, Sleman, Yogyakarta.
  • Local Empowerment through bioethanol production from fruit scraps and various other projects designed to provide additional income to villages through the processing of agricultural bi-products.
  • Sanitation programs designed to have positive impact on worker productivity and health.
  • The socialisation and development of natural disaster early warning systems in villages exposed to a high risk of landslides or tsunami.
  • Improving Human Development Index (HDI) via literacy campaigns in 48 districts in Java and Madura
  • Housing reconstruction and the development of SME livelihoods in earthquake damaged areas
  • Improving access to education through compulsory education mobilisation
  • Animal conservation projects.

Dates for KKN Programs

There are three KKN-PPM semesters: two regular, one short.

March-Late May/Mid June
July-August (short semester)
The largest number of KKN projects are undertaken in the short semester (July-August). Over one hundred separate projects run at this time. Unfortunately ACICIS is not able to accommodate regular semester students at this time. The number of regular semester KKN projects is much less (7-10 projects in total).

Please note that it is not always possible to know what projects will be run ahead of time. Confirmation of program numbers is often left open until the date for subject withdrawal (two weeks from the start of classes) and then vacillate for another week or so.


ACICIS DSIP students will be limited to sites within the province of Yogyakarta in order that they may return to UGM on a weekly basis to attend the seminar series. By this logic no site could be more than two hours from campus. Friday and Saturday will see students permitted to leave the field. It is important that students return by Sunday as this is the traditional time set for kerja bakti (communal public works) activities in the village.

Mental Preparation

Please be prepared to adjust your expectations as the pace and organisation of ‘development’ is not always what you may have envisaged. The level of consultation required for every move (amongst students, students and locals, amongst locals themselves) is often a surprise to many. Then there are the language and cultural barriers to consider. But this is a reality of village development work that you will be invaluable for you. Previous participants quickly realise that they should work on a set of modest goals in order to complete them. Instead of becoming frustrated by the slow pace of things, think of it as a positive learning experience. Learn to be patient and you will get so much more out of the program.