Empatika is an Indonesia-based, internationally-oriented organisation specialising in people-centred approaches to research, training, and programs. We provide innovative and adaptive qualitative and mixed methods studies and custom capacity building to bring policy making closer to people’s everyday realities.
We are small but agile, with core team members in five different countries who have conducted studies in over eight countries across Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia.
Empatika was formally established in 2018. Most of our team has been working together since 2014 as part of the DFAT Australia-funded Reality Check Approach+ project, which supported Indonesian researchers to conduct immersion studies using the Reality Check Approach (RCA). While this project focused on Indonesia and established what would eventually become Empatika's Indonesia-based team, it also helped support RCA immersion studies being conducted in other countries at the time. It was through these studies that we were introduced to the international team members that would also become part of the Empatika team.
Children in Central Sulawesi show our researchers around their community as part of a child-focused post-disaster study
While Empatika has evolved since this period to encompass a range of methods, our values are rooted in the principles of RCA, such as using emic approaches, putting people first, informality, and embracing complexity.
Empatika continues to specialise in facilitating training for and conducting immersive and participatory approaches to research. We also use this expertise to bring in participatory processes as part of enhancing traditional qualitative tools like focus group discussions and interviews. We have also developed expertise including human-centered design and video and arts-based methods such as transformative digital storytelling.
Empatika currently has 12 Senior Researchers who have led or co-led immersions and other qualitative studies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We also have active networks of trained local researchers in many of the countries where we have worked, such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nepal and Uganda.
All our staff and researchers are trained in child safeguarding procedures including a full-day training as part of our Level 1 Immersion Research training which all Empatika researchers undergo prior to joining any fieldwork.
Keeping programmers and policymakers in-touch with people's lived realities through grounded, people-centred research, training and programs.
We are an international group of researchers and trainers who deliver and implement high quality, complexity-aware research, customised training, and programs which always put people at the centre. Our work inspires people to think differently about development solutions and social change processes and is based on building trust, giving voice and listening to those people for whom development interventions are intended.
A local Empatika-trained researcher in Pakistan talks with community members as part of a study on healthcare access
Our Core Values
1. Empathy - Our empathetic approach helps us understand development challenges in context and from the standpoint of those they affect. This perspective grounds our research and solutions, providing a true understanding of people's priorities and supporting meaningful change.
2. Embracing Complexity - Our flexible approach to research and programs embraces complexity, understanding that ‘big problems rarely have a single cause’ and embracing multiple voices and perspectives.
3. People-Driven - People are at the center of everything we do. Our immersive and participatory approaches aim to empower people to develop solutions and drive change that is important to them through supportive, participatory, and reflexive processes.
4. Equity and Inclusion - We prioritize equity and inclusion in everything we do and believe that our diversity enhances our creativity and effectiveness as researchers and problem solvers. This is reflected in our approaches, which are designed to elevate the views of those often excluded from research and development.
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Empatika is a fully Indonesian-owned company, formally owned by four of our Indonesian core team members including two women. As agreed and in practice though, all of the members of our core team are equal owners. In line with our emphasis on participation and the flexible nature of our work, we use a flat organizational structure that consists of one executive director along with department heads for Operations, Research, and Training, and Programs, supported by a board of nine core team members. From these 12 team members, seven are women including our current director.
In 2022, we also established a foundation as a sister organization to allow us more flexibility in pursuing projects and programs beyond pure research.
For new research projects, we appoint an overall project/study leader who is supported by a quality coordinator, along with a project director who coordinates the day-to-day logistics and is responsible for project implementation. Though depending on the size of a project and any specific expertise required, most of our projects involve multiple members of our core team along with some of our trained research associates who support our core team for fieldwork and facilitation activities. Where possible, we also work with like-minded partners to enhance project insights.
With our small but international core team and trained local researchers in a number of countries, we can mobilise teams quickly.