Tuesday, August 16, 2016

National Pramuka Jamboree: Empowering young people through technology

Releasing 1,000 handmade wooden planes into the air as a symbol of young generations flying higher, the scouts kicked off the 10th National Pramuka Jamboree at Cibubur Scout Camp on Sunday in a vibrant, yet solemn opening ceremony. 25,000 scouts, leaders and members from across Indonesia stood gloriously side by side filling up the entire stadium, in distinctive formal uniforms with red-and-white scarves proudly fastened around their necks.

Happy girl scouts during the opening ceremony
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016
Singing, dancing or saluting in harmony, one could not help but feel the excitement and pure joy of all participants – from club scouts to adult members to international visitors – eager for their week of learning, sharing ideas and making friends, to begin. Colourful and energetic performances from the provinces combined with some occasional earnest moments to pay respect to a fallen hero or to the national anthem, the spirit of friendship, unity and peace reigned over the entire camp.  
“Beautiful” simply said a smiling 14-year old Girl Scout from North Sulawesi about the opening ceremony snapping selfies with her friends. The friends Indah, Nanda, Viani and Miracle added “The opening ceremony was so interesting. There are many scouts with different religions but we are still able to be friends with each other”.
Girl Scouts from North Sulawesi
©UNICEF Indonesia/Ariunzaya Davaa/2016
UNICEF was there too, to help these young scouts to harness the same technology they use for selfies to raise their voices higher and louder in society, through the youth engagement platform U-Report. Recognizing the important role technology plays in adolescent and young people’s lives, UNICEF brought U-Report to the jamboree to encourage as many scouts to sign up as possible and get their voices heard.
The scout spirit and oath has not changed, but the technology was not the same as the last Jamboree five years ago. Walking around the grounds of Cibubur, enthusiasm and impatience of the young scouts filled the air, with their digital cameras, smart phones and iPads wanting to capture every single moment or share a selfie with someone they just met.
And there was plenty to capture. Rainbow of flags representing provinces raised on both sides of the pathway starting from the entrance all the way to the campsite. Hundreds of small camps – homes of the scouts for the next week - are set up across the camp ground; each have their distinctive entrance ways decorated with colourful banners, photos and slogans. The children singing, dancing and doing their scout routine can be found at the camps. Probably there will be hundreds of thousands of images snapped, shared, posted and tweeted by the participants over the week recording their journey and experience that will undeniable shape their lives and their future.
So if they’re going to be tweeting, snapping, sharing and posting anyway, why not make it really count?
U-Report Indonesia uses that same technology and social media to give young people an opportunity to speak out on the issues that they care about, through polls on specific topics and encouraging feedback. Pramuka Indonesia has 20 million members, so the National Jamboree was the perfect event to start spreading the word and encourage the scouts to join more than 2 million U-Reporters worldwide. Thousands of scouts are expected to participate in the interactive sessions each day, which will explain what U-Report is all about and how to use it in twitter and facebook to communicate and share information.

Even President of Indonesia Jokowi highlighted the vital role young people play in the country’s development in his opening remarks and called them to be strong, brave and positive. Standing gracious for the entire opening as the Head of the Ceremony, he also stated the importance of information technology and its proper use by young people. “Use social media to inspire young people to join the scouts. However, social media is not a tool for you to hurt or bully each other” he remarked.

President Jokowi delivers opening remarks
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016

Indeed, bullying is one of many subjects that U-Reporters can and already have shared their views about. The results show that 50 per cent of children in Indonesia are bullied at school. These statistics are important to understand the scope of a problem and its impact on children’s well-being so that the government and other stakeholders can make informed decisions to stop these harmful behaviours. U-Report Indonesia conducts weekly polls on topics such as these and ensures that the voices of poll participants makes their way to decision-makers.
There are currently over 27,000 active U-Reporters across Indonesia who have already raised their voices to influence national and even global discussions on issues that are relevant to them. Examples include polls on the Sustainable Development Goals prior to the UN General Assembly session in September 2015 where the SDGs were endorsed, and on priorities to address climate change, which were presented during the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, among others. Moreover, UNICEF used U-Report to gather children’s and adolescents’ input to a National Strategy on the Elimination of Violence in Childhood, which was launched by the Government in January this year. Around 4,000 children and young people (aged 14-25 years) participated in the poll.
Charged with youth spirit and excitement, the National Jamboree is truly one of a kind bringing together scouts from Indonesia and beyond to create memories and friendships for them to take home and cherish for a lifetime.  This year technology has brought the experience to a next level where the scouts are not only bringing hundreds of selfies back home, but most importantly the feeling of being empowered and being heard like never before.

Monday, August 15, 2016

And so it begins … on our way to 100,000 Indonesian U-reporters!


By Valerie Crab, UNICEF Indonesia, Programme Specialist (Innovations)


Taking selfies after the UReport sessions
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016
A sea of Scouts

14 August, 7h30 am, the sun is warming the sprawling campsite where President Widodo, several ministers and 2000 VIP guests, all dressed in their brown and beige uniforms, are patiently waiting. I had heard about the magnitude of the reach of the Scouts movement, a.k.a. Gerakan Pramuka, in Indonesia, but seeing 25000 scouts get ready to kick off their 10th National Jamboree really hit it home. Four full days and 48 sessions on U-report and Child’s Rights lie ahead of us.

It did not take long to get evidence of the impact U-report already has in Indonesia. Right off the bat, President Joko Widodo, as the Head of Pramuka, asked his 25,000 fellow scouts to use social media responsibly and to stop bullying on and off the net. Those of you who have been following U-report activities globally know that bullying has been part of a recent global poll.

This Jamboree also marks the beginning of the UNICEF–Pramuka adventure. The partnership will capitalise on the common goals the two organisations have and strengthen the capacities of Pramuka on child rights, WASH, nutrition and child protection. It marks the beginning of the scale up of U-report in Indonesia. The goal is to reach 100,000 scouts by mid-2017.

Selfies selfie selfie!

Clap clap clap … clap clap clap … clap clap clap clap! Jambore Jambore Jambore! 60 girls open the training session on U-report clapping their hands and shouting. They pay close attention to the message they are getting. They start understanding the U-report is a tool “to make adults listen”. They take out their smartphones and sign up through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. Those who do not have phones with them take notes diligently and pledge that they will sign up as soon as their phone has battery again.

But there is a twinkle in their eyes when they see the foreigners in the UNICEF tent. A tall Spanish photographer, a beautiful Mongolian lady and a blonde Belgian… what an attraction. So we used this opportunity to become local social media stars and exchanged selfies and signatures for U-report sign ups. Those who took part in the trainings not only got U-report goodies and stamps in their booklets for completing the activities, they got exclusive selfie access to the U-report foreigners. One selfie at a time the U-report community is growing.

Same same, but different

Scouts sign up to U-Report
(c) UNICEF Indonesia/Kate Rose/2016
Working with the Scouts at this particular event showed how this partnership will reach youth all over the country. It is evident in the way they dress as all the uniforms have a local design element. It is apparent in the entrance gates to their camp sites, which all promote aspects of local architecture and landscapes. Despite the differences, these kids all share clear common values and a drive for a future that is respecting of them. I found it thrilling to see that at one such event not only do we reach thousands of girls and boys, but we reach them nationwide and across all social divides. U-report will give them a platform to unite and make their voices heard as one.  

Keep up to date with U-Report!
https://www.facebook.com/UReportindonesia/
 https://twitter.com/UReport_id
 https://indonesia.ureport.in/

 
 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Transforming the lives of Indonesian children with Early Childhood Education

Students at KM 0 Early Childhood Care and Education Centre (ECCE) are facilitated by specially-trained teachers. (©UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Kinanti Pinta Karana)

A rare sound of children’s laughter can be heard at Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture where normally Government staff and their partners focus on developing and implementing education policies. A little girl carrying a doctor’s kit declares that she wants to be a pilot. “I also want to be a doctor, and a teacher,” she proudly tells the high-level delegation of officials from the Governments of Indonesia and New Zealand.

Around 30 children had gathered for the launch of a new Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) on the morning of July 18, 2016, jointly run by the Government of Indonesia and UNICEF, with support from the New Zealand Government through a US$2.8 million contribution over a period of four years.

Designed to develop models for quality assurance of community-based ECCE, the programme will reach 7,400 children aged 3-6 years in 100 community-based early childhood centres in Kupang District, in East Nusa Tenggara during the pilot phase. The children will benefit from literacy programmes, play activities and a supportive learning environment. Their parents will be able to access parenting programmes about child care, nutrition and how to help their children get ahead in their learning at home. All in all, it will help the children to be better prepared for primary school - with the help of 200 specially trained facilitators. Once replicated at national level, the quality assurance mechanism will benefit 16 million 3-6 year olds every single year.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sanitation as a matter of religious importance

By Aidan Cronin, Chief WASH, UNICEF Indonesia


It was a rare sight: members of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (in Indonesian known as Majelis Ulama Indonesia) in their distinctive peci hats sat alongside Government health officials from 13 provinces of Indonesia to discuss an unconventional topic: toilets.

Organised by the Minister of Health, the meeting unveiled an innovative approach to improve sanitation in Indonesia – a Fatwa, or Islamic decree by the Council which stresses the importance of good sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. The decree also allows the use of the Council’s charity funds (Zakat) to provide financial support to the poorest and most vulnerable families for better latrines.

Indonesia has a huge problem with open defecation, where people do not defecate in a toilet but in the open, on the beach, into river and so on. A WHO/UNICEF Report (2015) estimates that over 51 million people do not use latrines in the country – the second highest number in the world. However, open defecation is practised mostly by the poorest populations and they bear the heaviest burden. In particular, children - already vulnerable and marginalized - pay the highest price in terms of their survival and development.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New report highlights young peoples’ perspectives on Female Genital Mutilation


Nearly half of young people between the ages of 13 and 24 in Indonesia believe female genital mutilation (FGM) should be prohibited, according to an online poll conducted by UNICEF through its social media platform U-Report.

The report found that 44 per cent of respondents believe the practice should be stopped and 22 per cent believe it is a human rights violation or has negative health consequences. More than half of the respondents (54 per cent) believe that FGM is either a religious or cultural practice.

“We take these findings as an important indication that children and young people are interested in discussing this topic further and a significant number would like to see actors like all of us helping to put an end to this practice,” says Lauren Rumble, Deputy Representative for UNICEF Indonesia. “We may take this as a call to action from young people themselves, collaboration with religious and cultural leaders as well as other actors.”

Over 3,000 responses were received from people who mostly live in urban cities took part in the research. The respondents answered questions through UNICEF Indonesia’s Twitter-based polling platform @Ureport_ID.

The report recommends increasing the amount of information to young people and parents about FGM; conducting a public information campaign about the practice; and involving religious and community leaders as well as young people to raise awareness about the issue.

The social media report follows the first-ever release of data examining FGM in Indonesia, which shows around half of girls aged 11 and younger have undergone the practice. The government of Indonesia collected the data through a household survey and UNICEF Indonesia, in collaboration with UNICEF Headquarters in New York, released the data in February 2016 on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM/C.

To read the full report, click here.