Friday, 21 April 2017

A Lesson in Gratitude

By: Yoan Mei Dyandari - UNICEF Indonesia Fundraiser


Yoan Mei (center) shares stories with schoolchildren in Pantaran Village, West Sulawesi. ©UNICEF / 2017 


Visiting Mamuju, a city in West Sulawesi, was an exciting opportunity for me. I was lucky to get to join the UNICEF team and Masagena, a local NGO, on a visit to Pantaraan Village where a “One-Roof School” (SATAP) has been built.
 
Supported jointly by UNICEF and Masagena, the SATAP schools combine primary education (grades 1-6) and junior secondary education (grades 7-9) in one compound. The aim is to make the transition to secondary education both physically easier and financially more feasible for poor students living in remote and isolated areas.

Getting to this particular SATAP, however, was no walk in the park: The road was littered with sharp rocks and pocked by potholes. The sun burned with searing heat.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

My UNV Story: Ilham Akbar

By: Ilham Akbar, Technology, Youth & Innovation Officer

Ilham, right, takes part in assignment preparation in Colombo Sri Lanka
When I checked my email sometime in August 2016, I saw a subject line that that read: “NOW HIRING: Tech Jobs for Social Good”. Two of my favourite organizations, UNICEF and CISCO, were partnering! I decided to apply straightaway.

I had reasons for this. One was that I had successfully completed a Cisco certification on computer networking. Another was a burgeoning interest in volunteerism, which began early on in college when a friend asked me to join a student group at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, where I was studying for my bachelor’s degree.

This group, KOIN Malang, focuses on giving street children avenues for getting an education both inside and outside the classroom. When I first witnessed for myself the conditions under which street children live, I have to say it was a shock. Not just the poverty, but the lack of opportunity.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

There is Gold on the Tip of the Rattan Stick

By: Irna G. Setywati, STKIP Muhammadiyah Sorong

A boy takes notes during a regular school day in the Papua highlands
© Nick Baker/ UNICEF / 2015  
 
"There is gold on the tip of rattan stick”.  So goes a common proverb in Papua.

The proverb is especially popular among primary school teachers in coastal areas like Makbon and Sorong – invoked to justify disciplining children by hitting them with a stick.


Late last year, grade teachers and principals at four schools in Makbon subdistrict, Sorong, received training on positive discipline.

Positive discipline involves providing positive reinforcement for good choices as well as consequences for misbehaviour. The training equips teachers with an alternative to corporal or physical punishment for managing students’ attendance and behaviour in the classroom.

Wilhelmina, a third grade teacher from Malaumkarta Primary School, recalled the training with a smile. She used the example of one of her students, Simon, who was absent for a month but had recently returned to school.

“I used to raise my voice when asking my students why they were absent. Today, I’ve changed the way I communicate with Simon,” she said.
“I wanted him to not be afraid of me, and I believed that if I spoke to him politely and with respect, he would come to school regularly.”

Mery, a first grade teacher in Makbon, also shared her story. Prior to the training she would bring a rattan stick to class. She would either hit it on the table for attention or strike students for misbehaving – even for failing to complete their homework.

Following the training, Mery abandoned the stick and introduced a reward system to incentivize good behaviour. She said the reward system was a much more effective method for keeping order in the classroom.


“I used to use the stick to keep students quiet because it was difficult to manage them. But now they follow the classroom [reward system] agreement so I no longer use the rattan,” she explained.

Neither Wilhelmina nor Mery knew about positive discipline before the UNICEF training. They now have a greater understanding of how corporal punishment damages young people, and an appreciation for how compassion and positive reinforcement can mold children’s character and self-esteem.

Without a greater awareness of the negative effects of corporal punishment, both agreed that violence against children will persist in schools.

Mobile Health Pilot Boosting Immunization in Urban Java

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer


Karin Hulshof wipes a tear away from a child who will soon receive a health checkup at a local health post in West Jakarta. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017  

The line curls out of the door and into the alley, where dozens of mothers stand patiently, cradling newborns under an early morning drizzle.

“I’ll wait for the line to thin out and take my baby in later,” Eka* told UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific (EAPRO) Regional Director Karin Hulshof in her doorstep during Karin’s visit to Indonesia last week, her first as EAPRO Regional Director.

Like other young mothers in this West Jakarta slum, Eka looks forward to the opening of the posyandu (community-level health post) each month. “The difference is I’m not so eager to get wet,” she laughed.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Planting PAUD Hope in Papua

By: Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

 

Sorong, Papua Province, Indonesia -  Just 15 minutes east of the Sorong port sits STIKP Muhammadiyah Sorong, a serene teacher’s college awash in the blues of the sea.

Between two mid-campus ponds, Herman, a third-semester student at the college, winces as he relays an early school memory.
 
“We often didn’t even have paper to use [at school],” he says, one hand twirling pen strokes, the other scratching an ear. “So we took notes on our thighs instead.”
 
Peers were left to wonder: How many words even fit on a five-year-old’s knee?
 
“I want to return home after graduating [to teach],” Herman continued. “You know, half the time, the teacher didn’t even bother to show up.”