Tuesday, 19 September 2017

RapidPro: a secret weapon behind the Measles-Rubella campaign

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Fatul and Akhsan show off Akhsan’s purple thumb at the village health post, indicating he’s has already received his MR vaccine  © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Semarang: “Akhsan’s mother works at the garment factory during the day, I work nights,” says Fathul in Regunang, Central Java, a shady, rolling village in sight of Mt. Merbabu, a 3,145m volcano rising slowly from the hills. 

“It’s just me here today.”

He and 3-year-old son Akhsan are the lone father/child pair on the lawn of the village health post, but they are at ease; like the 30 mother/child pairs, they’ve come for Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccines -- two diseases that, while entirely preventable, can be deadly to children. 

“Did it hurt? Fathul asks Akhsan, who is busy watching throngs of toddlers in various stages of fear and relief, seemingly amused by the commotion. Akhsan shakes his head no. “He didn’t cry once! Fathul boasts. “Not once!”

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Vaccine for Tian and the dreams of Indonesian children

By Dinda Veska, PSFR Communication Officer


Tian (6). His inked little finger means he has received Measles and Rubella vaccine. @Dinda Veska/UNICEF Indonesia/2017
Surabaya: It’s not much past dawn and Tian is already at school. Unlike the majority of his classmates, he’s excited.

Today is vaccination day at Serba Guna Kindergarten in Tegal Sari, Surabaya, and most children dreaded the day; as health officers arrived, their shrill cries fill the room. Not Tian, though; he has looked forward to it.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

In West Java, learning to play, playing to learn

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Alifah plays outside her preschool with her mother © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Bogor: "When we color, we have to go slow because Alifah loves it so much she doesn’t want to stop,” says Neng Selphia, 29, a teacher at Aisyayah Baiturrahman Preschool and Kindergarten in the West Java district of Leuwiliang.

Shy by nature, Alifah lights up when it’s time to draw. Of all the colors, she says red is her favorite.

It is 10 am and the sun is already high in the sky, the humid air seemingly on boil. Alifah sits with six 4-year-olds sit on the floor eating an early lunch of bubur ayam (rice porridge), her doting mother an arm’s length away.

In a booming alto, Neng tries to keep the children from crawling over the desks: “What is a word that begins with ‘A’?” she queries. “Ayah, (father)!” one child shouts, the only to respond.

For the most part, however, Neng is keeping children focused on how to glue paper to paper -- and from wandering outside.

“We need more training on how to approach every kind of child, those that get angry, those that cry, etc.” Neng says. Cluttered shelves full of half-colored paper and two sets of faded color wood blocks sit behind her, badly needing upgrading.

Only a few of Bogor’s preschools – which have some of the lowest preschool attendance rates in Java – have teachers with undergraduate degrees. And fewer still have teachers with training on how to teach preschool.

“We need more evaluations [of our performance as teachers], too,” Neng adds.

Early education pilot

As part of a new 3-year, UNICEF-led ECD initiative funded by IKEA, Neng and hundreds of other teachers in Bogor will receive training on dynamic, age-appropriate teaching methods. Schools will also receive funds to improve teaching tools, upgrade classrooms and make them safer for children like Alifa.

At Aisyayah Baiturrahman, the money will likely go to replace an asbestos roof and upgrade flimsy plywood walls. “The walls can fall down if children push on them, and that makes me afraid they might get hurt,” Neng says.

The programme will support 100 ECD centres in the district improve all aspects of their instruction, “helping teachers and parents nurture the social. emotional and cognitive foundations necessary for children to develop to their potential,” says Meliana Istanto, UNICEF Indonesia Education Officer.

The idea is to instill an appreciation for ‘playing as learning’ among teachers and parents alike, and to save literacy skills for Kindergarten, when the brain is more developed and such instruction becomes empowering. Studies show such an approach to preschool is one of the best ways to give every child an equal chance to succeed in life.

Getting parents on board can be a challenge, however. They get confused, says Misem Hidaya (who manages 10 of the area preschools and holds a bachelor’s degree in preschool education), if preschool teachers don’t make reading and writing skills a priority.

“They can consider it a waste of money,” Misem says, alluding to the $4 USD monthly fees that supplement the government's small operational funds to keep preschools up and running. “It is important for us [teachers] to explain to them [parents] that this [preschool] is not primary school – it is an education that is appropriate to their ages,” she adds.

Such age-appropriate learning means structured playtime that emphasizes the development of motor skills and social awareness.

In Alifa’s case, her mother, Reni, says she can tell drawing and coloring among her peers helps her build independence.

“I hope preschool will help her become smarter, to become more confident in herself,” she adds.

It is a hope shared by hundreds of other families who stand to benefit from the new preschool programme in the district.

“I hope Alifah will be more ambitious than me. She’s already getting braver.”


Monday, 28 August 2017

Haze-proofing in Indonesian Borneo

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Simple materials like these were used to test the efficacy of low-cost air sealing methods with partners in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, a haze hotspot © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Palangka Raya: Locals in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, say haze gets so bad they sometimes can’t get home.

“I fish for a living,” says Ipung, a lissome father of two who lives on the edge of the Rungan River, 40 minutes upstream from Palanga Raya. “When the haze came we suffered; children missed school, and we all got coughs.”

His village of Katimpun lies close by the annual peat fires that shroud parts of Kalimantan -- Indonesia's portion of the island of Borneo -- in blankets of haze every year. Since December 2016, UNICEF has been working to find ways to help families like Ipung’s keep their children safe from the acrid smoke.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Justice for Kids in Banda Aceh

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Yudha looks out from the window at the LPKS social services centre © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Banda Aceh: When the cops came knocking 17-year-old Yudha was on the couch with his uncle and no time to run.

“They took me outside and asked me where I got the drugs,” Yudha said, picking at his nails at the facility in Aceh where he’s now being held.
He and his uncle had just finished smoking meth (or sabu-sabu as it is known locally) and both were in a drug-addled fog. “I told them I got the sabu-sabu from my friends,” Yudha said.


Yudha now admits he procured the meth himself. He says he’d been smoking it casually since middle school, but after his parents split up the habit began to grow; he stopped going to school, avoided going home and, in part to fuel his nascent addiction, began dealing.


In a country known for strict drug laws, the prospect of Yudha going to prison, even as a juvenile, was real. Though alternatives like social rehabilitation have grown in recent decades, thousands of children are still in prisons.


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Nationwide Measles-Rubella immunization campaign kicks off

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer


Students play outside their school prior to the start of the Measles-Rubella immunization campaign launch event in Sleman, Yogyakarta. The immunization push is part of the Government’s pledge to eliminate Measles and Rubella by 2020. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Yogyakarta: The Government of Indonesia kicked off its most ambitious immunization drive to date this week in Yogyakarta, with aims to vaccinate 35 million children in Java against Measles and Rubella (MR) by the end of next month. Another 35 million children will be targeted in all other provinces in August and September 2018.

The launch event, held at State Islamic Junior High School 10 in Sleman, Yogyakarta, was officiated by President Joko Widodo.  “We all have a duty as parents, and a duty as the State to protect our children, to make sure they’re healthy,” Jokowi told hundreds of Yogyakartans gathered at the school. “Parents, schools – we all need to explain that immunization is important for our children.

 

President Jokowi stops by a classroom and sits with students awaiting their MR vaccines. The Government will administer the MR vaccine to any child between the ages of 9 months and 15 years free of charge and integrate the vaccine into the standard package of immunizations. The goal is to achieve 95 per cent coverage by the end of September 2018 and to eliminate both diseases by 2020. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017.



A young girl receives her MR vaccination, which prevents both diseases and has been used in more than 141 countries in the world. The vaccinations will be administered in schools in the month of August. In September, the immunizations will move to local health centres and health posts. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017.


Grace Melia, founder of the online parents’ community Rumah Ramah Rubella, speaks about the challenge of caring for her daughter Aubrey, who was born with a severe case of Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). While the symptoms are mild in children and adults, when contracted by pregnant women, Rubella can cause miscarriage or CRS which can harm foetal development causing disabilities like heart defects, brain tissue damage, eye cataracts, deafness and developmental delays.
© Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017


From left to right, President Jokowi, First Lady Iriana, Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani, and Minister of Health Nina Moeloek converse with three students at the end of the campaign launch event. Most schools in Indonesia have agreed to administer the immunization. In a small number of communities, however, misinformation has given rise to the idea that vaccines are considered haram, or forbidden by Islam. UNICEF has worked closely with the Government to counter this myth with an outreach strategy that highlights widespread Muslim acceptance of immunizations. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fighting Malnutrition with Community-Based Treatment

By Blandina Bait, Nutrition Officer


UNICEF is supporting the Government of Indonesia to implement the CMAM nutrition programme © UNICEF / 2017

Two-year-old Alfredo had been suffering from persistent diarrhoea for two days when his worried mother, Yosina, took him to the village health center, known as a puskesmas, near their rural farming community in East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia.

The boy was very weak and looked pale; the health worker on duty confirmed that Alfredo had severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

“I was torn and shocked to learn that Alfredo was suffering from severe acute malnutrition,” said Yosina. She was even more alarmed to learn that SAM made Alfredo more vulnerable to diseases which could lead to death.

Yosina did not hesitate when the health worker advised her to enrol him in the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme for children aged 6-59 months. Though the cost of the one-hour round trip ($4) to the puskesmas for Alfredo’s weekly treatment would be a significant expenditure for the family of subsistence rice farmers, she and her husband agreed it was important for the sake of Alfredo’s future.

Roots Day Takes Aim at Bullying in Makassar

By Derry Fahrizal Ulum, Child Protection Officer



Students and I during Roots Day activities at one of the photo booths © Derry Ulum / 2017 

Makassar:“I believe that making friends with everybody is a good way to overcome [the problem of] bullying. When we show our closest friends how to behave positively, it influences all students to want to change just like us”.

The above statement was made by one of 30 student ‘change-makers’ during ‘Roots Day’ at SMPN 37 Middle School in Makassar, a regional port town in the southwest of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Roots Day is the culmination of a student-to-student school anti-violence initiative piloted by UNICEF that seeks to eliminate bullying to optimize learning and enhance student safety.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Adolescents take action; adults listen

By Liz Pick, Communications Specialist

The adolescents of Oeletsala village, Kupang, gained new confidence to speak up and voice their ideas through the 'adolescent circle'' © UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Liz Pick

“It’s definitely never happened before. I never thought adults would ever listen to children’s ideas. But the head of the village did listen to us and now we have an easier life.”

So says 17-year-old Ina who lives in Oeletsala village near Kupang, a city in the western end of Timor Island in Eastern Indonesia. She and about 40 others from three nearby villages are part of a pilot programme to help adolescents learn to recognise risks in their environment and identify potential solutions using UNICEF’s Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Monitoring Air Quality: Zeroing in on the Haze Problem

By Vania Santoso – Innovations Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer 

The LaserEgg gives users real-time air quality readings so they can protect themselves from haze and other air pollution © UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Vania Santoso

If someone you trusted told not to go outside because the air was dangerous to breathe, what would you do?


Last March, I went on a four-day mission to Palangka Raya, Kalimantan, ground zero for Indonesia’s haze-blasting agricultural fires, to determine whether real-time air quality monitoring systems might be of use.

In particular, I wanted to gauge interest in small, easy-to-carry air quality monitoring devices, such as the LaserEgg, with potential to provide information about air pollution levels to protect users’ health. What I found is that locals were interested in this type of technology due to its portability and easy readability. But real-world experience had taught them technology was only useful when used properly.

First, I talked to Sadrah and Vivia, two airport workers at Tjilik Riwut Airport. They shrugged off the LaserEgg’s PSI 115 “Unhealthy”’ reading not far from the tarmac. “It’s okay, we’ve seen worse,” Sadrah said. “Back in 2015, when much of Kalimantan was enveloped in a toxic yellow haze, visibility was only some 10 meters,” Vivia recalled.

Lody (left) introduced Laser Egg Air Quality Monitor to Arief, Sadrah, and Bayu © UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Vania Santoso
The next day I met Pak John Pieter from the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency. He’s been working on forest fire prevention since 2006. When Lody, a colleague from PulseLab Jakarta, asked him whether an air quality monitor might be useful, Pak John replied, “Well, it tells us information that is good to know. But just knowing something doesn’t change behaviour.”

He compared haze to smoking cigarettes: “People know that it is dangerous, but still do it anyway…they don’t think about the long-term effects.”

Members of Relindo, a volunteer group, made similar points. Local coordinator Pak Joko said the city was already equipped with a downtown air quality reader. “In the past, even when the ISPU showed that levels were ‘dangerous’…people still went about their lives without a mask.” He argued that what was needed was increased government efforts to change behaviours during haze.

Hindris, another Relindo member, said such awareness-raising was crucial. “During the haze, we distributed N95 Masks to people living in affected areas, but they didn’t know how to use them, or what to use them for. Some even complained they were unable to breathe, preferring to cover their mouths with cloth…it was our job to educate them and make them aware of the dangers of not using the masks,” he said.

Pak Joko, Himmam, and Hindris from Relindo © UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Vania Santoso

Our interviewees all seemed to agree that a portable air quality monitor was just a tool. It is equally important to make sure the public knows how to put that knowledge into practice.

“Monitors like the LaserEgg give the public the data to make an informed decision about when to protect themselves. But it doesn’t tell them how and it doesn’t tell them why,” said UNICEF Indonesia Innovations Specialist Valerie Crab.

“Finding ways to trigger behaviour change with answers to those questions will be another innovations challenge,” she added.

Disclosure: The LaserEgg was given as a sample to UNICEF Indonesia by Origins, its distributor in Indonesia. Devices like this tell the user whether the particulate matter in a given location is Good (PSI 0-50), Moderate (PSI 51-100), Unhealthy (PSI 101-200), Very Unhealthy (PSI 201-300), or Hazardous (PSI 301 +). It color-codes these readings for easy comprehension.

Friday, 16 June 2017

BCA and UNICEF continue to partner for children


UNICEF Indonesia’s longest-standing corporate partner of 17 years, Bank BCA, travelled with UNICEF late last April to conduct financial literacy and personal hygiene workshops with students at two elementary schools in Sorong, West Papua, where they engaged with the students and teachers who benefit from the child-friendly school programme. The team also visited community-based early childhood development centres in Raja Ampat, West Papua. Coverage in local media was strong, follow the links below for more details on this successful trip.

English:
https://www.pressreader.com/indonesia/the-jakarta-post/20170603/281586650560148

Indonesian:


http://biz.kompas.com/read/2017/06/02/170155628/inilah.manfaat.edukasi.literasi.keuangan.anak.usia.dini

https://kompas.id/baca/adv_post/pentingnya-edukasi-literasi-keuangan-sejak-dini/

http://bisnis.news.viva.co.id/news/read/922134-inilah-manfaat-edukasi-literasi-keuangan-anak-usia-dini

https://photo.sindonews.com/view/22415/bca-berikan-edukasi-literasi-keuangan-untuk-anak-papua

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Stopping Rubella in Its Tracks

By Dinda Veskarahmi, Fundraising Communication Officer

Aris (7) at school after recovering from Rubella

Central Java: Aris had just gotten home from school when the fever hit. His mother, a local health volunteer, did what she could, giving him medicine and applying a cold compress to his forehead, but to no avail; the 38°C fever would not relent.

The next morning, Aris was taken to a nearby health centre in Klaten, Central Java, where his blood was drawn and sent to a nearby city for tests. The results came back several days later: Aris had tested positive for Rubella.

His mother, Diah, was extremely worried; she had heard the virus was contagious and could cause cataracts or loss of hearing. But fortunately for Aris, Rubella is usually a mild disease for children. It is babies in the womb that face the greatest danger.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Pushing Haze Safety for Indonesian Kids

By: Vania Santoso – Innovations Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer

Students walk along a street as they are released from school to return home earlier due to the haze in Jambi, Indonesia’s Jambi province © Antara Foto/Wahdi Setiawan/Reuters/29 September 2015

Palangkaraya: “Haze made me feel like I don’t want to be here anymore, ever!” said Gibran, a fourth-grader from Palangkaraya, East Kalimantan.

It wasn’t easy to listen to Gibran recount life during the 2015 haze in his corner of Indonesian Borneo, a weekslong event some have called the 21st century’s worst environmental disaster. In his village, the haze got so bad he and his family couldn’t stay. They were evacuated hundreds of kilometres away to Java, where they stayed for some two months with his grandmother.

Helping Jasmine

By: Felice Bakker, JPO, Child Protection

As part of UNICEF Indonesia’s approach to modelling scalable interventions, I am documenting good birth registration practices at our nine pilot sites across Indonesia.  On this occasion, I was able to meet with a family who benefited from UNICEF’s pilot in Makassar, where partnerships are facilitated with local NGO’s to register vulnerable children, including those with disabilities.

Jasmine (left) poses with the author (center), her two children and friend Irma at home in Makassar
Makassar: Jasmine* is quadriplegic. So are her two youngest children. Her three-year-old daughter Nur needs to be carried, while her five-year-old son Ali has to walk on all fours.

During antenatal visits to hospitals in years past, doctors told Jasmine that a disabled mother couldn’t possibly raise children the right way, advising her to use contraceptives to avoid future pregnancies. Needless to say, Jasmine disagreed.

To learn more about Jasmine’s life as a mother with disability and the challenges she faces, a colleague and I visited her at her home in Makassar, South Sulawesi. She greeted us warmly at the door, inviting us inside to meet her three children, whose laughter could already be heard from the street.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Empowering midwives with INFOBIDAN

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Two midwives demonstrate how to access the information held on the INFOBIDAN website. © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

East Java: “With INFOBIDAN, we have the proof at our fingertips!” hollers Sri Utami, a village-based midwife in eastern Java, just making herself heard above the noise.

Steps away, seven women lead a boisterous chant – “INFOBIDAN, yes! INFOBIDAN yes!” – hoping to have already convinced the 100 midwives who have gathered to sign up for the new mobile application.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

#IniSuaraku: What Young People Think about Access to Reproductive Care

By Vania Santoso, Youth Engagement Officer

Young people got busy on their mobile phones to voice their opinions during the Adolescent Summit © UNICEFIndonesia/2017/Achmad Rifai

Yogyakarta: Each year, 1 June marks the Global Day of Parents, a day emphasizing the critical role of parents in the rearing of children. Children need to be nurtured and protected; no child should be a parent.

Thinking about this made me recall my experience at the National Adolescent Summit in Yogyakarta in March 2017 which aimed to address the issue of unplanned teen pregnancy.  

Some 70 young people, selected from 25 of Indonesia's 34 provinces, engaged in intense discussions on adolescent reproductive health access with representatives from the Government of Indonesia, UN agencies and NGOs. 

Naturally, in the "Twitter Capital of the World", debates spilled over onto social media. It was amazing to see young people boldly voicing their opinions and taking a stand on these sensitive issues, both online and offline. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Sweden's Queen Silvia puts Indonesian children front and centre

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Sweden’s Queen Silvia accepts a “Dream Map” describing the aspirations of nine youngsters during her state visit to Indonesia on May 24th, 2017.
© Cory Rogers/UNICEF / 2017.

Jakarta: “I want to be the first Indonesian to touch the moon!” proclaimed Ikhsan, a fifth-grade boy from the crowded neighbourhood of Manggarai, South Jakarta.

Sitting nearby, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden must have seemed an unlikely visitor to this urban slum, where children often lack the residency papers to attend primary school, let alone pursue a degree in something like astrophysics.

“I want to become an astronaut!” Ikhsan continued, peppering his Bahasa Indonesian with a healthy dose of English. “But here, not many children even know what astronomy is.”

How might the Queen help kids like him realize such a dream? he wondered. And what might Indonesia be able to do?

The Cold Chain Guru of NTT

By Ermi Ndoen, EPI Officer

Ariel gives a presentation at a UNICEF-supported cold chain workshop and training in NTT province ©Ermi Ndoen/UNICEF/2017
Ende: It’s just a normal day in the life of Johanis Rihi Leo, known as “Ariel,” who always has somewhere to be.  

“I’ve got to go fix three cold chain refrigerators right away,” said Ariel, before rushing off from Ende in Flores to Kefamenanu in Timor Tengah (TTU) District, a hilly district on the eastern island of Timor hundreds of kilometers away.
 
Ariel oversees cold chain integrity for the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Provincial Health Agency, ensuring vaccines headed for local health centres stay cold from point of manufacture to point of use – no mean feat in a tropical country where high temperatures make constant refrigeration costly.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Menstruation matters for boys as well as girls

By: Liz Pick, Communication Specialist


The cover of the What is Menstruation? comic book for boys ©UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Tongeng


On 28 May, people around the world will mark Menstrual Hygiene Day calling for greater awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential. 

UNICEF Indonesia is joining the global voices to encourage education about menstruation to be extended to boys as well as girls. Some might ask: ‘But menstruation happens to girls, why do boys also need to know about it?’ 

Monday, 15 May 2017

‘All Children have the Right to an Identity’: Registering Babies in Flores

By: Cory Rogers, Communication Officer 

  
Maumere, Flores: A 20-foot statue of the late John Paul II towers over the entrance to Bishop Girulfuls Kherubim Pareira’s office in Maumere, a town of 160,000 people deep in Indonesia’s Catholic heartland of Flores.

It was under John Paul II that the Vatican made social work a core mission of the Church; and here in Maumere, that vision remains potent, creating opportunities for UNICEF and Government to do more for children.
“We know we can’t just talk about spiritual needs at the Church,” said Msgr. Girulfis, who heads the Diocese of Maumere. “When you look at the condition of our people, it is clear we have to speak to their material needs too."

Friday, 12 May 2017

Youth Seek Seat at the Table on SDGs

By: Niken Larasati, Child Protection Officer
Ms. Hulshof, (center rear) joins the UNICEF team and youth participants for a photo following the forum.
©Raditya Henrile / UNICEF /2017

“People often discuss what should be done for people with disabilities, but they don’t often include us in their discussions,” Panji Surya Sahetapy of the Indonesian Association for Welfare of the Deaf said through an interpreter.

His message, delivered during a youth forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was clear – in conversations about disability rights, people with disability need to be heard.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Champions4Children Call on Indonesia to Place Children at Heart of Development

By Liz Pick, Communications Specialist


The Champions4Children and Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Susana Yembise (fourth from right) pose with UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson (third from right) and five young girls at the event in South Jakarta.
©Raditya Henrile / UNICEF/2017 


Jakarta: It is Sunday afternoon in Jakarta, a city of 10 million people, and it feels like most of them are at the Kota Kasablanka shopping mall.

“Children are our future leaders. They are the ones who will bring change to Indonesia in 25 years, in 50 years,” Indonesia’s Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohana Yembise says, looking at a group of current leaders.

Sitting in the front row are a group of prominent Indonesians – leaders of government, business, civil society, the arts and academia – who have each committed to use their influence to fight for children’s rights in Indonesia. These are the UNICEF Indonesia Champions4Children.

The event is part of the Jakarta Marketing Week 2017, put on every year by UNICEF’s Business Champion, Hermawan Kartajaya and his company MarkPlus. On this busy Sunday, the audience is primarily families and it is to them that the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohanna Yembise, speaks.

She urges all Indonesians to work together to end child marriage, end violence against children and empower young people to shape their future.

“We need to work together to protect all of Indonesia’s children – without discrimination. That’s my role as Minister. I hope you are all committed to join me in protecting our children and our future.”

The Champions are here to inspire ordinary people to take action that address the challenges children in Indonesia continue to face. Each one of them has a simple message to share with the audience – a message about working together now to protect the future.

One of the Champions is rising film star Dion Wiyoko. As a presenter of a popular TV travel show, he has explored many different corners of Indonesia. His passion for protecting this beautiful country comes through clearly as he speaks about his drive to improve sanitation and hygiene practices for a safer, healthier environment.

“I want everyone to know about UNICEF’s Tinju Tinja campaign,” he says. “During my trips through Indonesia, again and again I am surprised by how many people still defecate in the open because they don’t have a latrine. Many children fall sick or even die because of health problems caused by this.”

“The solution is not only building toilets, it’s also educating people to use them,” Dion says. “They need to know what the dangers are, what the impact is. We have to convince people everywhere to end open defecation.”

Dion helped launching the second phase of Tinju Tinja (which translates loosely as “Punch the Poo”) and plans on using his considerable social media presence to increase its outreach into communities across the country, when the campaign will be re-launched later this year.

Predictably, master storytelling teacher Ariyo Zidni has the crowd’s full attention as he talks about the importance of tapping into children’s creativity for their educational development. One way he does this is by facilitating storytelling workshops to provide psychosocial trauma healing for children and adolescents affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, emergencies that happen regularly in Indonesia.
 
Champions4Children Dion Wiyoko (right) and M. Farhan (left) talk children's rights at the event in Jakarta.
©Raditya Henrile / UNICEF/2017 
 
As well as lecturing at the University of Indonesia, Ariyo is currently collaborating with UNICEF on a project to empower young people through digital storytelling to find solutions to problems caused by climate change.

Speaking after the event he says working with UNICEF has given him access to a wealth of information and data about children’s rights which has helped him better understand the issues children face in Indonesia and to improve his own practice accordingly.

“I support UNICEF because we have the same idea about the need to put children at the centre of Indonesia’s agenda,” he says. “As adults, we need to see through children’s eyes and look at the world from their perspective for all new ideas and designs.”

Likewise, well-known radio and TV broadcaster, M. Farhan says he supports UNICEF because its work for children aligns closely with his own core beliefs.

“UNICEF has important values and it works to help children’s rights from protection against harm and abuse through to education. That way, when they grow up they can also protect and fulfil the rights of the next generation of children.”

Farhan is a strong advocate for healthy living, education, and economic development to empower youth to achieve a better future for themselves. Proving he practices the healthy lifestyle he preaches, he shows photos from a triathlon he competed in while encouraging the audience to “be moved to move”.

“I want people not only to be moved and show empathy, but also to literally move and take action,” he says.

A murmur goes through the audience as the daughter of late President of Indonesia Gus Dur, Yenny Wahid takes to the stage. An active member of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest independent Islamic organization with 70 million members, Ibu Yenny has become a well-known social activist for inter-faith and multicultural dialogue in her own right.

She addresses the parents in the audience, urging them to listen to their children and teach them positive values so they can navigate today’s world.

“Parents need to maintain an open communication with their children. We can’t just tell them bedtime stories and then keep with our busy schedules. Communication is key. Otherwise, our children will not come to us when they have problems.”

Recently, the acclaimed former journalist gave her support to UNICEF during World Immunisation Week to encourage parents of all faiths to vaccinate their children against preventable diseases like measles and rubella.

Closing the event, Minister Yembise invited the Champions to her office to talk about how they can collaborate to implement children’s rights.

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.