Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Annual Report

 Welcome to UNICEF Indonesia's Annual Report 2017

Please download the full report here: English Bahasa Indonesia
SDGs Begin With Children
In her foreword, our Representative Gunilla Olsson mentions several programmes that you can read about or watch some great short videos, by clicking the links below.

At UNICEF, we believe sustainable development begins with children, and this year we came one step closer to making children more more visible in the SDGs. Together with the Government, we produced the SDG Baseline Report on Children in Indonesia, generating evidence that can be used to inform policy decisions.
You can download the full report, and explore the online dashboard here:
Bahasa Indonesia
SDG Online Dashboard

In Java we have trained midwives to use the Infobidan platform, so now over 20,000 women at the forefront of a newborn baby's care, have access to crucial information and advice, just by using their mobile phones.
You can read all about the programme here:
Bahasa Indonesia

We worked hard this year to give young people a voice and hear their views. Over 110,000 young people are now dialoguing with each other and decision makers (through the platform 'U-Report') to promote improved investments in children's wellbeing. Read about some of their results here:
Bahasa Indonesia

We also conducted a completely voluntary and first-of-its-kind wellbeing survey:
Pioneering survey asks 8-12-year-old Indonesians: what's life like?

A new report on data on monetary and multidimensional child poverty, produced together with the Central Bureau of Statistics, highlights inequities across the country. The report underpins the introduction of universal child grants by local governments in Aceh and Papua.
Download the full report here:
Bahasa Indonesia

30,000 adolescent girls and boys are now benefitting from increased knowledge and awareness about menstruation, helping to break through patterns of discrimination and keep girls in school. Watch a video about what they're learning here: MHM Awareness

An innovative SMS-based monitoring platform facilitated rapid response for the immunization of 35 million children during the Measles and Rubella campaign, led by the Ministry of Health. The platform is being replicated for interventions against malaria, HIV and other diseases. Read about the platform here:
Bahasa Indonesia

The successful implementation of a pilot literacy programme, leading to a twofold increase in literacy amongst early grade children in remote areas of Papua and West Papua.Watch the video here: Papua Reads

A new bullying prevention programme, led by adolescents in schools in Makassar, already resulting in a reduction by almost 30 per cent in bullying. Read about it here:
Bahasa Indonesia

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Magic of School Libraries in Papua

by Joel Bacha, Accelerator Project Director, Room to Read

@UNICEF/2018/STKIP/Sorong: SD Inpres 55 Klamono. School library after revitalization

Getting off the plane in Sorong in March, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was there to visit schools involved in the DFAT-funded initiative:  Rural and Remote Education Initiative for Papuan Provinces program.  Whatever lay ahead though, I was excited to see some of the adaptations the UNICEF team and partners had made to our school library methodology to meet the needs of schools in rural and remote areas with fewer resources. 

Room to Read has had the pleasure of sharing our methodologies with UNICEF through our partner Yayasan Literasi Anak Indonesia (YLAI), based in Bali.  Through our collaboration together, the UNICEF team and partners have developed 77 children’s books for the children of Papua and established libraries in 24  schools across 6 districts.  It is this collaboration that laid the foundation for an incredible visit to Papua. 

@UNICEF/2018/STKIP/Sorong: SD Inpres 55 Klamono. School library after  revitalization

Over the course of two days, we visited four schools.  We traveled on bumpy, windy roads and across bridges hovering over rocky forest-covered ravines.  Near Sorong, we visited SD Inpres 55 Klamono  about an hour outside of the city in a semi-rural area and SD Inpres 7 Makbon about three more hours out in a much more remote part of the district.  In the Jayapura area, we visited SD YPK Amai on the coast and SD YPK Wambenain the hills. 

What struck me first were the children who were visiting the libraries – the smiles on their faces as they walked over to the shelves, chose a book and then sat down on the floor to read intently.  When asking a 3rd grader at SD Inpres 7 Makbon what he likes about the library he answered, “there are so many books to choose from, I can read about anything. Even magic.”  This is the same level of joy we often witness among children in other countries – Nepal, Cambodia and Tanzania, for example – when visiting the libraries in their schools.  Similarly, in Papua, some schools had book check out systems set up for children to borrow books for one week at a time. 

The main difference with the libraries in Papua were the resources provided by UNICEF.  To promote sustainability, UNICEF provided schools only with the training and the storybook collection. It was then up to the school communities to provide the other resources.  There, the schools had to get creative – many found ways to use their existing shelving to house the books, most schools purchased notebooks to create their checkout system and other schools involved persons from the local community to paint murals on the walls to transform the library into a bright and vibrant child-friendly reading space. 

@UNICEF/2018/STKIP/Sorong: SD Inpres 7 Makbon. School library after  revitalization
The other stark difference that one will notice in all the schools we visited is that the libraries are functioning in a school system with very high levels of teacher and principal absenteeism.  School absenteeism is a huge challenge in Papua and an issue that UNICEF and partners are working with the local government to address.  In one of the schools near Jayapura, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade teachers were absent on the day we visited.  On this day, these students had their textbooks open in their classrooms and were studying on their own without a teacher.  To complement, the school security guard opened the library for the children to use during breaks.  In this particular school, the magic of the library offered another safe child-friendly learning space for children to use when their teachers were absent from school.  

Having been sharing strategies to support early grades literacy in Indonesia with Monika Nielsen since early 2015, it was wonderful to finally see some of those results in action. With the UNICEF program now in its third year, a trip to Papua to visit the program was a must.

@UNICEF/2018/STKIP/Sorong: SD Inpres 7 Makbon. School library after revitalization


globally, in the area of literacy, Room to Read collaborates with local communities, partner organizations and governments in 14 countries to ensure that primary school children can become independent readers. In Indonesia, Room to Read is currently sharing the lessons we have learned with Indonesia NGOs and local publishers to support two areas of the early grades literacy agenda: 1) fostering a habit of reading by establishing high-functioning school libraries and conducting effective reading activities in schools; and 2) increasing the amount of reading material for children by developing age-appropriate and culturally relevant storybooks.  As the UNICEF program in Papua focuses on literacy instruction in Grades 1, 2 and 3 classrooms, at its core, our programs are highly complementary.  

Monday, 5 March 2018

Yosua finds his voice

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

Yosua, 14, from Pringsewu, Lampung © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

Lampung: Last year, Yosua watched as, one after another, his friends began dropping out of school.

Erratic rains were causing rice crops either to wither, or to drown, and with the drop in yields, many families could no longer afford school fees. 

“My father said we had to fight for my education,” Yosua says in his home village of Panggungrejo in southern Sumatra Island. “So I stayed in school.”

Monday, 26 February 2018

‘I was one of the lucky ones’: a politician steps out on child marriage

Ibu Suraidah, head of the Mamuju parliament © Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer

West Sulawesi: In wet-season West Sulawesi Province, rainclouds drift east from sea to land, drenching groves of cacao trees in thick sheets of rain.

It’s a reliable cycle that makes West Sulawesi a top producer of chocolate. 

But here, 4 flying hours east of Jakarta, a separate, social cycle, is watering a bitter harvest.

“Every day, 375 girls are married in Indonesia,” says Amanda Bissex, UNICEF Indonesia Chief of Child Protection. “Every one of these marriages deprives girls of their right to a safe and protected childhood.”

One in six girls in West Sulawesi marry before turning 18. Ibu Suraidah, who heads the Mamuju District Parliament (DPRD) on the province’s western coast, knows well the toll such marriages take: As a 16-year-old back in 2001, she became a child bride herself.

It began with a furtive, afterschool relationship with a man five years older. Before long, things got serious, and Suraidah found herself pregnant. 

Overnight, marriage transformed from distant dream to urgent reality – and for a girl living in conservative Mamuju, a way to right a wrong.

“Today I tell teenagers to be careful…dating can force you to speed up your life,” Suraidah says. “We must find ways to avoid child marriage.”

Doing so is critical if all girls are going to realize their education rights, as child brides are four times less likely than unmarried girls to complete secondary education.

The soaring drop-out rate is driven partly by the fact that, while boys can marry at 19, for girls the age is 16 – right in the middle of high school.

Suraidah was determined not to let her education become a casualty of marriage. But her growing belly became a liability that threatened to derail her studies. 

“The school was embarrassed … but I really wanted to go on to the next grade,” she says. “My parents insisted I stay in school.”

“Today I tell the Dinas [education agency] and school principals that if there’s a teenager or student who gets pregnant, to not ostracize them. The psychological impact is significant, and not all of these children will [be able to] continue their schooling.”

“I was one of the lucky ones.”

Despite her determination, staying in Mamuju wasn’t much of an option, given the stigma Suraidah would face as a young mother in high school, she says. So after a big wedding and the birth of her son, Suraidah transferred to a school in provincial capital Makassar; close enough to come home, but far enough to be anonymous. The young couple left their infant boy with Suraidah’s parents in Mamuju, however, so that Suraidah could focus on school.

Two years later, diploma in hand, Suraidah was excited to apply to prestigious universities outside Sulawesi. “But I decided I had to put family first,” she says. She ended up enrolling at a local university, to be close to her son and her parents. 

The proximity to her father, himself a former DPRD lawmaker, proved fateful. “Of the seven children, I asked my father why is it me you want to follow in your footsteps?

“All he said was that as his child, he just knew,” Suraidahlaughs. “But it’s funny he’d pick his daughter, seeing as politics is such a man’s world.” 

Of Mamuju’s 35 DPRD legislators, just 6 are women. It’s something Suraidah would like to change.

“It is vital to have more women in politics, because who understands what women need better than women? It can be difficult for men to find that voice.”

Before long, Suraidah found herself head of her party and later, head of the parliament, a post she will keep until 2019.

Today, Suraidah strives to be a voice for women and children by embracing her past and the perspective it’s shaped. She is a strong believer, for example, that all girls have the right to an education on how to protect their bodies.

“If it’s not there [already], we must advocate with schools [to introduce education] on it, she says. 

“Reproductive health knowledge has to be delivered, because young people are very vulnerable.” 

She plans to use 2018 to shine a light on issues facing women, especially the issue of child neglect. She herself has adopted an abandoned child, and is in the process of formalizing the adoption with local authorities.

“Next year I also have [plans to support] an advocacy programme for teenagers. I want to motivate youth to know that even though I married young [and was able to get an education], not everyone was as lucky as I was.”

Engaging the public will be key to stopping the child marriage cycle.

“We need to advocate to the community that marriage must first be fully established in the soul and the body. If the body is not mature, there will be health problems, like [higher] maternal and child mortality rates, for example,” she says. 

Research shows that complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second-leading cause of death for girls between ages 15 and 19. 

“We need more discussion on child marriage, and I’m someone who is willing to do that,” she says. 

“I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.” 

“Not everyone could have survived like I did.” 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Turning Life Around With Tolerance

by Kate Watson

‘Moshi moshi, Ola Ola, hello, apa kabar?” The classroom is filled with young women and men, all on their feet, giggling and talking excitedly. They’ve just learnt a song with actions (meaning ‘Hello how are you?’ in various languages) and they’re using it as a springboard to chat with new friends and learn facts about each other.

It’s only been running for 3 months at SMA Negri 2 Kabupaten Sorong School, but the results of the Pendidikan Kecapakan Hidup Sehat (PKHS, or Life Skills Education) programme are already showing through the self-confidence exuding from the students.

“It’s all really interesting and the games are really great!” says Dwirizki Sandola, age 17. “They help us express ourselves - we can say what we want, we can ask what we want!” he adds. Students in Indonesia are rarely given the opportunity to speak out during classes, so participating like this helps them to find their voices and feel empowered.

The Life Skills Education programme consists of a series of life skills topics which young people are encouraged to discuss and learn about through games, quizzes, examples and debates. Each session focuses on something new, such as dealing with conflict, understanding emotions – even topics like bullying or gender. Others focus on specific risks like drugs, unwanted pregnancy or HIV.

Students at SMA Negri 2 Kabupaten Sorong School take part in a life skills class
©UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Kate Watson

“Before this Life Skills Education programme began, there were many of us who hung out in bad groups or who were in negative situations,” Dwirizky explains. “But through this programme, we were shown how things might eventually turn out.”

This is one of the goals of the programme, to help young people through the sometimes-difficult decisions they need to make in their personal lives. It aims to help boost their confidence, build their social and personal skills, and better navigate the risks they face.

“Before, I used to do really bad things. I was violent,” Dwirizky adds. “But through this programme, I’ve learnt how to handle my emotions and restrain myself.”

Young people in Papua Province witness violence more often than they should, and so understandably often also resort to it when emotions take over. It’s a cycle that needs breaking if young people are going to take control of their futures.

 Dwirizky Sandola, age 17 says that the life skills classes have helped him and his friends to express themselves and gain self-confidence.

©UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Kate Watson

Rizky Tiara Ramadani, age 17, is another student who has seen the difference her choices have made. “I used to get cajoled into joining in [with my friends]” she says. “They would coerce me to do bad things and I wasn’t brave enough to say no. I didn’t know how,” she says, defiantly adding that since joining the class, she now knows exactly how to refuse. She has found her voice.

Learning about the world from other’s perspectives is a crucial element of the programme, one that enables the students to empathise with others and see different possibilities for the future.

“For me, the most interesting thing about Life Skills Education is learning about tolerance” says Dwirizky’s friend Kadek Windu Dea Atmaja, also age 17. He moved to the area a few years ago from the island of Bali. Although it’s still Indonesia, Bali is several hours away by flight, and miles away in terms of the risks and challenges faced by each unique culture in the country.

“Most of the people there are Hindu, and I didn’t often meet people who were different,” says Kadek, who took a long time to adapt to his new, predominantly Christian environment. “Over there, it was hard to think that people have a different way of life.”

 Kadek Windu Dea Atmaja, age 17, feels more tolerant of others since he has had the opportunity to discuss different life experiences with his classmates through the life skills programme.

©UNICEF Indonesia/2017/Kate Watson

Through the group discussions sparked in the Life Skills class, where he and his fellow classmates share their own experiences, he began to realise that everyone has a different background and that it makes things more interesting.

“My attitude has changed, I know more now and I am more tolerant. Maybe I stand out, but now I can understand that maybe they say bad things just because they don’t understand.”

It’s something he’s even passed onto his Grandma, who often complains that their neighbours don’t understand them. She listens to Kadek, as does his whole family, and he says it’s given them a lot more to reflect on together. “

The class ends with big smiles and laughter as the teenagers bounce out of the classroom in twos and threes ready to eat their lunch. “If this programme didn’t exist, I think the difference would be enormous,” adds Dwirizki. “Turning negative things into positive things is huge! If we weren’t guided, there would be no alternatives and we wouldn’t know where we were going,” he says “Maybe we’d still be doing bad things until now!”