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.

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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Protecting children online is everyone’s business

By Kinanti Pinta Karana, Communication Specialist 

Lauren Rumble, UNICEF Deputy Representative, highlights the risk behind open access to online information.

The meeting room is abuzz with voices of people debating while some are writing pointers on flip charts. The scene is from the National Public Consultation on Child Online Protection organised by UNICEF Indonesia and the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kemenkominfo). The event, divided into three stages, is attended by 150 invitees from CSOs, children and youth organisations, school counsellors, government officials, industry representatives as well as other UN agencies. It aims to create a set of recommendations to be handed over to the Kemenkominfo as the authority in online protection.

“Access to the internet, particularly through mobile phones, enables children and adolescents to be part of a global community, with unprecedented access to information. From the populated cities of Java, to the rural island communities in remote Papua, children in some of the world's most disadvantaged and inaccessible communities now have billions of gigabytes of information at their fingertips,” Lauren Rumble, UNICEF Deputy Representative says in her opening remark. “Access to social networks and the World Wide Web provide young people with incredible opportunities for education, entertainment, entrepreneurship and innovation. The possibilities are infinite. But alongside these opportunities are risks.”

“UNICEF recognises the very powerful role that children and young people can play in keeping each other safe from harm. Children and young people can support one another by sharing information about how to protect each other and speaking out against online violence, as they explore the many positive opportunities in the online world. With more than a third of Indonesia's youth population online, the opportunities for creativity and innovative solutions are endless,” says Rumble.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Bupati has a dream

Bupati of Mamuju, Pak Habsi Wahid (centre), during his visit to UNICEF's Jakarta office.
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2016 / Charlie Hartono Lie 

Jakarta, 3 June 2016 – Mamuju is a special place – and the Chief of this district in West Sulawesi wants to make sure that things stay on course. Last year, more than 500 children were re-integrated into primary and lower secondary school – thanks to a push for action by the local leadership.

On 23 July this year, which is celebrated as National Children’s Day throughout Indonesia, Pak Habsi Wahid, the recently elected Bupati of Mamuju, aims to reach 3,000 children as part of the district’s Back to School campaign which this district in Eastern Indonesia launched in 2012.

Thanks to a Community-Based Development Information System (CBDIS), developed by UNICEF, the district identified all children who are out of school in the district. The CBDIS brought about a fundamental shift in local school management. While previously only children who were already in school were registered and supported, thanks to the CBDIS the district can now also identify and support those children who were never enrolled or who dropped out.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Protecting children through birth registration

By Kristi Eaton, UNICEF Indonesia Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Siti Mariyam, head of the division of Civil Registration (left), reads over the birth certificate to new parents, Rahardi Joko Suparno and Riya Ulfa Radila. © UNICEF/2016/Kristi Eaton

The husband and wife sit quietly at the health post, grinning wildly at their new-born baby, born just six days earlier. A few minutes later they are handed little Raka Maliki’s birth certificate and the smiles grow even wider.

“This is a legal document,” says the father, Rahardi Joko Suparno. “It’s true. It shows this is my child. He will now be able to go to school and have a future.”

Birth certificates are a basic human right and a necessity for obtaining education, employment, health benefits and more. It also protects the child from falling victim to trafficking. But many people in Indonesia do not understand or know the process to register the birth of their child and obtain a certificate. That’s why UNICEF offers technical support to the local government to increase outreach services for registration and establish online services at maternity hospitals, community health posts and village offices.