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.

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.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finding inspiration in the field

By Gabé Hirschowitz, UNICEF Next Generation in Los Angeles

While drinking my bottled water as I sit down to write this blog post, I am instantly reminded of the children I met in Kupang who walk twice a day for two hours (once in the morning before school, and once in the afternoon after school) to collect clean water for their families.

Four hours per day. How could this be? How is this fair?  Why is clean and safe drinking water not readily available to children and families around the world?

These are just some of the many thoughts running through my mind as I choke up thinking about the world water crisis that so many individuals face on a daily basis. Every single being has the right to clean water. It’s shocking that so many go without it in 2016.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

‘This was a trip of a lifetime’

By Kelly Wilson, Chair, UNICEF Next Generation in Los Angeles

I have never been anywhere like it; one country with two entirely separate worlds, and those two worlds crashing on top of each other, clashing into each other’s space and fighting for resources, time and attention. Indonesia is facing the challenges of a rapidly growing urban country while still trying to tackle problems linked to a third-world nation. Surprisingly, there seems to be no physical divide between the ultra-wealthy and the poor; slums next to mansions, abandoned buildings next to glossy skyscrapers, open defecation in front of government monuments. Indonesia has the 16th largest GDP in the world and the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, yet the tide has not lifted all boats, and Indonesia throws that right in your face.

Our first day, we visited a slum built on top of a working landfill. Nothing quite prepares you for the numbness you feel seeing countless family homes surrounded by trash, teenagers without shoes texting on brand new cell phones and young children scratching their heads because of the permanent presence of lice. And just when you think your brain has had enough, a child comes running up to you and kisses your hand. Among the crumbling buildings and heaps of waste, she smiled. She was with her family, and she was happy. I was sweetly reminded of the unwavering humanity of children and why they deserve nothing less than our protection and support, no matter how complicated the solution may seem.