Friday, 30 September 2016

456 Young Innovative Indonesian Brains

By Valerie Crab, Programme Specialist (Innovations)

About three months ago UNICEF Indonesia received a request from UNICEF Malaysia. Could we please reach out to youth during the month of July and ask them to submit innovative ideas on the topics of universal health coverage, violence against children and social protection for families? This came as a request linked to the third High Level Meeting (HLM3), hosted by Malaysia early November 2016. The meeting will bring together senior state officials from the Asia-Pacific region to explore the promotion of children’s rights.

Spreading the word on our U-Report Facebook page
Sure we said! Let’s do it! So our youth engagement officer, Vania, went into overdrive. Together with Rafael, our social media guru, they got the word out on HLM3. It got posted on UNICEF and U-report social media, including to the 2.4 million line users. It was sent to our 28 000 U-reporters.

But a week before the deadline … PANIC! Oh nooooo, we are never going to get any submissions. Nobody seems to be engaging, the school year has not started yet so the student associations are still in holiday mode, and well… youth likes to live on the edge and wait until the very last minute before they submit (yes, you were just like them in school, why do today when you can do it tomorrow?).

On August 25th only 12 submissions were received for the 16 participating countries …

What to do? First plan, let’s offer some goodies to the first 15 who send in their applications, USB sticks, tumblers, Tshirts, pins, anything! Then a life-line! Tandemic, the Innovation Challenge organisers, decided to extend the deadline. Yes! We now have until 15 September for submissions! Fantastic! So Vania included the HLM3 in all her direct youth engagement activities at the start of the school year. But still we were not sure how many actually submitted. Suspense!

10 days later we learned that 264 out of the 329 submissions received from the 16 participating countries came from Indonesia. Woooohooo! We made it! So we gave ourselves a pat on the back and thought that was the end.

But Oh Boy, did we underestimate the innovative drive of the Indonesian youth. By the deadline it turned out that 456 out of the 665 admitted submissions came from Indonesia! Seven of those are now participating in the online mentorship, the top five will have a chance to go to the bootcamp in Kuala Lumpur and compete regionally for the opportunity to present their ideas to the senior state officials and win USD 5000 seed money to make their ideas a reality.

A boy and his cat speak about the unspeakable – story telling on sexual violence (drawing by Dhian Gowinda Luh Safitri – all rights reserved)

The seven finalists receiving a mentorship submitted ideas on how to make sexual violence discussable, link nutrition to waste management and economic gains, provide health care for the most disadvantaged ones through community support, to give just a broad stroke overview. These participants hail from all corners of Indonesia such as the Thousand Islands, Yogyakarta, Medan, Bogor and Samarinda.

Stay tuned for more to come from these young minds in the future!

Relevant links:


  1. My name is Justyn and I am a student at Central Piedmont Community College. I found this blog to be particularly interesting because I am working on a school project right now which increases the amount of mentoring programs in the UNICEF community for all teenagers. The program we are creating will help push young boys and girls in the right direction. So in short, the basis of our ideas is similar.

    What amazed me about this article, was mainly the thought that you all got this many youngsters to participate in this positive cause. It demonstrated that a lot of young adults want something positive to do; and once they are shown that, they will be willing to give a helping hand. This blog intrigued me due to its involvement of the youth. The fact that this many young people took part in a world-changing cause astonished me; 456 kids participated. That is absolutely incredible. I work with kids on the daily basis, so I would know; and I applaud you all for that.

    There are many ways to help communities, but you all, UNICEF Indonesia, chose to influence the kids first. This is very wise because children growing up now will be our next generation; and if we lead them in the right direction now, the world we now know will be different for the better once they grow up. But overall, great blog!

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