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.

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