Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Applying Positive Discipline and Creating Connections

By Dwi Utari Tamanbali, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Papua Field Office

Tagime Village, Papua Province, September 2014 - It was a rainy afternoon when I arrived in Tagime village, Jayawijaya District, to meet with Frater Yakub Yikwa.

As I stand outside of fences that surround his large yard, I can hear laughing and cheering despite the noise of the rain. Inside I meet more than 30  potential village facilitators from Klasis Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII) Tagime, a Christian Church, who have come together to be trained on the Creating Connection Module which aims to build a safe and strong community.

I cannot understand the conversation because the facilitators use the native language Bahasa Lani, but it becomes clear to me why they laugh when drawing a human body. The facilitators become even shier when questioned about how the body changes during puberty, what happens during menstruation and how they understand and manage the changes in their emotions.  I increasingly understand how important it is for the facilitators and especially for their children to talk about these taboo topics so they can better protect themselves from sexual harassment and violence. 

A women’s group drawing human body and identifying sensitive areas of the body
 © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Tamanbali

According to the National Socio-Economic Survey on Violence against Women and Children from 2006, Papua Province had the highest prevalence of violence against women and children in the country. This includes sexual, physical and psychological violence. People’s beliefs and the local tradition prohibit sexual relationships outside of marriage, however, many cases of STI and HIV among yong people, many girls fall pregnant before they marry and there are many cases of sexual harassment in school. 

Based on a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice study undertaken by UNICEF in 2011 conducted in Jayapura, Jayawijaya and Keerom districts,  parents still believe that physical punishment is the best way to discipline their children, and many children think that they deserve such punishment whenever they are naughty and disobedient. At school, many children feel pressurized and threatened when they don’t perform well. As a consequence, many children drop out, simply because they are afraid of going to school.

In 2012, UNICEF started using the Creating Connection Module to build safe and strong communities and the Positive Discipline Module to provide teachers with an alternative to corporal punishment. The module provides creative ways of teaching and games that can be used by teachers to make the classroom and the overall learning process more enjoyable for children. And it helps teachers to refrain from using corporal punishment through a sequence of responses they can use to manage misbehaviour in the classroom. The module further uses a social and emotional learning approach to help children develop life skills, to question the negative effects of violence, and to develop alternative problem-solving and help-seeking strategies. Both modules have been developed by Melbourne University. They are part of UNICEF’s Violence Prevention Programme.

Between 2012 and 2013, UNICEF, together with the Provincial and District Ministries of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, The Provincial and District Education Offices, and Cenderawasih University, tested these modules in three sub-districts in Jayawijaya including Wamena Kota, Kurulu, and Sogokmo. Based on the findings, UNICEF now implements the programme at community level, together with a local faith based organization World Relief Wamena in Jayawijaya District. Twenty local churches in Wamena Kota, Kurulu, Tagime and Taginery have committed to participate in the programme

At the airport, I coincidentally meet with Ibu Ida Carolina Sadi, the Principal of the school SD Inpres Kulitarek and also as District Facilitator of Education Office of Jayawijaya District. We talk about how excited she was when UNICEF first developed the Positive Discipline Module. Ibu Ida decided to immediately test it in her school. She made copies of the training module and organized in-house training sessions with school principals, teachers, and other staff in her school cluster. 

With Ibu Ida Carolina Sadi, the Principal of SD Inpres Kulitarek and District Facilitator of Education Office of Jayawijaya District.
 © UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Tamanbali

As I fly home, I feel glad to see and experience the positive progress of how these modules have been tested and are now being used to educate the community and the schools. Thank God we have passionate people like Ibu Ida and Pendeta Yakub Yikwa that have so much energy and passion to create a safer and better environment for children to grow-up either through ‘positive discipline’ in schools, or by creating a safe and strong community by introducing the  Creating Connection Module. I am looking forward to translate these modules into other local languages used in other sub-districts and to start introducing to and train more facilitators.