Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Dewi’s Story: Inside A Papuan Brothel

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Dewi lives and works in a Timika brothel. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Timika is a small, dirty city in the frontier province of Papua. It sits in the shadow of the world’s largest gold mine, Freeport. But the vast riches that lie a matter of miles away have little impact on the lives of most people here.

The region struggles with high levels of poverty. Many families rely entirely on fishing or other agrarian sources of income. Jobs are often scarce and opportunities few. For some young girls, there is only one way to make a viable living.

“I’ve been working in a brothel for about three months,” Dewi says*. The teenager now lives in one of the dingier brothels just outside Timika. It caters for working class men from surrounding villages. Clients are “truckers, miners and military men.”

Friday, 4 December 2015

U-Report Indonesia Officially Launched

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer 

Jeffery Hall and Vania Santoso from the UNICEF Indonesia Innovation Lab speak about U-Report. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Jakarta, INDONESIA 4 December 2015 - UNICEF has officially launched U-Report Indonesia: an innovative new platform that gives young people the chance to speak up on issues that affect their lives.

Hundreds of Indonesian youth attended the Jakarta launch event, where members of the UNICEF Indonesia Innovation Lab explained how the mobile phone technology works.

“U-Report Indonesia is a Twitter-based polling system that enables young people to share their opinions on topics ranging from education to violence to health to governance,” UNICEF Indonesia Innovation Lab Lead Jeffery Hall said.

“Answers are then analyzed and this information is shared with key partners such as government. So we are helping make your voices heard. U-Reporters aren’t just sending Tweets, they are contributing to their communities and children’s rights.”

UNICEF welcomes Governor’s commitment to end violence against children

By Kinanti Pinta Karana, UNICEF Indonesia Communication Specialist 

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo (center, wearing black cap) says Indonesian children must grow up great because they will become the future leaders. © UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Julianingsih.

Children's laughter was heard all around the Central Java Regional Legislative Building (DPRD) in Semarang recently as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Universal Children’s Day.

The guest of honor at the event, jointly organized by the local government, UNICEF Indonesia and other partners, was Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

Governor Pranowo showed enormous support for the welfare of Indonesian children by joining the Pelindung Anak campaign. “The children of Central Java must grow up great because they will become the future leaders of Indonesia,” he said after signing up online as a Pelindung Anak (Child Protector).

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Better breastfeeding: a solution to malnutrition

Sonya gives breastfeeding advice to a new mother. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Harriet Torlesse

Kupang District is the front line of a malnutrition crisis currently affecting NTT Province, Indonesia.

Thirty-two year old Sonya Timuli works each and every day on this front line. She has been a cadre (community health volunteer) in a small village here for the past seven years.

Local cadres like Sonya see countless children suffering from malnutrition. A recent survey conducted by UNICEF and Action Contre La Faim (ACF) found that 21 percent of the children in this area had acute malnutrition (too thin for their height) and 52 percent were stunted (too short for their age).

To address this, Sonya provides various nutrition services to children and mothers in her village. One of the most important parts of her job is advising and counseling new mothers on good breastfeeding practices.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

UNICEF Partners with Indonesia’s Scouts Movement Pramuka

By Kinanti Pinta Karana, UNICEF Indonesia Communication Specialist

Pramuka Chairman Bapak Adhyaksa Dault (sixth rom right), with UNICEF Indonesia Representative Ibu Gunilla Olsson (third from right), Director of Radio Republik Indonesia Ibu Niken Widiastuti (second from right) and Chief of Communication and Resource Mobilization Bapak Michael Klaus (far right) with Chief of UNICEF Makassar Field Office Bapak Purwanta Iskandar and members of Pramuka at the signing 26 November 2015.  © UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Santoso.

JAKARTA, Indonesia, 26 November 2015 - Things were bustling at the Kwartir Nasional Gerakan Pramuka, the Headquarters of Indonesia’s Scouts Movement in Jakarta ahead of a much-anticipated event: The signing of a partnerships agreement between Pramuka and UNICEF Indonesia.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Pramuka Chairman Adhyaksa Dault and UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson on 26 November 2015, paves the way for a collaboration to strengthen the implementation of children’s rights in Indonesia.

Bapak Adhyaksa said he had been looking forward to the MOU signing. “Pramuka will use the collaboration with UNICEF to promote the protection of children and their right to express themselves.”

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Big Show of Support at Pelindung Anak Sign Up Event

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer 

Thousands of people have signed up as a Pelindung Anak, including  Minister Yohana Yembise (second from left) and UNICEF Indonesia National Ambassador Ferry Salim (right). ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Indonesians from all walks of life came together on Universal Children’s Day 2015 to stand up against violence and become a Pelindung Anak (Child Protector).

Ministers, actors, psychologists and models were just some of the people who attended UNICEF Indonesia’s sign up event for its innovative new Pelindung Anak campaign.

The campaign aims to create a movement that raises awareness and fuels action to end violence against children.

Participants were encouraged to visit the campaign website (www.pelindunganak.org), where they could register to receive information on the extent of violence in Indonesia and commit to protect children in their area.

“Violence against children is the silent crisis of Indonesia. It will only stop if all of us come together and protect every child as if they are our own,” UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson said. “If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to protect a child.”

Sunday, 22 November 2015

U-Report Indonesia: Numbers Continue to Rise

By Vania Santoso – Innovation Lab Youth Engagement Officer

Thousands of high school students use Twitter. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Vania Santoso

“Who has Twitter here? Come on, let me see your hands up!” asked the master of ceremonies at a U-Report event during the 16th Bedah Kampus Universitas Indonesia (BKUI16). Almost all of the participants raised their hands. It was no surprise, as Indonesia has one of the highest rates of social media usage in the world.

The BKUI16 was a two-day open house for high school students to get to know more about Universitas Indonesia (UI). More than 16,000 people participated. Experiences for the students included a Faculties Road Show, UI’s famous public transportation - the BiKun (Bis Kuning, meaning Yellow Bus), and a Plenary Session with figures like news anchor Najwa Shihab, economist and politician Faisal Basri, and singer Vadi Akbar.

During this particular session, participants learned about U-Report Indonesia. U-Report is a social messaging tool developed by UNICEF that allows young people to report on child rights issues. The information is then used to engage with government and other counterparts to bring about positive, practical change.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Wins4Girls: Voices from the Field - Improving menstrual hygiene management in schools


Menstrual hygiene remains a taboo in many settings, with poor knowledge and misconceptions as great a challenge as access to adequate facilities. In recent years, a solid body of evidence has revealed the discriminatory nature of many school environments, with menstruating girls unable to adequately manage their monthly menses with safety, dignity and privacy. Further compounding the problem is the lack of a positive enabling at all levels, from national policies to local school regulations. In recognition of the positive impact on girls’ education, initiatives around the world are addressing adolescent girls’ menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs in coordination with ongoing efforts to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and knowledge gaps.

Since March 2014 the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) has been funding the project ‘WASH in Schools for Girls: Advocacy and Capacity Building for MHM through WASH in Schools Programmes’ (also known as the Wins4Girls Programme). Phase I involved the development and delivery of a web-based course to strengthen capacity of national research partners, WASH practitioners and policymakers to carry out rigorous research on MHM. Participants from 14 countries (Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zambia) took part in the WinS for Girls E-Course. Each of the 14 countries is currently conducting MHM research in schools. The results will inform the development of interventions to improve WinS for Girls.

To document the successes, challenges and lessons learned during the research undertaken in Indonesia, Jeff Sinden (UNICEF Consultant) spoke with Aidan Cronin (WASH Chief) and Claire Quillet (WASH Specialist) from UNICEF’s Indonesia Country Office.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Malnutrition Crisis in NTT

Lukas faces an uncertain future. ©RayendraThayeb/ACF

Meet Lukas. The two-year-old from Oebola Dalam village in NTT struggles to play, walk and sometimes even stand up. He is very weak and noticeably thin.

A visiting health worker recently found the circumference of Lukas’ arm to be a mere 10.8cm – confirming that he suffers from “severe acute malnutrition.” This means Lukas is highly vulnerable to disease, and even death.

Lukas’ father explains the economic condition of his family: “We rely on growing and selling produce from a small garden. It gives us an income of about IDR 200,000 each month (approx. USD 16),” he says. “So I can only provide two meals a day for my family.”

Monday, 19 October 2015

Mobile phones saving lives

Midwife Maena Nhur Desita administers a vaccine ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

Kedoya Utara is one of the poorer neighborhoods in Jakarta. Sitting between megamalls and skyscrapers, this area struggles with makeshift living conditions, polluted waterways and unreliable electricity.

There is one subject of particular concern in Kedoya Utara – immunization rates among children are very low. This puts them at the risk of contracting life-threatening diseases such as measles and diphtheria.

“There is an equity gap in Jakarta and around Indonesia – children from poor families, especially those in slum areas, are not reached regularly for their full vaccination doses,” UNICEF Indonesia Health Specialist Dr. Kenny Peetosutan says.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

UNICEF global report finds large drop in Indonesian child deaths – but major challenges remain

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer 

Around 4.5 million Indonesian children have been saved since 1990. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

A new global UNICEF report has highlighted how Indonesia is making substantial progress in reducing child mortality.

The Promise Renewed: 2015 Progress Report stated that the Indonesian under-five mortality rate currently stands at 27 deaths per 1,000 live births compared against 85 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990.

In 1990, an estimated 395,000 children died in Indonesia before reaching their fifth birthday. The corresponding number was 147,000 in 2015. “This is still a shocking number, but it also means that an estimated 4.5 million children have been who would have died if the mortality rate had remained at the 1990 level,” UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson said.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

We Are Siblings: Young Innovators Changing Lives

By Vania Santoso – Innovation Lab Youth Engagement Officer

The We Are Siblings graduation ceremony. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015.

“I was very close to giving up. I’m so happy I didn’t.”

This simple line recently brought me to tears. It was said by We Are Siblings member Cynthia Andriani as their pilot project ended in Bogor. She perfectly summed up the struggle and success these young innovators have experienced over the past few months.

We Are Siblings is an anti-bullying mentorship project created by students from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). It won the Global Design for UNICEF Challenge earlier this year. The win meant We Are Siblings received a USD $2,500 grant from UNICEF to pilot their initiative.

The pilot saw a team of six mentors from the We Are Siblings team work with 29 children to find innovative ways of dealing with bullying. This was done both in-person and online. In-person sessions involved one mentor working directly with a group of children on anti-bullying modules. Online sessions complemented this, through daily contact via personal messaging apps.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Breaking the Cycle of Violence

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer 

Weapons made by 15-year-old Rama. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

In a South Sulawesi community centre, 15-year-old Rama* lays out a collection of sharp metallic arrows. The softly-spoken teen explains how he once made and sold these arrows to fellow youth. They were used in the gang warfare which occasionally erupts in his neighbourhood. “Violence is everywhere here,” he says.

Rama has a story similar to many young people in Indonesia. He grew up surrounded with violence - violent parents, violent teachers, violent friends. By the time Rama entered his teens, violence had not only become acceptable, but almost a routine part of his daily life.

“I started to fight at school. I would fight in the streets,” he says. It proved to be a slippery slope. “One day my uncle gave me a badik knife (traditional Indonesian knife). Then I was fighting with knives and I got stabbed,” he says, lifting his shirt to reveal a number of scars.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Stolen Childhoods: The Young Brides of West Sulawesi

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

“I preferred being a student to a mum,” Sari* says, cradling her child. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker.

Countless small villages dot the western coastline of Sulawesi Island. Rows of rumah panggung (traditional houses) are set between pristine beaches and thick, rolling jungle. It looks like paradise. But these communities are the scene of a silent crisis.

Child marriage is prevalent across West Sulawesi. The province has the highest rate of girls married at 15 years or younger in Indonesia. For a variety of reasons – cultural, religious, economic – childhoods are lost here on a daily basis.

Ayu* is one such girl. The softly-spoken teenager lives in a farming village called Amara*. “Both my mother and grandmother were married at 14,”she says. And the family tradition continued: “I was 15 when I got married and my husband, Ganes, was 23.”

Friday, 14 August 2015

Child Marriage Takes Centre Stage at 2015 AJI-UNICEF Media Awards

UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson salutes journalists at the 2015 AJI-UNICEF Media Awards ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

JAKARTA, Indonesia, 13 August 2015 – The high prevalence and negative consequences of child marriage in Indonesia came into sharp focus at the announcement of the 2015 Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) and UNICEF Media Awards in Jakarta.

The award ceremony has been held since 2006 to acknowledge and encourage excellence in reporting on child rights issues. For this year’s competition, a total of 318 journalists submitted stories, photos, TV and radio pieces.

Child marriage was selected as the focus of the 2015 event. This was particularly relevant after a recent Constitutional Court decision which upheld the current Indonesian marriage law – allowing girls to be married at 16 while boys can only marry at age 19. The case has begun to spur a national dialogue around child marriage.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

UNICEF and Government of Indonesia launch Pelindung Anak anti-violence campaign

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer 

BOGOR, Indonesia, 11 August 2015 - UNICEF and the Government of Indonesia used National Children’s Day celebrations at Bogor Palace to launch an innovative new campaign aimed at ending violence against children.

The Pelindung Anak (Child Protector) campaign calls on every Indonesian – no matter their age, location or profession – to join national efforts in preventing child abuse.

The Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohana Yembise presented the Pelindung Anak television public service announcement to President Joko Widodo, members of his cabinet and hundreds of children from around the archipelago during the event.

A Message to Indonesia: Please Stop

By Lauren Rumble, Chief of Child Protection

Lauren Rumble (front) with representatives from Sudah Dong and UNICEF Indonesia. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker.

One of the best parts of my job at UNICEF Indonesia is working directly with the young people of this country. I am fortunate enough to regularly meet such dedicated, creative and inspirational youth – so many of whom are making a real difference in their communities.

I recently met with the team behind Sudah Dong (meaning Please Stop), a NGO run by young people for young people that focuses on different ways to address bullying. The organisation was founded by Katyana Wardhana in 2014 shortly after her own experience of bullying at school.

Sudah Dong aims to mobilise actions of non-violence and peer support which will put an end to bullying. In June, Sudah Dong released its first manual for children and adolescents entitled “End Bullying” which they hope will reach one million pupils across the country. Within two weeks of launching, 625 copies had already been downloaded (you can download your own copy here).

The release of this manual is timely: Indonesia has one of the highest rates of physical attacks against students in the world (40 percent). More than 50 percent of pupils have experienced bullying at school. School, a place of learning and safety, is for many pupils, where they are most unsafe.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

U-Reporters speak out on violence against children

By Awis Mranani, UNICEF Indonesia Innovation Lab

Millions of Indonesian youth are affected by violence. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2014

The results are in. UNICEF has just completed its first major survey using the U-Report Indonesia polling system. Young people across the country were asked for their views on the taboo subject of violence against children.

More than 4,000 participants, or U-Reporters, were involved in the Twitter-based survey. Questions focused on the government’s previous strategy on violence against children and findings will now be used to provide input to the government’s updated National Strategy on Violence against Children for 2015-2019.

The answers offered by Indonesian youth are enlightening. They stressed that the government needs to be much more strategic in keeping children safe from violence. This could be through increased public awareness and education activities (particularly regarding legislation and policies) and facilitating more community involvement on the topic, especially from youth.

Quantitatively, the survey found that over the last three years, most young people aged 13-24 years who had become victims of violence did not receive any form of counselling and 15 percent had no idea where to report violence if they witness it or experience it themselves.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Standing up against bullying

The We Are Siblings team uses innovative methods in their anti-bullying workshops. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Vania Santoso

A staggering 50 percent of Indonesian students aged 13-15 report being bullied at school. That’s one of the highest numbers in the world. Each of these children can face deep emotional scars which may last a lifetime. So a team of university students recently decided it was time to act.

Last year, five students from the University of Bogor (IPB) entered the Global Design for UNICEF Challenge with an entry that focused on addressing bullying in Indonesia. This competition asks young people around the world to solve pressing local issues with innovative solutions.

The students had an especially close connection to their subject. Team member Aldila Setiawati was severely bullied throughout school. “Luckily, I had my family to support me. But I often thought, what about the children with no support?” she says.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Early Childhood Development : A Fair Chance for All

By Sun Wook Jung, Education Officer

Meeting teachers at the Puspa Hati ECD Centre, Surabaya. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

I was a ‘drop-out’ of my kindergarten in Korea many years ago. I would always fight with the boys and one day just decided to stop going. But I did well in my education so went on to underestimate the value of Early Childhood Development (ECD).

However, I realise now that I was so lucky to have a mother who read me books and taught me how to count. So, even though I dropped out of the Kindergarten, I did get appropriate early childhood education at home.  This is not the case for many children around the world, especially children who are in marginalised and poor families in Indonesia.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Young Indonesians (creatively) prepare for disaster

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Junior Secondary School students at an Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation Workshop. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

A classroom in East Jakarta is buzzing with activity. Around 20 adolescents are drawing all sorts of words, shapes and patterns on large white sheets of paper. It’s a lively atmosphere but the topic couldn’t be more serious: the next devastating flood.

Jakarta is well-known for its severe seasonal flooding. And the areas in the eastern part of the city often bear the brunt each wet season. Most adolescents at this workshop have a collection of painful stories about the floods. Some have even faced near-death experiences.

“I was in a very serious flood back in 2007,” explains 14-year-old participant Vicka, “It was late at night, around 2am, when the flood happened. In no time the water was up to the ceiling. It was dark and my whole family was very afraid.”

“My dad calmed us down and took us onto the roof where he called for help. Eventually a lifeboat came. We all had to jump onto in from the roof. I was scared but luckily we were all ok. The craziest part was that my mum was very pregnant at the time. She ended up giving birth to my sister the next day."

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Today a student, tomorrow a bride

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Girls in the village of Manggaru* are at risk of child marriage. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker.

Fourteen-year-old Nira* was a bright student. She always worked hard and received good grades – excelling in subjects that ranged from art to science to cultural studies. But Nira’s time at school just came to an abrupt end. Because tomorrow is her wedding day.

Nira lives in the village of Manggaru. It’s a small, rural community around 70km south of Jakarta. Child marriage is common in this village. In fact, Nira is the third student to leave school and get married this year.

“I like to play petak umpet (hide and seek),” says Nira, when asked to describe herself. She seems resolute about the wedding. “If I wait until graduating to get married, my spouse will not be available anymore. It would be too long for the groom to wait,” she says.

Monday, 1 June 2015

The story of Safira and Ali: Two unaccompanied children holding each other tight

By Kinanti Pinta Karana 

Safira, 8, at a temporary shelter for Myanmar Rohingya refugees in Kuala Cangkoy, North Aceh. She is one of more than 345 unaccompanied children in the refugee shelter who were part of a group of refugees that arrived in North Aceh on 10 May, 2015. (©UNICEFIndonesia/2015/Kinanti Pinta Karana). 

Kuala Cangkoy, Aceh province, INDONESIA - A field of dry grass greets me as I arrive at the fish port in Kuala Cangkoy, where 576 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar found temporary shelter after being rescued from the boat that also carried a group of Bangladeshi migrants off the Aceh waters on May 10.

Next to the tents and some medium-sized buildings, a number of cows roam the field, some gauge the trash pile looking for food.

On my way to a hall that has been converted into a sleeping quarter for male refugees I have to be careful, trying not to step on cow dung. The hall is empty because the male occupants are preparing for Friday prayer.

And then I hear a child’s laughter. I turn around and see a little girl putting biscuits on the face of a boy who is sleeping next to her.

Her name is Safira (names changed). She is eight years old and a world away from the life she deserves. The little boy is her brother Ali. He is 10.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Rohingya Sisters: Leaving Home for a Better Future

By Kinanti Pinta Karana 

From left to right: Seemal*, 13; Alma*, 14 and Mira*, 15. The three Rohingya sisters were put on a boat by their parents to save them from rape and other forms of injustice in their home country. They currently stay in Kuala Langsa temporary shelter in East Aceh, where the photo was taken. (© UNICEF Indonesia / 2015 / Kinanti Pinta Karana)

Langsa, INDONESIA, 25 May 2015 - It is almost midday when I finally arrive at the compound in Langsa that has become a temporary home for some of the refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh. Between 10 and 20 May, a total of 1,829 boat people from the two countries have managed to reach the shores of Aceh and North Sumatra provinces, in West Indonesia. Among them are 599 children, including 345 unaccompanied minors.

They braved the perilous sea journey from their respective home countries some of them fleeing persecution and discrimination, others to escape poverty. Many more are still stranded at sea.

As I make my way into the women’s and children’s barrack, I see three adolescent girls clinging together in one corner of the room. I smile at them and they shyly smile back. Only later I realize how precious that smile was, considering the ordeal they had gone through at sea.

“My name is Mira*, I am 15 years old. These are my sisters Alma* who is 14, and Seemal*. She is 13,” the oldest girl explains.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

New law, high hopes: Juvenile justice in Makassar

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Akmal is in school instead of a Makassar prison cell (pictured).
©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Fourteen-year-old Akmal* sits in the corridor of a large government office in Makassar. He seems nervous – playing with the zipper on his backpack, constantly adjusting his school uniform. It’s understandable given the imposing surroundings. “I’m OK,” he says softly. “This is better than a prison.”

A few months ago, Akmal was walking the Makassar streets with a friend. The friend decided to prove his bravado by stealing a gas canister from a nearby shop. Things didn’t go as planned and both boys were apprehended by police.

A prison sentence for petty crime is common in Indonesia. Although Akmal was not directly involved in the gas canister theft, a lengthy stint in prison was the expected outcome. But, thanks to the new Juvenile Criminal System Law that came into force in August 2014, Akmal’s story turned out very differently.

Monday, 18 May 2015

UNICEF’s psychosocial counselling on air is already making an impact

By Naresh Newar

On 7 May, Chiranjibi Adhikari, sitting with his injured 6-year-old son, Kritagya, in one of two UNICEF-provided tents set up on the grounds at Dhading District Hospital in the town of Dhading Besi, headquarters of Dhading District, speaks with a psychosocial counsellor live via his mobile telephone, during a segment of the UNICEF-supported Bhandai Sundai (Saying Listening) radio programme. ©UNICEF/2015/Panday.

Dhadingbesi, Nepal – Chiranjibi Adhikari had never seen his 6-year-old son Kritagya so restless.

“He is always looking for attention,” the 45-year-old said, “He wasn’t like this before."

Kritagya, he said, has been traumatised ever since the 7.8 Richter scale earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015.

“I don’t know how to control this boy,” said Chiranjibi. “He is extremely panicky and nothing I do seems to calm him.”

Friday, 15 May 2015

Sulaeha’s story: Saving lives in Sumenep

Sulaeha is a mother of three from Sumenep in East Java. She has always been concerned about the welfare of not only her family but also her wider community. So Sulaeha recently decided to become a health volunteer.

“Just because I am not a trained health worker, does not mean I cannot help improve the health of children in my area,” Sulaeha says. “What I can do is help back-up important health facts with religious content.”

Sulaeha is the daughter of a respected religious leader and an active member of Fatayat – the women’s sub-unit of the Islamic organisation Nadhlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisations in the world with around 80 million members. So she has a broad knowledge of the Islamic religion.

Sulaeha runs health workshops in her local mosque ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

Sulaeha’s volunteer role is to convince parents that immunisation is not only critical for their children but also in line with Islamic teachings. This is very important in an area like Sumenep, where a large majority of people follow Islam.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Nepal Earthquake: 5 things you need to know

It has been a shattering couple of days for children in Nepal and nearly 3 million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance after the earthquake. We take a look at five things you need to know about the disaster:

1. Worst in more than three quarters of a century

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-1040/Nybo
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April is the country’s worst in more than 80 years. More than 60 aftershocks have since been recorded, one as high as 6.7, adding to the devastation.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Maternal malaria: what it means for Indonesian children

By Maria Endang Sumiwi, Health Specialist Malaria

Dr Jeanne Rini Poespoprodjo* in the Mimika District Hospital in Papua. ©UNICEFIndonesia/2015

There has been much progress in the fight against malaria around Indonesia – the disease is gradually being eliminated district by district. But it still remains in many areas throughout the country. The Eastern Provinces continue to suffer disproportionately from the disease. In the worst-affected districts, one in three people will experience malaria each year.

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. They have an increased risk of infection and greater risk to suffer from severe malaria compared to non-pregnant women. What does this mean for Indonesian children? UNICEF asked a clinician that deals with malaria on a daily basis. Dr. Jeanne Rini Poespoprodjo is a paediatrician who has worked in Papua for the last 15 years:

Q : How would you describe the malaria situation in your hospital – especially regarding malaria in pregnancy?

A : Each month, there are about 100 to 150 malaria-associated outpatient visits to the hospital and at least two malaria admissions per day. Malaria in pregnancy occurs in 10 to 15 percent of pregnant mothers who are admitted to the maternity ward. About 30  percent of infant hospital admissions are due to malaria. My youngest patient was a one-day-old baby suffering from falciparum malaria with anaemia, most likely a congenital infection.

Friday, 24 April 2015

“Smile” for immunisation

Nur Awwalia and her Immunisation Wall of Fame. © UNICEF Indonesia/2015

The walls of the Tanah Merah Bangkalan Health Centre on Madura Island in East Java have all the usual posters expected in a health clinic. But one stands out. It’s a plain white board lined with photos of 25 smiling babies.

Each baby has completed their five stages of immunisation – five free immunisation sessions which mean they are safe from diseases including diphtheria, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, tetanus, polio and measles.

A midwife at the centre, Nur Awwalia, recently came up with the idea for the poster. “Every parent likes to show off their baby. So why not use this to promote immunisation!” she says.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Sanitation in Sumba – improving day by day

- Nick Baker, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer

Sanitarian Dangga Mesa attends a village meeting in Sumba Barat Daya.
©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

It’s an unusually busy morning in Matapywu village on the island of Sumba (NTT). Heads of family have been called together for an important meeting. Seats are taken, coffee is served, and the topic is announced: toilets.

Meetings on this unusual subject are now quite common around the island. Matapywu is just one of many villages that recently underwent a triggering session supported by UNICEF. These workshops aim to end open defecation practices.

Now it’s time to check progress. A sanitarian, Dangga Mesa, discusses developments since she held the triggering session a few months ago. Dangga seems pleased on the impact it had.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Building back better for a safer future

- Simon Nazer, Communication Consultant for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific

Earthquake drill at Muhammadiyah 1 Primary School in Banda Aceh. New school buildings were designed to be earthquake resistant.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Achmadi

UNICEF colleagues and international agencies are now mobilising after Cyclone Pam’s devastating impact on Vanuatu. It's a painful reminder of the dangers many countries in this region face, and why it is so important everyone is fully prepared to deal with what ever comes.

To find out about UNICEF’s work in reducing the impacts of disasters, a few days ago I caught up with some colleagues in Indonesia and Kiribati, some the world world’s most disaster prone areas.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

U-Report Indonesia: The story so far

By Nick Baker, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer

The Give Voice to the Voiceless Campaign is increasing interest in U-Report Indonesia.
©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

What if it were possible to ask 67 million young people what matters to them? UNICEF Indonesia is keen to find out.

In 2014, UNICEF Indonesia piloted U-Report Indonesia – a new platform that encourages the country’s 67 million youth to make their voices heard on key development issues.

U-Report Indonesia is a Twitter-based polling system that questions young people on an array of important topics ranging from education to nutrition to child marriage to bullying.

The responses to the questions are then analyzed by UNICEF Indonesia. The idea is to share this information with government, development partners and civil society as a way of fostering adolescent and youth participation.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A better future – ending open defecation in Sumba

- By Nick Baker, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer - 

One year old Juan with his new toilet. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

SUMBA BARAT DAYA, March 2015 – Juan Ngongo, currently just one year old, will be the first person in his family to grow up with a toilet.

Juan lives in the village of Watu Kaula on the island of Sumba (NTT). For generations, his family would defecate in or around a small river that runs just beside their house.

But not anymore. Juan’s family recently attended a triggering session in their village that was facilitated by UNICEF. During these events, health workers demonstrate how easily bacteria from faeces can enter the food chain and cause a raft of health problems.

These health problems include diarrhoea and pneumonia – which are chief contributors to more than 370 under-five deaths per day in Indonesia.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Marta Santos Pais calls on Indonesia to become a champion to end violence against children

- By Devi Asmarani -

Marta Santos Pais (middle row, fifth from the right) together with representatives of several youth networks in Indonesia. 

Jakarta, 3 March 2015 - The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais has urged Indonesia to take on a leading role in the region in the fight to end violence against children.

During a weeklong visit to Jakarta from 23 to 28 February, Ms. Santos Pais observed that the country has already taken considerable steps to prevent and eliminate violence against children. However, a lot more needed to be done to make the efforts more effective, she said, after her meetings with Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians, representatives of the civil society, UNICEF and other UN agencies.

“My visit has given me a sense that Indonesia is ready for more. In my meetings with different members of a government I have felt a very strong willingness to address this issue.”

Monday, 23 February 2015

EU and UNICEF join forces to improve maternal and infant nutrition in Papua

- By Devi Asmarani

Tina Hiluka of Muliama Village in Jayawijaya, Papua, and her baby boy. Unlike her first four children, Tina gave birth to her baby at a public health centre with the help of a trained midwife after spending a week at its maternity waiting home.
©UNICEFIndonesia/2015/Devi Asmarani

When Tina Hiluka of the Muliama Village in Indonesia’s Papua province gave birth to her youngest child late last year, it was a stark contrast to the births of her first four children.

Instead of at home accompanied only by her family, this time she gave birth to her baby at a public health center (Puskesmas), with the help of a trained midwife.

“They gave me water when I was thirsty, they also fed me when I was hungry,” Tina says in her local dialect. “At home, nobody really could take care of me like that.”

Friday, 13 February 2015

No progress on combatting malnutrition in Indonesia

Nick Baker, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer

UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson discusses the Global Nutrition Report 2014.
©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Indonesia has undergone seismic changes over recent years – from economic to political to technological – but one measurement has remained surprisingly stable: malnutrition.

The country has made almost no progress in reducing child malnutrition since 2007, according to the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2014, which the Government of Indonesia launched on Monday with UNICEF and other partners. The report assesses various nutrition outcomes for all 193 UN member states.

The GNR 2014 found that a staggering 37 per cent of Indonesian children under five are stunted, which indicates they do not grow properly, both physically and mentally. Poor Indonesians are 50 per cent more likely to be stunted than those in the upper wealth quintile, but still up to 30 per cent of Indonesian children from the wealthiest families are also stunted.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Prosperity rests on stronger efforts to reduce malnutrition

Gunilla Olsson, Representative of UNICEF Indonesia
Children from a traditional village in Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara.

There is a widespread belief in Indonesia that its people are short by nature. Because generation after generation of family members is small in size, many people assume that physical stature is a genetic trait over which people have no control. 

But science shows that this is not usually the case. Short and thin mothers give birth to small and malnourished children, who grow poorly because they are unable to eat sufficient nutritious food, or they suffer frequent episodes of diarrhea and other infectious diseases. The girls become short and thin mothers, and so the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition continues.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Indonesian university students take the lead in Global UNICEF challenge

These are the four innovative ideas developed by Indonesian university students that just made the finals of the 2014 Global Design for UNICEF Challenge.

Indonesia finalists for the Fall 2014 Global Design for UNICEF Challenge. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

The Global Design for UNICEF Challenge is an online competition to drive local problem-solving and collaboration around pressing international issues.

More than 130 Indonesian students from UNICEF’s two partner universities: ITB Bandung and IPB Bogor got together in 33 teams and submitted ideas for the 2014 edition of the Challenge. The ones selected for the final round now represent four of the five finalists.

Monday, 26 January 2015

An Uncomfortable Topic

Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

JAKARTA, 14 January 2015 - My first press conference at UNICEF Indonesia was one I will not soon forget. Why? Because attending journalists were aged from nine to 12 years old and the main subject was poo.

Ten students participating in Media Indonesia’s Reporter Cilik (Young Reporter) Programme were invited to interview a UNICEF Officer to learn more about an uncomfortable topic - open defecation.

More than 54 million Indonesians defecate in the open, because they don’t have a latrine or a toilet. It’s the second highest number of any country in the world. Only India has a higher number.