Thursday, 15 December 2016

UNICEF tents help keep kids learning after Aceh quake

By Cory Rogers

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits UNICEF education tent at the worst affected area from the 7 December 2016 earthquake in Aceh.   

Pidie Jaya, Indonesia - As thousands arose for predawn prayers last Wednesday in Pidie Jaya, Aceh Province, the ground beneath them suddenly began to thrash: Within minutes, 3,000 homes had been reduced to rubble, the roads between them split open in gashes.

According to the latest data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), 102 people were killed, over 300 injured and 85,000 displaced in the quake. A quarter of those killed were under the age of 18.

The effects of the earthquake go much further than the immediate impact however. Tens of thousands have lost their homes, but many others have lost access to services, to safe water, health and sanitation, not to mention education.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

UNICEF at 70: Youngsters Dreaming Big

By Cory Rogers

“I wish every child could be whatever they want to be…” says a card hanging from a branch of a “wishing tree” UNICEF Indonesia set up to celebrate the organization's 70th anniversary.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, was born on 11 December 1946, just over a year after Indonesia proclaimed its independence. In a sense, the two grew up together.

In the decades since, as UNICEF’s work has shifted from service delivery to capacity-building and knowledge generation with Indonesia’s rise as a middle-income economy, UNICEF has striven to ensure children lay at the heart of the Government’s development agenda, helping lift millions out of poverty and combat deadly diseases and malnutrition.

The  core mission has remained the same at every juncture: to provide every Indonesian child with the opportunity to grow up healthy and protected from harm and exploitation, and to develop her or his full potential.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Now, the Bride is Back as a Student!

By: Dinda Veska

Do you still remember our story about two girls from Kenanga* Village named Sari* and Dewi*? The ones whose lives changed dramatically when they both married the same man, Hazar and gave birth to his children. Sari said that she really missed her old life. "I would be happier being a student than a mother. If I go back to school, everything will be better!"

When her husband Hazar left her, she told her mum what she longed for. But lack of money was the main thing that stood in the way of her going back to school. Even then, finding a school that would accept Sari as a bride and a mum was not at all easy.

Friday, 2 December 2016

‘For Every Child’: UNICEF Indonesia Talks Equity

By Cory Rogers, Communication Officer, UNICEF Indonesia

Every child in Indonesia deserves a chance to participate in building the country’s future.

That was the call issued by four prominent activists and social entrepreneurs gathered Monday in Jakarta for UNICEF Indonesia’s Third ACTIVATE Talks, a forum that aims to spark dialogue and action on the urgent issues confronting the country’s children and adolescents today.

The audience, comprised of some 200 youths hailing mostly from Greater Jakarta, answered the call with gusto, voicing their own dreams for Indonesian children in kind.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Young voices inspiring solutions in Ende

By Kate Rose, Communications Specialist, UNICEF Indonesia

“Come on, come up and show us your idea” says Sulastri with a beaming smile. The rain is beating down heavily outside the blue tarpaulin, but the 40 or so young people gathered together beneath it weren’t put off. Neither were the many other community members surrounding the excited group, watching the events unfold. Up came Sindi to tell her peers and parents about the water tank plan, her group’s suggestion to help their village.

Sindi presents the water tank design.
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2016
Sindi and her friends have been a part of the Adolescent Circle in their village for the past few months. It’s a group run by volunteer facilitator Sulastri and is an opportunity for all children to get together, have fun, learn new things and be involved in a whole variety of ways. One of the activities is a collaboration with UNICEF through local partner Child Fund, which seeks to involve children in finding solutions for issues that affect their communities.

Indonesia is a diverse country, where natural disasters happen frequently, and range from local flooding to devastating earthquakes. In many areas, natural disasters are fairly small scale, and it is often hard to predict what will happen and when. UNICEF is working with Adolescent Circles, often housed in Village or Town Child Forums, such as Sulastri’s group to find out more about how these issues affect children and to develop new ideas for what might be done about them.

There are a number of child forums running in Ende, on Flores Island, all run by young volunteers like Sulastri, and all have been invited today to share the ideas they’ve been developing.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Palm Oil and Children in Indonesia – The Children’s Rights and Business Principles in Action

By Michael Klaus, Chief of Communication and Public Advocacy, Indonesia

A child holds a leaf to cover from the rainfall. ©UNICEF Indonesia / Purnomo 

Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 November 2016
– Palm oil is used in approximately half of all consumer goods, from soap and body lotion to processed foods and biofuels. And because it’s easy to cultivate and cheaper to process than other vegetable oils, global demand continues to rise. That’s good news for Indonesia and Malaysia, who together account for 85% of global production. The palm oil boom, however, comes at a significant cost to the environment. The impacts of clearing land for the planting of oil palm plantations – including deforestation, damaged peatlands and greenhouse gas emissions due to slash-and-burn practices -- has been widely assessed. Little attention has been paid,  however, to the impact of the industry on children, despite the fact that in Indonesia alone 5 million children are affected.

Wanting to know more, UNICEF conducted an assessment – the first of its kind - on how children are impacted by the cultivation of oil palm in Indonesia and Malaysia. The research provides insights into the living conditions of children in production centres like Sumatra and Kalimantan, which due to their relative remoteness, rarely receive much attention. Based on a comprehensive desk research, interviews with workers (many of them women) children, teachers, health personnel and NGO representatives, as well as consultations with plantation mangers and government representatives, the study identifies seven main impact areas and a number of root causes.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Investing in children’s cognitive capital: Growing brains can grow economies in South and East Asia

By Lauren Rumble, UNICEF Indonesia Deputy Representative

A billion brains depend on the actions governments and partners take now.

The world’s best scientists have recently confirmed that greater investments are needed to promote children’s ‘cognitive capital’. Cognitive capital refers to the economic benefits resulting from investing in the evolving brains of children. Nobel Laureate James Heckman says that early investments yield the greatest returns: a dollar spent during prenatal and early childhood yields 7% to 10% more than investments at older ages. During the first years of life, one thousand brain cells connect every second. These connections define a child’s capacity to learn and regulate impulses and emotions. They influence the ability to solve problems and relate to others. To capitalize on these investments we need to secure nutrition, healthcare as well as safe and loving families for all children. This requires ensuring universal access to education, healthcare, sanitation and nutrition as well as freedom from poverty and fear for every child.

The reverse is also true. Adverse conditions are harmful to brain development and cognitive performance. Chronic neglect - such as that experienced by children in institutional care - has been shown to be highly disruptive to the brain architecture. This places lifelong limits on the development of skills that are necessary to succeed in school and adulthood.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Once a Child Bride, Now Longing to Go Back to School

By: Dinda Veska

In Mamuju, West Sulawesi, there are 687 girls who are not going to school because they are married and are expected instead to take care of their new household. Most of these are arranged marriages, and one of these child brides is Ani*, 17.

Ani was married at age 15 and gave birth to a daughter shortly afterwards. In these past two years, she has fought many times with her husband and finally decided to get a divorce. Bringing up a baby girl, she has thought a lot about her own life and the impact that education could have on her child in the future. So Ani is eager to go back to school and pursue a higher education to reach her dream as a teacher.

Her motivation is simple but noble: She wants to be her child’s first source for knowledge and education. “If it doesn’t come from me, I’m afraid my daughter would not grow up as a good person,” she said.

At the moment, Ani and her parents are busy filling out the forms and going through the admissions process to enroll in a high school. Meanwhile Ani is working as a shopkeeper in a traditional market while waiting for school to start.

Improving access to quality education for children is one of UNICEF’s programmatic areas. UNICEF works with Phillips Lighting Indonesia and the Government in the Back to School programe, to help children such as Ani to get the quality education that she deserves. UNICEF Indonesia also works with UNICEF’s Dutch National Committee on child marriage.

Ani is keen to share her story and inspire many children in Indonesia to strive for their rights to education. “Going back to school is my vehicle to success!” Ani said.

*Photo, names of girls and villages have been changed

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Billion (Brilliant) Brains - The Asia Pacific Youth Innovation Challenge

By: Vania Santoso – Innovations Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer

Sherley Sandiori pitched her idea “1,000 for 1,000”, a youth volunteer corps to help Indonesia reach universal health coverage. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Vania Santoso.

“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are unrealistic!” exclaimed Sherley Sandiori, a 22-year-old student at the University of Indonesia, in her project pitch to leaders from 28 Asia-Pacific nations at the Third High Level Meeting (HLM3) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It’s safe to say the remark got their attention.

By the night’s end, Sherley’s project -- a youth volunteer programme, enlisting 1,000 volunteers to help outlying islands in Greater Jakarta, also known as Pulau Seribu, or 1,000 Islands, realize universal health care coverage – had proven persuasive.

Entitled “1,000 for 1,000”, the project was selected as one of three winners of the HLM3 Asia Pacific Youth Innovation Challenge.  She received USD 5,000 in seed funding to develop her idea. It was pitched as a means of helping Indonesia realize SDG Goal 3 on universal health coverage.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Indonesian Youth Jamboree 2016: A Family of Young Leaders

By Vania Santoso – Innovations Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer

A Circle of Young Leaders at the Indonesian Youth Jamboree (JPI) 2016 held by the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sport © UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Vania Santoso

It was after 1 in the morning on closing night of the October 2016 Indonesian Youth Jamboree (JPI). But among the 500 youths still gathered around the campfire in Lapangan Sanaman Mantikei in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, none seemed tired or ready for bed. As traditional folk melodies rang through the night air, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight.

JPI has been run annually with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports since 2010. The event brings together high school and college-aged youngsters for five days of fellowship, leadership-building, diversity training, cultural exchange and recreation. This year, participants hailed from 27 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

“Each moment of togetherness at JPI provides valuable insights for the participants. These will be even better applied once they are back in their respective provinces,” said Mulyadi Adnan, deputy assistant of youth knowledge improvement at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. “The results from the poll conducted with UNICEF Indonesia [via the youth participation platform U-Report] made me realize how socially-oriented participants are. They are eager to give back to society and take part in social projects,” he added. “It’s really great to see.”

The ministry used the occasion to promote UNICEF’s U-Report, a free app-based polling system that allows youngsters to share their perspectives on important issues. In partnership with UNFPA Indonesia, the UN Population Fund, U-Report has developed a set of open and closed questions regarding youth-based activities and respondent profiles. Specifically at the jamboree, the system was used to gather recommendations for a National Action Plan on Youth, and as a way to acquire feedback on this year’s event.

Some young U-Reporters from Sumatra, Banten, and Riau together with Drs. Mulyadi Adnan, M.Si (Ministry of Youth and Sports) and Vania Santoso (Innovation Lab UNICEF Indonesia) © UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Ananto Mulya Adisasmita

“Come on, now, turn on your mobile phones! We are going to participate in the online poll,” said Bapak Mulyadi during the Creative Aerobic Competition on 30 October. ”I strongly urge each of you to participate, because the Ministry of Youth and Sports would really like to hear your voice in developing the National Action Plan.” Some 195 of the 480 JPI participants subsequently signed up and became U-Reporters.

Boosting nationalism (34%), education (19%), and entrepreneurship (17%) were the top priorities expressed by the U-Reporters, while the others fell into eight categories of less than 10% each. The respondents also shared their hope that upcoming youth events would focus more on youth development and reaching remote districts.

The results are being used by the Ministry of Youth and Sports together with UNFPA Indonesia and PUSKAPA Universitas Indonesia to develop a National Action Plan on Youth. Learn more about the results on the U-Report website here.

The JPI succeeded in helping an impressive group of youngsters form bonds with a diverse set of peers; indeed, few if any events can rival its ability to connect so many youth together on such a scale. “It’s no problem now if we need to travel across Indonesia,” said Arief, a Ministry of Youth and Sports official and a JPI alum from 2002. “Thanks to JPI, we have families everywhere who are willing to help.”

Seeking every opportunity to find children in need of urgent medical care

Marthen recovered from severe acute malnutrition.
©UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Ha’i Raga Lawa

When health workers found little Marthen lying in a dark room at his grandparent’s home, they knew he needed urgent medical attention. Listless, miserable and painfully thin, his life and health was at serious risk.

Marthen was under the care of his grandmother in Poto village in eastern Indonesia. His mother had just given birth to another baby boy, and his father was earning money to feed and care for his family.

Marthen’s troubles began six months earlier, when he had just turned one year old. He fell sick with a fever and cough at his parent’s home. Believing that magical powers had caused his illness, the grandparents insisted that his young parents turn to “praying teams”, and not health professionals, to heal him.

Over the next six months, and several visits to different praying teams, his condition steadily worsened. He lost his appetite and a lot of weight, and became weak and extremely lethargic.

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:

Monday, 26 September 2016

From Pasuruan City to Indonesia – achieving universal birth registration

By Felice Bakker, Child Protection Officer (JPO)

Major of Pasuruan City, Mr. Setiyono, provides birth certificates at a health clinic. ©UNICEF Australia / 2016 / Alice Hall 

Pasuruan City has been able to increase its birth registration rate from 46% in 2013 to 94% in 2016. Or to be more precise to 94.69% - as of 1:30 pm on the 20th of August 2016. That is the figure shown on the mobile app which is consistently monitored by the Head of the Civil Registration Office, Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. How has Pasuruan City become so successful?

Let me first start by introducing Pasuruan City and the reason for my visit. Pasuruan City in East Java belongs to one of six districts where UNICEF, since 2014, has been piloting a new approach to achieving universal birth registration based on the motto: “Ensuring every child counts”. The project is financed by UNICEF’s Australian National Committee and I had the opportunity to accompany the Committee during their recent visit to see first-hand the results of the work that has taken place.

With funding from the Australian National Committee, UNICEF has been supporting the six districts in promoting universal birth registration. The pilot aims to decentralize services at the sub-district and village level; establish an online registration system for new-borns in hospital/maternity clinics; and establish various mechanisms to address late registration, for example through schools. These steps are taken to contribute to improving Indonesia’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) system.

The Civil Registration Office uses the latest version of the SIAK, an information system which enables them not only to monitor and analyse the registration of births, marriages and deaths, but also to check for example which registered girl below the age of 18 is listed as married on her household card (KK).  They are currently testing the linkages between the SIAK data and a unified database on poverty alleviation. Soon they aim to also link SIAK with education as well as social and health data. The dream is that the “population data can be used to improve the health and well-being of all people”, explained Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. The impact of analysing such data can be immense and determine future programming and development for Pasuruan City and its people.

To achieve its goal of universal registration, no challenge is too big for the staff of the Civil Registration Office. However, this ambitious target poses a demanding task as there are children who are more difficult to identify and to register. These are the vulnerable children, children living in institutions, children living on the street, children from female-headed households, etc. But even for these difficult cases the staff of the registration office always try to find a solution because they believe it is their “duty is to serve the people”, stressed Mr. Boedi Widayat MM.

 The Head of the Civil Registration Office, Mr. Boedi, provides a birth certificate during a mobile registration event. ©UNICEF Australia / 2016 / Alice Hall

I saw the positive impact of the new approach when an elderly lady came to register her 14-year old granddaughter. During the conversation with the staff at the registration office it became clear that the girl was not attending school because her grandmother could not afford the related costs such as books and transportation. The Civil Registration Office took down her details to relay to the Education Office and informed her of the school support programme that she would be eligible for. The lady came to register her granddaughter but now will also be able to send her back to school.

After each activity the team evaluates the results and discusses how they can further improve their services.  Even though, the mobile registration at the village level was successful in registering over 100 children between 0 and 18, the staff understands that this approach is not sustainable - and should be taken as an intermediary solution. The aim is to strengthen the village registration offices to be able to register children at the village level without external support.

Pasuruan City is also very committed to share its experience and learnings with other districts and cities in Indonesia. Visits from two districts in Aceh are already in the pipeline and UNICEF is working closely with the office to develop a case study that can be distributed nationally. This is exactly the concept of up-stream work that UNICEF focuses on in Indonesia: piloting strategies, documenting their success, and encouraging the Government to replicate nationally.

The success and ability of Pasuruan City to lead the development of universal birth registration for the rest of Indonesia can best be expressed through the tagline “from Pasuruan to Indonesia”.

Pasuruan City was recognized recently by the Ministry of Home Affairs for achieving the birth registration target of the national development plan RPJMN ahead of time. But 94.69% is not good enough yet, explained Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. “Our target is to register all children aged 0 to 18 by end 2017. All means 100%”, he said.

Friday, 26 August 2016

U-Report is cool!

By Ariunzaya Davaa, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Mongolia on mission to Indonesia 

“How many of you are on Facebook?” asks Adnan, UNICEF Innovation Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer, from the group of mixed girl scouts from different provinces. All hands are raised in the air immediately.

It was a usual sight at a UNICEF-run session at the Global Development Village of the 10th National Pramuka Jamboree which concluded on 18 August. 25,000 Scouts and leaders from all over Indonesia gathered in the huge camp site in Cibubur, outside of Jakarta, for a week of playing, singing, dancing and making friends.  But it was not only a week of fun stuff, but there was also some learning involved.

The Global Development Village was a learning space where different organizations ran educational sessions. As a close partner of Pramuka on youth engagement, UNICEF organized two separate sessions for the Scouts: one on U-Report and another one on child rights.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

National Pramuka Jamboree: Empowering young people through technology

Releasing 1,000 handmade wooden planes into the air as a symbol of young generations flying higher, the scouts kicked off the 10th National Pramuka Jamboree at Cibubur Scout Camp on Sunday in a vibrant, yet solemn opening ceremony. 25,000 scouts, leaders and members from across Indonesia stood gloriously side by side filling up the entire stadium, in distinctive formal uniforms with red-and-white scarves proudly fastened around their necks.

Happy girl scouts during the opening ceremony
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016
Singing, dancing or saluting in harmony, one could not help but feel the excitement and pure joy of all participants – from club scouts to adult members to international visitors – eager for their week of learning, sharing ideas and making friends, to begin. Colourful and energetic performances from the provinces combined with some occasional earnest moments to pay respect to a fallen hero or to the national anthem, the spirit of friendship, unity and peace reigned over the entire camp.  
“Beautiful” simply said a smiling 14-year old Girl Scout from North Sulawesi about the opening ceremony snapping selfies with her friends. The friends Indah, Nanda, Viani and Miracle added “The opening ceremony was so interesting. There are many scouts with different religions but we are still able to be friends with each other”.
Girl Scouts from North Sulawesi
©UNICEF Indonesia/Ariunzaya Davaa/2016
UNICEF was there too, to help these young scouts to harness the same technology they use for selfies to raise their voices higher and louder in society, through the youth engagement platform U-Report. Recognizing the important role technology plays in adolescent and young people’s lives, UNICEF brought U-Report to the jamboree to encourage as many scouts to sign up as possible and get their voices heard.
The scout spirit and oath has not changed, but the technology was not the same as the last Jamboree five years ago. Walking around the grounds of Cibubur, enthusiasm and impatience of the young scouts filled the air, with their digital cameras, smart phones and iPads wanting to capture every single moment or share a selfie with someone they just met.
And there was plenty to capture. Rainbow of flags representing provinces raised on both sides of the pathway starting from the entrance all the way to the campsite. Hundreds of small camps – homes of the scouts for the next week - are set up across the camp ground; each have their distinctive entrance ways decorated with colourful banners, photos and slogans. The children singing, dancing and doing their scout routine can be found at the camps. Probably there will be hundreds of thousands of images snapped, shared, posted and tweeted by the participants over the week recording their journey and experience that will undeniable shape their lives and their future.
So if they’re going to be tweeting, snapping, sharing and posting anyway, why not make it really count?
U-Report Indonesia uses that same technology and social media to give young people an opportunity to speak out on the issues that they care about, through polls on specific topics and encouraging feedback. Pramuka Indonesia has 20 million members, so the National Jamboree was the perfect event to start spreading the word and encourage the scouts to join more than 2 million U-Reporters worldwide. Thousands of scouts are expected to participate in the interactive sessions each day, which will explain what U-Report is all about and how to use it in twitter and facebook to communicate and share information.

Even President of Indonesia Jokowi highlighted the vital role young people play in the country’s development in his opening remarks and called them to be strong, brave and positive. Standing gracious for the entire opening as the Head of the Ceremony, he also stated the importance of information technology and its proper use by young people. “Use social media to inspire young people to join the scouts. However, social media is not a tool for you to hurt or bully each other” he remarked.

President Jokowi delivers opening remarks
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016

Indeed, bullying is one of many subjects that U-Reporters can and already have shared their views about. The results show that 50 per cent of children in Indonesia are bullied at school. These statistics are important to understand the scope of a problem and its impact on children’s well-being so that the government and other stakeholders can make informed decisions to stop these harmful behaviours. U-Report Indonesia conducts weekly polls on topics such as these and ensures that the voices of poll participants makes their way to decision-makers.
There are currently over 27,000 active U-Reporters across Indonesia who have already raised their voices to influence national and even global discussions on issues that are relevant to them. Examples include polls on the Sustainable Development Goals prior to the UN General Assembly session in September 2015 where the SDGs were endorsed, and on priorities to address climate change, which were presented during the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, among others. Moreover, UNICEF used U-Report to gather children’s and adolescents’ input to a National Strategy on the Elimination of Violence in Childhood, which was launched by the Government in January this year. Around 4,000 children and young people (aged 14-25 years) participated in the poll.
Charged with youth spirit and excitement, the National Jamboree is truly one of a kind bringing together scouts from Indonesia and beyond to create memories and friendships for them to take home and cherish for a lifetime.  This year technology has brought the experience to a next level where the scouts are not only bringing hundreds of selfies back home, but most importantly the feeling of being empowered and being heard like never before.

Monday, 15 August 2016

And so it begins … on our way to 100,000 Indonesian U-reporters!

By Valerie Crab, UNICEF Indonesia, Programme Specialist (Innovations)

Taking selfies after the UReport sessions
© UNICEF Indonesia/Rodrigo Ordonez/2016
A sea of Scouts

14 August, 7h30 am, the sun is warming the sprawling campsite where President Widodo, several ministers and 2000 VIP guests, all dressed in their brown and beige uniforms, are patiently waiting. I had heard about the magnitude of the reach of the Scouts movement, a.k.a. Gerakan Pramuka, in Indonesia, but seeing 25000 scouts get ready to kick off their 10th National Jamboree really hit it home. Four full days and 48 sessions on U-report and Child’s Rights lie ahead of us.

It did not take long to get evidence of the impact U-report already has in Indonesia. Right off the bat, President Joko Widodo, as the Head of Pramuka, asked his 25,000 fellow scouts to use social media responsibly and to stop bullying on and off the net. Those of you who have been following U-report activities globally know that bullying has been part of a recent global poll.

This Jamboree also marks the beginning of the UNICEF–Pramuka adventure. The partnership will capitalise on the common goals the two organisations have and strengthen the capacities of Pramuka on child rights, WASH, nutrition and child protection. It marks the beginning of the scale up of U-report in Indonesia. The goal is to reach 100,000 scouts by mid-2017.

Selfies selfie selfie!

Clap clap clap … clap clap clap … clap clap clap clap! Jambore Jambore Jambore! 60 girls open the training session on U-report clapping their hands and shouting. They pay close attention to the message they are getting. They start understanding the U-report is a tool “to make adults listen”. They take out their smartphones and sign up through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. Those who do not have phones with them take notes diligently and pledge that they will sign up as soon as their phone has battery again.

But there is a twinkle in their eyes when they see the foreigners in the UNICEF tent. A tall Spanish photographer, a beautiful Mongolian lady and a blonde Belgian… what an attraction. So we used this opportunity to become local social media stars and exchanged selfies and signatures for U-report sign ups. Those who took part in the trainings not only got U-report goodies and stamps in their booklets for completing the activities, they got exclusive selfie access to the U-report foreigners. One selfie at a time the U-report community is growing.

Same same, but different

Scouts sign up to U-Report
(c) UNICEF Indonesia/Kate Rose/2016
Working with the Scouts at this particular event showed how this partnership will reach youth all over the country. It is evident in the way they dress as all the uniforms have a local design element. It is apparent in the entrance gates to their camp sites, which all promote aspects of local architecture and landscapes. Despite the differences, these kids all share clear common values and a drive for a future that is respecting of them. I found it thrilling to see that at one such event not only do we reach thousands of girls and boys, but we reach them nationwide and across all social divides. U-report will give them a platform to unite and make their voices heard as one.  

Keep up to date with U-Report!


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Transforming the lives of Indonesian children with Early Childhood Education

Students at KM 0 Early Childhood Care and Education Centre (ECCE) are facilitated by specially-trained teachers. (©UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Kinanti Pinta Karana)

A rare sound of children’s laughter can be heard at Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture where normally Government staff and their partners focus on developing and implementing education policies. A little girl carrying a doctor’s kit declares that she wants to be a pilot. “I also want to be a doctor, and a teacher,” she proudly tells the high-level delegation of officials from the Governments of Indonesia and New Zealand.

Around 30 children had gathered for the launch of a new Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) on the morning of July 18, 2016, jointly run by the Government of Indonesia and UNICEF, with support from the New Zealand Government through a US$2.8 million contribution over a period of four years.

Designed to develop models for quality assurance of community-based ECCE, the programme will reach 7,400 children aged 3-6 years in 100 community-based early childhood centres in Kupang District, in East Nusa Tenggara during the pilot phase. The children will benefit from literacy programmes, play activities and a supportive learning environment. Their parents will be able to access parenting programmes about child care, nutrition and how to help their children get ahead in their learning at home. All in all, it will help the children to be better prepared for primary school - with the help of 200 specially trained facilitators. Once replicated at national level, the quality assurance mechanism will benefit 16 million 3-6 year olds every single year.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Sanitation as a matter of religious importance

By Aidan Cronin, Chief WASH, UNICEF Indonesia

It was a rare sight: members of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (in Indonesian known as Majelis Ulama Indonesia) in their distinctive peci hats sat alongside Government health officials from 13 provinces of Indonesia to discuss an unconventional topic: toilets.

Organised by the Minister of Health, the meeting unveiled an innovative approach to improve sanitation in Indonesia – a Fatwa, or Islamic decree by the Council which stresses the importance of good sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. The decree also allows the use of the Council’s charity funds (Zakat) to provide financial support to the poorest and most vulnerable families for better latrines.

Indonesia has a huge problem with open defecation, where people do not defecate in a toilet but in the open, on the beach, into river and so on. A WHO/UNICEF Report (2015) estimates that over 51 million people do not use latrines in the country – the second highest number in the world. However, open defecation is practised mostly by the poorest populations and they bear the heaviest burden. In particular, children - already vulnerable and marginalized - pay the highest price in terms of their survival and development.

Thursday, 23 June 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.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Protecting children online is everyone’s business

By Kinanti Pinta Karana, Communication Specialist 

Lauren Rumble, UNICEF Deputy Representative, highlights the risk behind open access to online information.

The meeting room is abuzz with voices of people debating while some are writing pointers on flip charts. The scene is from the National Public Consultation on Child Online Protection organised by UNICEF Indonesia and the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kemenkominfo). The event, divided into three stages, is attended by 150 invitees from CSOs, children and youth organisations, school counsellors, government officials, industry representatives as well as other UN agencies. It aims to create a set of recommendations to be handed over to the Kemenkominfo as the authority in online protection.

“Access to the internet, particularly through mobile phones, enables children and adolescents to be part of a global community, with unprecedented access to information. From the populated cities of Java, to the rural island communities in remote Papua, children in some of the world's most disadvantaged and inaccessible communities now have billions of gigabytes of information at their fingertips,” Lauren Rumble, UNICEF Deputy Representative says in her opening remark. “Access to social networks and the World Wide Web provide young people with incredible opportunities for education, entertainment, entrepreneurship and innovation. The possibilities are infinite. But alongside these opportunities are risks.”

“UNICEF recognises the very powerful role that children and young people can play in keeping each other safe from harm. Children and young people can support one another by sharing information about how to protect each other and speaking out against online violence, as they explore the many positive opportunities in the online world. With more than a third of Indonesia's youth population online, the opportunities for creativity and innovative solutions are endless,” says Rumble.

Friday, 3 June 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, 2 June 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, 26 May 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, 25 May 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.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Experiencing UNICEF Indonesia’s work firsthand

By Casey Rotter, Founder of UNICEF Next Generation

For me, traveling with UNICEF Indonesia was an incredible experience. Not only was it amazing to get to see UNICEF’s powerful work firsthand and meet families whose lives have been changed — even saved—  thanks to this remarkable organization, but it was also special for me as a staff member to witness our NextGen members experience UNICEF’s work in-person for the first time. Watching donors truly grasp the nature and depth of UNICEF’s work by being in the field is special in and of itself.  After years of being involved with the organization, these dedicated NextGen members were able to finally put a face and a name to the staff they have supported and the children whose lives have been transformed by their fundraising efforts and personal donations.

This is what donor field visits are all about. No matter how much you think you may know about UNICEF, there is nothing better than meeting the unparalleled staff who are working on the ground every single day, getting to spend the day with government partners and truly gain an understanding of how much they trust and respect UNICEF’s word and partnership, listening to an empowered teenager advocate for their peers’ rights, and looking into a mother’s eyes as she tells you that if it wasn’t for UNICEF’s support of her local Posyandu, the baby who is smiling in her arms would not be here today.

Watching her fight back tears is something none of us will ever forget, and something that propelled us further into our work for UNICEF. For these experiences, we are forever grateful. So, TERIMA KASIH to UNICEF Indonesia, UNICEF’s partners in the country, all of the incredible volunteers we met and our whole NextGen family who support such incredible work.

A handful of Next Generation members travelled to Indonesia from the United States recently to see up close how the money they helped raise for UNICEF Indonesia’s Innovation labs is making lasting change. Below are their first-person accounts of their time in Indonesia: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Friday, 20 May 2016


By Leila Ladjevardian, Next Generation in New York 

UNICEF Next Generation is an incredible group that provides young professionals with the unique opportunity to contribute their time, funds and energy towards helping the world’s most vulnerable children. I have been involved with NextGen for almost five years now, and I currently serve as the Vice Chair of the New York Steering Committee.

I dedicate much of my free time towards NextGen’s goals and initiatives through hosting fundraisers, contributing to programmatic events and recruiting new members. One question I frequently get asked is, “Why UNICEF?”

In the past, my answer consisted of: “UNICEF is an international organization that puts children first.  No matter what the politics are, no matter how dire the situation — UNICEF works with local governments to make sure that children are being taken care of. I am a first generation Iranian-American and appreciate the international component of the organization. To add to that, my mother has been highly involved with UNICEF for years, which allowed me to develop a relationship with the organization from an early age.”

Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to inspire change?

By Bonner Campbell, Next Generation in Los Angeles 

A handful of Next Generation members travelled to Indonesia from the United States recently to see up close how the money they helped raise for UNICEF Indonesia’s Innovation labs is making lasting change. Below are their first-person accounts of their time in Indonesia: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The first thing that hit me when I landed was the heat. Even at night, Jakarta is a sweltering 80°F (27 degrees Celsius) city. I’m here for one week with other NextGen members to conduct field visits to UNICEF programmes. Indonesia is the first country to house two separate UNICEF innovation labs: one in Jakarta, the country’s bustling capital city, and one in Kupang, a town on the island of Timor.

I was sold on the concept of an “innovation lab." The innovation labs in Indonesia focus on adolescent and youth engagement as well as emergency response. The labs involve students in the Global Design for UNICEF Challenge and explore issues as diverse as birth registration and disaster response.

Although gains in the fight against poverty have been made, there is still so much to be done and innovative ideas are crucial. I am here to see how UNICEF can stretch limited resources and ensure we are spending in areas where we can have the greatest impact. Furthermore, how can I inspire people back home to believe what is happening halfway across the world matters to them and their future?

This week’s itinerary consists of 11-hour days of press junket-style presentations from local UNICEF staff and visits to the field and partner programmes. I’m really looking forward to a chance to engage directly with the work that UNICEF is doing. I want to come back armed with increased cultural understanding and more ideas on how UNICEF and NextGen can continue to dramatically impact lives and build a more stable future for today’s youth.

While it’s hot in Indonesia, hopefully we can cook up some ideas.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Champions4Children engage for children’s rights in Indonesia

Six of the ten Champions4Children with UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise, and MarkPlus founder Hermawan Kartajaya. 

UNICEF Indonesia and its partner Hermawan Kartajaya have launched a Champions4Children initiative, focusing on the main drivers of Indonesia’s society: Youth, Women and Netizens. During this year’s Jakarta Marketing Week, organized traditionally by Pak Hermawan’s company MarkPlus, a group of six highly influential personalities got to the stage and committed to use their clout to foster engagement for children’s rights in Indonesia. The group members (Yenny Wahid, Melanie Subono, M. Farhan, Katyana Wardhana, Dikna Faradiba, Budi Setiawan) will become catalysts for social engagement within their environment, a nucleus of a broad-based Coalition for Children, which UNICEF hopes to build in Indonesia.

In their personal capacity, the Champions will reach out and connect with key actors in government, business, civil society, the arts and academia who have the power to put children at the heart of Indonesia’s development.

UNICEF will collaborate with the Champions to raise awareness on the challenges many children are still facing in Indonesia such as violence and bullying, early marriage, malnutrition or disease. The group is already growing and other influencers are about to join, but could not participate in the event, including Veronica Colondam, Iman Usman, Dion Wiyoko, Ariyo Zidni.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Children first: Investing in children for a prosperous Indonesia

By Gunilla Olsson, Representative UNICEF Indonesia

Children in Indonesia can experience vastly different realities. Imagine a Jakarta boy named Budi (left on top of the infographic), born today in the Bantar Gebang slum. With a healthy start in life, he could reach age 5 in 2020 and be a successful high school student by 2030. Grace (on the right), a young girl from rural Papua would be turning 13 today and coming of age with a high school diploma in 2020. She could head a green technology start-up by 2030 on her way to becoming one of the leaders of her country.

This can be the future of a growing number of children in a prosperous 2030 high-income Indonesia. This reality can endow Indonesia with its future teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors, social workers, engineers, CEOs, and religious leaders.

Their futures could also look radically different.

The future we want for Indonesia: Nawa Cita begins with children

"Today we must shift [...] from consumption to investment: Investment in our infrastructure, investment in our industry, but most importantly investment in our human capital, the most precious resource of the 21st century" President Joko Widodo[1]

Budi, a Jakarta boy born today in the Bantar Gebang slum could reach age 5 with a healthy start in life in 2020 and be a successful high school student by 2030. Grace, a young girl from rural Papua turning 13 today and coming of age with a high school diploma in 2020 could head a green technology start-up by 2030 on her way to becoming one of the future leaders of her country.
This can be the future of a growing number of children in a prosperous 2030 high-income Indonesia. This reality can endow Indonesia with its future entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, teachers, CEOs, religious leaders and social workers.
Based on current realities, the prospects of Budi and Grace could look radically different. Both born to poor parents, they have low chances of evading poverty. Budi faces one chance in 25 to die before age 5, and one chance in 3 to be stunted in his first days of life affecting his brain capacity, future skills and earning prospects. Grace has one chance in 6 to be married before 18 to then drop out of school and become a teen-mom. Both children’s exposure to child poverty, malnutrition, poor health, low quality education, and violence have costs to their bodies, brains, and to Indonesia’s economy now and in the future. In a context of increasing inequalities, all these drivers also increase the risks of disenfranchisement and social detachment that could threaten the stability of the Indonesian society.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Giving back to build a coalition for Indonesian Children

“It’s all about giving back!” said 11 year old Kafin Sulthan, one of a whole host of Indonesian celebrities who came together to help launch the #GiveBackIndonesia campaign. Support for children can come in all sorts of ways and this latest example that Kafin talks about is a fantastic collaboration by singers and public figures who recorded a song and video entitled “Give Back Indonesia.”

The song and video, produced by music producer Stephen Laurence Harvey, aims to motivate viewers to give back to help improve the lives of children in Indonesia. Mr Harvey donated the recording to Madam Noor Traavik, the spouse of the Norwegian Ambassador for Indonesia, who later gave the rights to song and video to UNICEF.

“It's a beautiful experience for me, this song is about giving back. I think it’s meant to be, because when I came up with the idea, I got all the support, everyone seems to have time to do it. So basically the whole process is meant to be and this is my way to give back,” Mr. Harvey said during the press conference.

“I encourage and challenge, more and more young Indonesian artists to step out and help by doing similar projects, more philanthropists could donate to help the children around the world.”

The handover took place yesterday at the Norwegian Ambassador’s Residence attended by a throng of journalists and some of the artists, including Kafin, who participated in the song and video.

The collaboration resonates with UNICEF’s belief that to deliver the best results for children we all need to work closely together and join efforts with many stakeholders, including the private sector, because children are everybody’s business. The private sector plays an important role in helping improve the quality of children’s lives.

“This collaboration shows that everyone can contribute, regardless of their backgrounds, for the lives of Indonesian children,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Indonesia, Gunilla Olsson during the press conference. “When I go to the fields around the archipelago and I go to villages, I see children with hope and determination in their eyes even though there are no teachers or doctors where they live. And I hope this initiative could help them have more teachers or doctors. One in three Indonesian children is stunted. Stunting is a condition where children are short for their age and this could really impact their future lives and opportunities. So I am really hopeful that this collaboration will help grow organically, a coalition for Indonesian children.”

Alongside the child star Kafin who attended the press conference, were a number of other well known singers, including Joe Taslim, Syaharani, Dira Sugandhi, Sandy Sondhoro, Kyla Christie, Reza The Groove and Brianna Simorangkir.

"I am really touched with this initiative and I will do anything in my capability to keep helping the children of Indonesia with my talent," Dira Sugandhi said. It is a sentiment shared by her fellow artists including Joe Taslim. "I fully support Give Back for Indonesia because as a parent, I too am very concerned with the future of Indonesian children, they are our future generation", said the actor.

Actor, athlete and singer Joe Taslim encourages others to raise their hand and Give Back to Indonesian Children.   

Partnerships between businesses and UNICEF offer mutual benefits, combining the proven value of Corporate Social Responsibility, raising the profile of the company while enhancing UNICEF’s work on behalf of the most vulnerable children in the country. The video recording will be used by UNICEF to enhance fundraising efforts and comes with a link to the UNICEF donation page to encourage people, businesses and private sector, to Give Back to Indonesian children.