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.