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.