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.