Learn and Play at Desa Wisata Pulesari

The long awaited outdoor activity for this batch in river school program has finally concluded. Last Sunday, on 9th December the Code river school site went for a field trip in Desa Wisata Pulesari, Turi. The trip was something we had been planned since the beginning of this batch. As a community based NGO, it is one of our mission to bring an alternate form of education for children in order to implement our belief of a learning environment to be more fluid, flexible and fun. We have learned from our past, that formal education has been involving a lot in a facility that does not relate to recreational activities. In addition, field trip study is proved to be a prominent necessity in order to truly establish and adopt the idea of alternative education. Stones and earth are such adequate substitution of both pen and paper, and where being soaked, getting dirty and wet are regarded as a form of education.  However, the main purpose of field trip is to give a form of a reward for the children for their outstanding performance, participation, and their immense passion shown through the project activities.

There were total of 30 children and 17 volunteer and staff joining the field trip. It was an enthralling and exciting experience as the students learned how to make a traditional snack called Nogosari. The dish which comes from Java, was made from the snake fruits which are the most common plantation in the area. At the beginning, the mothers from Desa Wisata Pulesari explained the steps on how to make the traditional snack, including the main ingredients. The students were attracted to learn something they rarely or even never seen before. Furthermore, they let the students help peeling the snake fruits, making the dough, and even wrap the dough using banana leaves. It was a good experience as students can get involved in the process of cooking and got chances to ask questions.

After the cooking class, the children were enthusiastically waiting for the main activity that day, which is to go down to the river and explore the river track. There were few obstacles prepared to entertain the students as they enjoy to cross the hanging bridge, climbing through the nets, and  being in the water. As safety become our main concern during the river tracking, our volunteers were always ready to assist the children. In addition, some facts about river, plantation, vegetation, and animals that lives in the river were prepared to give the children some insight about the open river. The children were also asked to differentiate the river in their community with the river they went for tracking. The activity is to make children aware on how river could be a safe environment when it is clean and well-managed.

Lastly, the children were very delighted to know they have been granted with a field trip donation to Desa Wisata Pulesari from The Goods for Good. For the generous donation, on behalf of the children and Project Child Indonesia, we express our deepest gratitude for the continuous support and especially for the field trip surprise. An act of help or assistance, big or small, does not matter. The intention to do so, makes the difference.

SMSG VISIT: Collaboration is key in educational movement

Semua Murid Semua Guru (SMSG) is an educational organization which focuses and believes in the power of collaboration. The founder of SMSG, Najeela Shihab, is an educator and activist of education. The organization focuses on how collaboration among independent communities and organizations would have more impact rather than if the communities and organizations worked alone. Together, the communities could build a bigger impact and establish better network among each other.

Project child Indonesia (PCI) is seen as one of the NGOs which has already established the collaboration movement in their programs. Especially, the River School Program which runs as the longest program in PCI. There are a variety of collaborations among the stake holders: community members, students, volunteers, sustainable funding and involvement from volunteer abroad.

There were about 28 students from the river school site present during the visitation. The Co-founder of PCI, Surayah Ryha, and the founder of SMSG, Najeela Shihab, discussed about the importance of educational development among alternative education. There are many underrated communities who are already working on educational movements to support the government’s agenda of reforming education. These organizations, such as PCI, are already involved in this educational movement and have developed sustainable programs for quite awhile now. This good movement is something which needs to be shared among educational activists. Furthermore, there were mass medias from all across the nation who also came to visit and were interested to spread the good news.

After the visitation, PCI is given time to share about the ideas of alternative education among other communities in Green host hotel and to broaden the network by joining the networking session initiated by SMSG. The visitation held in PCI is expected to give more insight upon possible collaborations between SMSG and also other communities. The collaboration would certainly relate to the scope of Project Child Indonesia. The community development is one of the possible collaborations concerning the community members surrounding river school sites.

There are other expected outcomes from the networking sessions with SMSG and the networks within SMSG: there will be more good news about the alternative education movement in Indonesia to encourage the idea of volunteerism to people reading the news, and possible collaboration with more communities under the same movement. Most of all, establishing better networks with SMSG, media, other communities within SMSG network.

 

 

By: Filla Lavenia Palupy

Indonesia to implement literature to its education system

Literature is a part of artwork that gives human being a pleasure of playing with imagination. It’s closely associated with thoughts, feelings, and experiences, in which are important for the growth of one’s cognitive, intrapersonal, and social. In cognitive aspect, literature is strongly related in shaping a person mind-set as well as building the ability of critical thinking. Literature introduces various kinds of characters in life that will affect an individual to develop their own character. In line with intrapersonal, literature could be a media for individual to recognize norms of a society since literature is the projection of life.

Those three aspects are very beneficial if implemented in children education. It is proven from countries such as US and Japan that have been implementing literature into their school curriculum for years. Kinds of literary works that could be implemented into everyday teaching learning process are various. For example songs, poems, prose, short stories, picture books and novels. The one being main concern of Indonesian government is printed literary works. Even though Indonesia in fact is quite late in applying literature in children education and that making Indonesia has low interest in reading, the government lately has been trying to implementing literature in the education system. This can be seen from government policies that require students to read books for fifteen minutes every day before the teaching and learning process begins.

In Indonesia there are several children literature authors that have amazing works for children to read. Murti Bunanta with her Si Bungsu Katka, The Tiny Boys and Other Tales from Indonesia, and etc. She wrote her books in a way that it is easy yet so fun but still full of values and knowledge for children to enjoy and of course to learn. Various values could be taken from Bunanta’s books such as being independent; being honest; and working hard and for knowledge, Bunanta’s book is a retell from Indonesian tales, children could learn about Indonesian culture through the books. Another name is Bung Smas, who made books for children that more advanced in reading, and most of his book have the genre of mystery. His famous works are Noni the Series and Pulung the Series. Through his book, children are given the media for exploring their minds and also emotions such as happiness; sadness; grief; and lost. Those books have been the go to for teachers to engage elementary students to read.

Children have a very different world from adults. The world of children is very close to the world of imagination. Imagination for children means exploring and also understanding the reality of individual existence, and surroundings. Encouraging children to explore their imagination is needed to stimulate their mindsets in order for them to reach their maximum potential. The role of literature through literary works becomes necessary since it is proven to be able to give children the media for them building and developing their imagination.

Pasar Mandiri Code – Project Child Indonesia

On 3rd November 2018, Project Child Indonesia held Pasar Mandiri at Sekolah Sungai Code. It’s one of our most anticipated event at Sekolah Sungai, and the children of Sekolah Sungai Code were very excited in preparing and taking part in Pasar Mandiri.

The original idea of Pasar Mandiri or Sustainable Market, is to allow the riverside community to take part in the process of education for the children at our Sekolah Sungai. In Pasar Mandiri, Project Child Indonesia provides second-hand goods, with great quality and affordable price to sell. The prices range from IDR 1.000 to IDR 10.000. This affordable price range allows the community member of Code to buy all the things that they need. The money that we collected from Pasar Mandiri will directly goes to our educational field-trip for the children.

During this event, we also involved the children of Sekolah Sungai Code directly. They helped to sell, bargain and promote the clothes, bags and shoes to the community member. We involved the children on this event, because Project Child Indonesia aims to raise awareness towards the children about working hard to achieve their dreams. We want the children to understand and put their effort for what they want. And through Pasar Mandiri, they learn about this. They learn that for their educational trip, which they also get to participate in deciding the trip that they want, they have to put some effort in making it happen.

The event start at 09.00 until 12.00, around 50 people came and participated in Pasar Mandiri. We would like to thank all of our kind donors and volunteers for making this program possible.

Storytelling Day – Project Child Indonesia

In the celebration of Sumpah Pemuda, on 28th October 2018 Project Child Indonesia with DESA (Developing Rural Area by Social Activities) in collaboration with Kita Beraksi, 1000 Guru Jogja, and Yogyakarta Mengajar held an event called “Satu Hari Mendongeng Anak Indonesia” in one of our river school, Gadjahwong. The event was initiated as an effort to raise awareness about the importance of literacy in children’s life. The event combined interesting storytelling and games in order to give inspirations for the children that books can be interesting too.

The event was successfully held at 09.00 until 11.30, and was divided into two session of storytelling. The first session was a general storytelling, then on the second session the children were divided by their age group and they listened to another story. Around 27 children came and took part in this event. Instantly, they were captivated and mesmerized by the stories. They were passionate in listening and watching the storytelling.

After the first and second session, the children were given some questions regarding of the stories that they’ve just heard. The children were very enthusiastic in answering questions about the story. The question and answer session were followed with giving out the door prizes. Project Child Indonesia gave out books and school essentials for the children that could answer the questions about the stories.

At the end of the event, in the spirit of celebrating Sumpah Pemuda, the children and volunteers recited the youth pledge. Then the children received tumbler from a generous donation by Travel Lover Yogyakarta. We were so happy to conduct this event in our river school, Gadjahwong. We want to thank you for the communities that took part in our event. We hope to see similar events on other school also!

General Medical Checkup at Code

On 26th October 2018, Project Child Indonesia held an event called “General Medical Check-up for Kids” in one of our River School area, Code. The event was held to help the kids to be aware about their health, and to teach them about basic health. The event was initiated by Australian pediatrician, Dr. Monika Tasoni. During her stay in Yogyakarta Dr. Monika Tasoni contacted Project Child Indonesia, as she wants to do voluntary work and community service to help the children.

The event was successfully held at 14.00 until 17.30, just right after the children finished their school. On that day, around 28 children came and take part in the medical checkup. Dr. Monika Tasoni was helped by two undergraduate medical students from Universitas Gadjah Mada. They helped the doctor to communicate with the children. Most of the problems that the doctor encountered in Code is cavities. Fortunately, Dr. Monika Tasoni came prepared with toothbrushes and toothpastes for the children. The children were very excited as they received a brand new toothbrush set. Later on that day, Dr. Monika Tasoni demonstrated and taught the children the proper way of brushing their teeth. She also reminds them to always brush their teeth three times a day. Thanks to the doctor, the children were very enthusiastic and happy to learn the importance of brushing their teeth.

The event was also enlivened by the participation of PPSMB Universitas Gadjah Mada. Around 10 first year students of Universitas Gadjah Mada, came and helped out the event by entertaining the children. They also gave generous donation of stationaries for the children.

We are happy and grateful for the generous gestures of the people that really cared to help our community. We hope this event could inspire a lot of people to take part in their society. We also hope to see similar event to be held in other river school community!

 

Green Teachers of Today: Towards a Green Generation of Indonesia

A seminar and workshop by PCI with the mission of promoting better environmental education

With the current condition of the earth, it has become increasingly important that we teach the younger generation to understand and care for the environment. It is essential that children nowadays grasp the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle- otherwise the environmental problems they face will just get worse and worse.

Like with any other life skills, teaching children involves all layers of society, namely: their homes, schools, and the community.

The government has recognize that environmental education, formally known as Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup, is an important topic to be taught at schools, and has thus introduced the Adiwiyata program, which conducts environmental education in formal schools. This program was first introduced in 1975 by IKIP Jakarta, limited to only a small number of schools in the capital city. Now, this program is run all over the country, with most public schools actively implementing or at least aware of this program to some level.

Although this is a national program which is regulated by the Ministry of the Environment, a lot of schools are still struggling with it. With that in mind, Project Child Indonesia (PCI) held a seminar and workshop titled “Guru Hijau Jaman Now: Menuju Generasi Indonesia Hijau” (Green Teachers of Today: Towards a Green Generation of Indonesia). In this event, PCI invited 45 elementary school teachers from around Yogyakarta to participate. The seminar invited 3 speakers: a representative from the Center of Environmental Studies UGM, and headmasters from SDN Bhayangkara Yogyakarta and SDN Giwangan Yogyakarta- both who have much improved the implementation of Adiwiyata in their schools. The seminar  was aimed to provide the teachers with a deeper understanding of the urgency of environmental education, and also the basics of Adiwiyata implementation. The workshop was held as a focus group discussion (FGD) which was geared towards understanding the teachers’ perception of the Adiwiyata program. The aim was to gather insight from the teachers which could be used as feedback to the Environment Agency who runs the program.

From the FGD, we understood that most teachers still found the Adiwiyata program challenging. Most teachers generally understand that environmental education is important, but translating that into classroom activities for elementary children is tough. Even though the government has provided guidelines for the curriculum, they feel that it is not specific enough and it very much requires the teachers to be creative and to actively search for ideas and materials for the class. Since most elementary school teachers do not have a formal background in environmental education, this becomes a big challenge. Another problem is that not all teachers have received the guideline or necessary information to effectively deliver the program. While some teachers are able to find different ways of integrating the material in their everyday lessons, some teachers have never even read the lesson plan for the Adiwiyata Program.

The seminar and workshop was able to provide the teachers with a space to learn from each other and share their troubles. Although the Adiwiyata Program has much potential to be a program that will have a significant impact towards the future of the environment and the next generation of Indonesians, a lot of work still needs to be done. We hope that this short experience will motivate the teachers to better implement the Adiwiyata Program, while also being a reminder for the government to improve their planning and systems related to this program.

OurOcean 2018 Conference

Project Child Indonesia partook in Our Ocean Conference held in Bali on 29 and 30 October 2018. Started in 2014, Our Ocean Conference’s main objective is generating commitments and taking actions to maintain the sustainability of our oceans. Our Ocean Conference 2018 gathered participants from countries around the world to ensure diverse perspectives from various ocean stakeholders, including prominent figures from various sectors who will influence concrete and actionable commitments to preserve the oceans’ health.

The oceans hold the promise of our future. However, the oceans are under immense threat as an impact of detrimental human activities. Marine pollution, bleaching coral reefs, raising sea temperature, and unsustainable fishing continues to occur. Illegal activities such as human trafficking in fishing operation, wildlife trafficking, as well as arms and drugs smuggling also risks the ocean indirectly. It is our choice to choose the kind of legacy we leave for future generations, therefore the theme Our Ocean, Our Legacy is chosen to reflect our commitment to preserve our oceans as a heritage presented for our children and grandchildren.

The event consisted of plenary meeting, exhibitions, and Our Ocean, Our Legacy Youth Leadership Summit. During the conference, participants are encouraged to announce their commitments as it critically contributes towards global efforts to preserve the oceans’ health. The conference also tracked past commitments and encourage new commitments and partnership that deliver multiple objectives.

The 2018 Our Ocean conference focused on 6 areas which are marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, and maritime security. Project Child Indonesia as one of the participants in Our Ocean Conference 2018 took part to tackle the issues of marine pollution.

Since 2014, Project Child Indonesia has been actively campaigning against single plastic use mainly through Drinking Water Program, as well as other programs such as Sekolah Sungai and Sekolah Pantai. By means of education Project Child contributes in reducing plastic trash threatening our ocean, and introducing environmental awareness to younger generations who will inherit the role of protecting the future of our planet.

Batch 27: The Beginning of Project Based Learning

Welcoming the 27th batch has been an enthralling experience for Project Child Indonesia, especially the river school program. Running as the oldest program in PCI, our excitement never worn out to welcome new volunteers and interns who are ready to help children in our community sites. The first meetings of each river school were prepared to introduce the new volunteers to the children. Games and fun activities arranged by them aimed to be bonding occasions during the early introductory class, before they jump to Project Based Learning.

Project Based Learning (PBL) has been an approach we choose to nurture and spark children’s critical thinking and social awareness. This batch, PBL approach is tailored to current SS condition which not only the volunteer but also the children who come voluntarily to our river schools. As the result, the number of students is unpredictable in each meeting. It becomes our motivation to create fluid syllabus which could be designed to either small or big class. The activity during the project involves active exploration and awareness upon the real problems as we choose public places in the neighborhood to become the major theme for the PBL.

We believe that children should be equipped to something which has never been or less likely taught at formal schools, such as a real problem-solving case to evoke their sense of awareness toward their surrounding. The soft skills in PBL which are intertwined with 21st century skills (ex: Learning & innovation skills, Life & career skills, etc) are something that should be taught positively. A topic on public places is a good example to be shared in PBL class. Children could start from their closest environment to care about their neighborhood and surrounding. Children are expected to explore and observe the public places in their neighborhood a lot closer this time, not just some places they often passing by as they play and walk around the small alley down the neighborhood. This time, children are given time to look closer to find interesting things and even problems. Therefore, children should be able to map the problems and explore the possible solution.

During the project, children are required to write on weekly journal. It is used to track on their own project, consisting of planning and also actual implementation. Although it is one real challenge to help children to write their plans, we do believe that every effort is worth to be driven. The journal and driving questions given by volunteers are techniques to introduce children with literacy context of critical thinking and ability to design their own project. This concept of literacy is integrated within 21st century skills (Trilling & Fadel, 2009) which we try to set objective goals in PBL.

 

Lastly, teacher-centered approach is away from our learning process as teachers (volunteers) act as facilitators to assist children in doing the project. The real problem in the real world is something that we believe need to be exercised from an early age. Thus, in complementing formal education, we try to exercise these soft skills to prepare children for the upcoming challenges.


Written by FIlla Lavenia P.

Better Drinking Water Access for Children’s Better Future

Human needs clean water to live. Polluted water is not only dirty and not suitable for consumption, but can also be harmful and even cause death. To improve the quality of life of the community and fulfill the basic rights of all the people, provision of guaranteed access to drinking water needs to be seriously considered as one of the national development priorities. Limited access to water can rob children of education and economic opportunities and prevent them from getting out of poverty. Due to distant access of water from home, children in remote areas often get the task to obtain water for their families too. This responsibility will take up their time which should be used for learning and playing. Safe and accessible water access will give them extra time so they can play like children in general and use the time to study for their future.

Infrastructure development is one of priorities in President Joko Widodo’s administration. Mr. President emphasized on various occasions how important infrastructure is for the progress of a nation, including as a basic foundation in economic growth and increasing the independence of a country. This also applies to the construction and development of drinking water infrastructure or commonly referred to as the Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum (Drinking Water Supply System) or SPAM.

Another challenge beside the lack of SPAM providers in rural areas is that the infrastructure used to distribute water in Indonesia is usually outdated, poorly maintained and prone to leakage. If the distribution system is damaged, water could be contaminated with waterborne disease organisms. The rapid rate of population growth also resulted in a gap between population and service coverage. Lack of local experts is often a barrier to creating more modern water treatment distribution system as well, which requires trained personnel for operations and maintenance.

Based on the performance appraisal conducted by the Agency for the Improvement of the Implementation of Drinking Water Supply Systems (BPPSPAM) towards 371 Regional Drinking Water Companies (PDAM) in 2016, they found that the number of PDAM in healthy condition was 198 (53%), 108 in unwell condition (29%), and 65 ailing (18% ) This condition is different from 2015, where 368 PDAMs were assessed and resulted in 196 (53%) PDAM in healthy condition, 100 unwell (27%), and 72 (20%) ailing. Whereas in 2014, of the 359 PDAM assessed, 182 (51%) were in healthy condition, 103 unwell (29%), and 74 (21%) ailing (BAPPENAS 2017). It can be concluded that from 2014 to 2016, the number of healthy PDAM increased only slightly, the number of unwell PDAM increased and the number of ailing PDAM decreased slightly. Another challenge for SPAM in Indonesia is that there are still many improvements needed from the government to maintain SPAM.

In accordance with Law No. 23 Year 2014 concerning Regional Government, drinking water supply is one of the main responsibility of regional government in regards of providing basic compulsory services. Along with the government development program, the funding aspect for the development of SPAM must also be the commitment and concern of the regional government. Nevertheless with limited local government funding and other development priorities, the central government also supports the development of SPAM in local regions through APBN, hence the SPAM infrastructure development gets joint funding from the regional government and the central government.

In addition to the APBN and APBD, the government also opens opportunities for business entities to support the development of SPAM through the mechanism of Public Private Partnership (PPP) listed in Government Regulation No. 122 Year 2015 concerning Drinking Water Supply Systems. The advantages of the PPP scheme include providing other financing alternatives due to limited government funding, more efficiency, getting new technology used by the private sector, and accelerating the increase of coverage and quality of public services. PPP scheme is expected to optimize investment costs, especially in urban areas where population growth is increasing rapidly. The ability of people in cities to pay which tends to be bigger is a strong reason for investors to invest, but what about people in remote areas who cannot afford it? The lack of conducive business climate has caused the private sector to be reluctant to develop SPAM in rural areas. As a result, the piping network and drinking water supply for the rural poor have received little attention from the government or the private sector.

One of the efforts to develop SPAM in Indonesia can be started from schools by providing drinking water installations to build habits and increase awareness to children, teachers, parents, and people around the school environment. The water filter system guarantees the cleanliness of water so it minimizes potential disease due to contaminated water. Children will also be able to set aside a portion of their pocket money to buy other necessities other than drinking water. This system is also easy to learn so that anyone can operate and maintain it. Application of Drinking Water Programs in schools can offer drinking water supply options to assist the government in both urban and remote areas, especially for children. With a good and affordable drinking water supply system, children will have the opportunity to develop their potential because they have more time to learn and play, so the hope of having a brighter future is greater as well.