4 WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM

Written by: Felice Valeria (Content Writer Intern)


In our previous article about youth volunteerism, we had stressed enough its utmost importance in enhancing personal development, whilst giving back to the community simultaneously. Hence, it is highly recommended for youths, as the next agents of change, to get involved in this kind of activity due to the abundant benefits it might generate, especially for the future. Nonetheless, several things are easier said than done; although people are willing to carry it out, many of them might have not known the feasible ways or channels to do it, which would then discourage them from contributing to their communities through this means. Therefore, here are some suggestions that you could take into account, which might be useful to assist you in seeking for any volunteering opportunities:


Join any youth or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Of course, the most obvious and feasible way to find any volunteering opportunities and getting involved in them is by joining any NGOs or youth organizations in your community! Usually, those organizations would have specific programs or events that allow people, either the members or non-members, to partake as volunteers, especially in grassroot communities. In order to easily find out any organizations existing in your community, you could ask your friends or relatives who are active to be volunteers, as well as seeking for information from the student organizations in your schools/universities, especially those who focus on social services. Usually, they have numerous links to those kinds of organizations. Just give it a try!

Find out the information on any websites which specifically provide volunteering opportunities.

There are many websites that are specifically established to provide volunteering opportunities! Of course, it is one of the feasible ways also. The activities or opportunities being featured could be done either locally or abroad. You could try to visit websites such as volunteermatch.org, allforgood.org, idealist.org, and many more, which you could find out through search engines. Just match the filters with your criteria, and voila, you will see a bunch of them!

Tutor a student in your schools/universities.

Volunteering is not only limited to being involved in grassroot communities. Being a tutor to a student could be considered as one of the ways to manifest your altruism as well! If there are any of your peers or your juniors in school/university who are seemingly in need of an academic assistance, you could probably offer your help to them. Not only you could develop your teaching skills, you could also make lasting friendships with them!

Offer your helps to any community organizations that suit your interests.

Community organizations have different causes one another, and it is your rights to find any community organizations that suit your interests in terms of volunteering. You could volunteer in a local school, a club in your university, or even in a hospital! You could contact any of the officers if there are any volunteering opportunities available. You would definitely make the most out of your volunteering experience if you enjoy where you are working at and what you are doing.


Those are a few of many volunteering suggestions that might help you to find any volunteering opportunities that suit you best. Being a volunteer is indeed an investment for your future, as it would give you unforgettable and invaluable experiences that you would hardly obtain anywhere else. No doubt, it would absolutely be worthy. Hence, let’s be a volunteer!

World Water Day 2019: “Leaving no one behind”

by Luisa Maria Geller

“Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right.”
UN Water


Billions of people are still living without safe water, struggling to survive and thrive. Especially marginalized groups, like women, children, refuges, indigenous or disabled people are often overlooked and heavily affected by discrimination as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. Worldwide, one in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with pupils using unprotected sources or going thirsty. Consequently, more than 700 children under five years of age die every day from diarrhea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

People are left behind without safe water for different reasons, such as ethnicity, nationality, economic and social status as well as other factors like conflicts, environmental degradation, climate change or population growth.

Addressing the issue: World Water Day 2019

Access to safe water is critical to public health and important for a sustainable and stable development of global society. In 2010, the UN recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life. Defined in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), the UN aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. ‘Safe water’ is defined by a safely managed drinking water service. Therefore, the human right to water entitles everyone, without discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use, including water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.

World Water Day 2019 on 22nd March tackles the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people still are being left behind. This year’s theme “Leaving no one behind” focuses on the adaption of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, questioning why there are still billions of people marginalized or ignored. In order to leave no one behind, society must focus on efforts towards including people. Water services must meet the needs of marginalized groups and their voices must be heard in decision-making processes. Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognize the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.

How does it relate to Project Child Indonesia?

Even though the water availability in Indonesia is naturally sufficient, approximately 1 out of 8 households in the country has no access to safe water, which affects more than 27 million people in the country. 51 million Indonesians lack access to improved sanitation, increasing the chances of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea. Especially children are concerned by dehydration due to the lack of drinking water, which affects the student’s cognitive functions, limiting school performance and physical activity. Project Child Indonesia is aware of these issues. Therefore, PCI developed its Drinking Water Program (DWP), that is working towards the implementation of water filters in elementary schools, providing them not only with safe water, but furthermore with supplementary education about the importance of water, health, environment and how filtered water can improve the situation in all of these areas. The program shows an effective way of increasing clear water usage and aligns with the ideas of the SDG. Read more about PCI affords in our latest post http://projectchild.ngo/blog/2019/02/25/safe-drinking-water-in-yogyakarta/.

How can I help?

World Water Day 2019 is an occasion for PCI to emphasis its efforts concerning safe water within Indonesia. In order to increase the usage of water filters, awareness needs to be raised about the importance of the consumption of safe water. Therefore, the PCI keeps on with its work with local communities, other NGOs and governmental institutions in order to change the situation of people ‘left behind’ within the country. There are many possibilities to support PJI and their work. Learn more about them here: http://projectchild.ngo/get-involved/.

Furthermore, World Water Day 2019 can be seen as an impulse for more people to get familiar with the issue and support people that are heavily affected by poor water and sanitation conditions. Idea is to raise awareness why people are left behind without safe water and what can be done to reach them, about the reality of the water crisis and how it affects every aspect of society. Want to be a part of the movement? Check how to help on http://www.worldwaterday.org/.

On Three Dimensions of Literacy

by Muhammad Nur Alam Tejo, Research Intern PCI 2018


Technology plays a significant role in the society. One of its impacts includes the changing use of media from the printed ones to digital. Despite this shift, we need to act and react as wisely as we could. Therefore, meticulousness in perceiving the concept of literacy will help us understand the challenges within.

Todays, literacy has complicated conceptual problems. Even some researchers has preferred the term “literacies” to “literacy” (such as: Street, 1995; Hamilton, Barton, Ivanic, 1994) as it is assumed to be more apposite for social, cultural, and ideological matters which ‘we perceive, act, and read culturally’ (Street, 2001: 11). Diverse perspectives on literacy lead us to more complex social problems since they involve various layers of people. This is one of the literacy challenges related to social situation in the society.

Prior to digital era, the concept of “literacy” merely referred to the ability to understand information through reading and writing. Meanwhile, now it has been extended into the ability to write, read, and comprehend information through digital media, such as videos, voice records, graphs, and audiovisual. In fact, the impacts should be taken into account since digital literacy could contribute to people’s paradigm shift philosophically, sociologically, pedagogically, and culturally. This literacy is always closely related to people’s cultural and social contexts.

Three kinds of literacy dimensions proposed by Green (1988), the operational, cultural, and critical, define how literacy runs practically in the society. Due to the lack of attention on those dimensions, our pedagogical system too much focuses only on the operational one.  On the other hand, the cultural and critical dimensions seems to be left behind. It is proven by Indonesia’s low literacy rate in showing that we were in the 60th out of 61 surveyed countries, according to the result of PISA (Program for International Students Assessment) 2015. Should we implement the concept of those dimensions, we could foreshadow the challenges.  

The operational dimension is the basic one from literacy concept. It emphasizes on the ability to understand technical activities, including reading, writing, and comprehending information. In digital literacy context, it refers to the practical skills to understand how to operate digital media and fully make use of its features. The problems would be related to technical matters, for instance coding skill, graphic design, and statistical analysis.

The cultural dimension aims to upgrade one’s comprehension of cultural and social aspects in digital literacy into a specific context. It is important to apprehend cultural symbols and rituals for meaning making so that the values of literacy will still suit one’s cultural context. It might not be the primary discussion in the overview of our educational system even though it is substantial in shaping the base of human knowledge. It works in a non-materialistic matter which means cultural values and characters also play a role in meaning shaping on one’s knowledge.

On the other side, the critical dimension highlights one’s critical skill on texts and artifacts into issues like social agents and power, social representation, and other instruments. In digital literacy, this dimension consists of collective knowledge of each human. It defines the steps to be taken by human according to the analysis on the real problems.

It is important for us not only to reflect an educational system which accommodates digital literacy but also consider the dimensions on literacy concept. The objective is real simple which is to construct our people’s values, characters, and critical skill. We hope that all the hustle and bustle in digital space will not be a pain in the ass in the society. Digital literacy education that could beautifully combine the operational, cultural, and critical dimensions is expected to be the cure to any negative outcomes. Hence, Indonesians could enjoy the benefits of technology, not only the drawbacks.


References:

  • Green, B. (1988). Subject-specific literacy and school learning: A focus on writing. Australian Journal of Education. 32 (2)
  • Street, B. (2001). Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives. London: Routledge.


THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR CHILDREN FROM VULNERABLE ENVIRONMENTS

by Melissa Nas

If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate
violence from the world within one generation
Dalai Lama


Indonesia, a nation which lays in an area which is prone to natural disasters, has experienced over 30 major earthquakes, more than 50 floods and landslides, volcanic eruptions and disastrous tsunamis (Asian Disaster Reduction Center, 2016).  Hence, Indonesian residents are repeatedly exposed to significant traumatic events. In these situations, emergency first-aid responders face the task of how identify the means by which distress is expressed in Central Java culture as well how to treat such a large population for health problems.

In the aftermath of disasters, children are among those at the highest risk for developing psychological trauma, such as overt-aggression, withdrawal, post-traumatic stress symptoms, suffer increased anxiety and fear similar disasters arising from their memories (Belfer, 2006; Norris et al., 2002). Unique to this developmental period, is the possibility that these distressed children may exhibit decreased school performance. A study done by Widyatmoko et al. (2011) point out that working with local teachers for identifying and screening distress among children impacted by a disaster provides important insights into the context of trauma for that particular community. Two years after the earthquake in 2006, teachers identified that children exhibit decreased school performance (decreases in student achievement, lack of motivation to study, absences, and the inability to concentrate and master school lessons), a fear of the traumatic experience re-occurring and emotional problems.

Large-scale screening for children’s mental health problems in the wake after a disaster is challenging, through emergency health care providers report feeling unprepared to respond to the children’s mental needs. There is a need for a more efficient screening tool that is able to identify post-disaster mental health problems in children. Therefore, it is important to recognize the potential utility of teachers as an effective resource for assessing the psychological state of children exposed to disasters. Thence, first-aid responders have started to partner up with schools (Widyatmoko et al., 2011).

This article does not only address the potential teachers have for screening mental health problems in children after disasters, but also address their role of implementing yoga exercises in schools for children to cope with the aftermath of disasters. This could eliminate the decreased school performances and help to care for the children’s feelings of anxiety and distress. Several studies indicate the beneficial effects of yoga in children. According to Telles et al. (2012) yoga can be used in managing trauma related to natural disasters, combat and terrorism and interpersonal violence. Learning yoga can empower a person’s self-determination and regain their sense of being in control of their lives. Yoga can be used as a preventive technique as well as a means of improving children’s well-being, improve adjustment among self-regulatory capacities and stress, including rumination, intrusive thoughts and emotional arousal (Telles et al., 2013).

Although yoga can benefit children’s well-being in many ways, this article mainly focuses on the effect that yoga can have on stress and anxiety levels in children. After a tremendous disaster, anxiety is a major disorder having significant impact on a child’s behavior in the classroom, their ability to focus, their overall physical health and well-being. Teachers can provide vital information regarding the child’s need and present a setting that is structured and supportive. Rosenberg’s study (2018) found that 10 minutes of daily yoga practice in the classroom had a significant impact on the anxiety levels of children. Therapeutic yoga appears to be useful in helping children cope with stress and anxiety by practices encompassing asanas, pranayama and mindfulness/meditation sessions as it brings a calming effect to the mind. Breathing techniques (pranayama) and deep relaxation (yoga nidra) induces change in brain activity, lowers oxidative stress, activated the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore reducing the heart rate. When children learn these practices and do them consistently, they can distress themselves, connect with their inner world through the coordination of mind, body and breath. Thus, they may not need to depend on medication whenever they are stressed (Nanthakumar, 2017).  

The NGO organization, Project Child Indonesia, located in Yogyakarta, wants every child in Indonesia to have the opportunity to learn, to have a healthy start, and to feel supported and secure living in a clean environment that is prepared for natural disasters (Project Child, 2019). Project Child’s Sekolah Sungai offers an alternative form of education to children of a vulnerable community which is prone to natural disasters. Therefore, they could make a start implementing a 10 minute of daily yoga at the beginning of their classes to calm the active physical behavior and minds of the children. A ‘sun salutation-exercise’ at the beginning of each class with an additional 2-minute breath exercise could make the children be more aware and focused before the class starts. Because of creating awareness, yoga could help the children understand that they can contribute to the solution instead of being a part of the problem of their community. Additionally, a full 45-minute yoga class could be implemented each semester to let the children connect with their inner-selves and experience the environment around them in a new way.

Several studies mentioned in this article have shown yoga may be a great benefit to a child’s mental health. Therefore, I strongly recommend integrating yoga into the curriculum of schools after it has become a viable option to address emerging emotional and physical health problems in children. If yoga sessions are incorporated as a part of physical education or after school hours (such as Project Child Indonesia) as an extra activity, it can enhance psychological health in children. Therefore, schools should give equal importance to yoga as other school subjects as yoga’s positive impact on holistic health have been uncontroverted.


  1. The Indian science of living, yoga, includes several practices such as physical postures (asanas), voluntary regulated breathing (pranayama), meditation, conscious sensory withdrawal (pratyahara), and philosophical principles (Taimini, 1986)
  2. Anxiety is generally a state of unwarranted fear of nervousness about real or imagined circumstances. There are many symptoms, and they may vary from one person to another, affecting physical and mental health. Anxiety causes stomach aches, headaches and dizziness in children.


Reference:

  • Asian Disaster Reduction Center (2016). Disaster information archive: Indonesia. Retrieved February 22, 2019 from Asian Disaster Reduction Center website: https://www.adrc.asia/countryreport/IDN/2016/Indonesia_CR2016A.pdf
  • Belfer, M. L. (2006). Caring for children and adolescents in the aftermath of natural disasters. International Review of Psychiatry, 18, 523–528.
  • Nanthakumar, C. (2017). The benefits of yoga in children. Faculty of University Studies, HELP University, Journal of integrative medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2017.12.008
  • Norris, F. H., Friedman, M. J., Watson, P. J., Byrne, C. M., Diaz, E., & Kaniasty, K. (2002). 60,000 disaster victims speak: Part 1: An empirical review of the empirical literature, 1981–2001. Psychiatry, 65, 207–239
  • Project Child Indonesia (2019). Sekolah Sungai. Retrieved February 25, 2019 from http://projectchild.ngo/our-program/sekolah-sungai/
  • Rosenberg, M. (2018). Reducing Anxiety in Elementary School Children by Implementing Yoga. The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing Undergraduate Honors Theses. Retrieved February, 25, 2019, from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/nursuht/66/
  • Taimini I.K., (1986). The Science of Yoga. Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House
  • Telles, S., Singh, N., & Balkrishna, A., (2012). Managing Mental Health Disorders Resulting from Trauma through Yoga: A Review. Department of Yoga Research, Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India. Retrieved February 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3388328/
  • Telles, S., Singh, N., Bhardwai, A.K., Kumar, A., & Balkrishna, A. (2013). Effect of yoga or physical exercise on physical, cognitive and emotional measures in children: a randomized controlled trial. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health: 37. Retrieved February 25, 2019, from https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-7-37
  • Widyatmoko, C. S., Tan, E. T., Seyle, D.C., Mayawati, E.H. & Silver, R.C. (2011). Coping with natural disasters in Yogyakarta Indonesia: The psychological state of elementary school children as assessed by their teachers. School Psychology International, 32 (5), 484-497

Safe drinking water in Yogyakarta

by Ian Granit


Safe drinking water is essential to human wellbeing and is a basic human right. The water availability in Indonesia is naturally sufficient due to its heavy rainfall, it is one of the countries with the highest water availability in the whole world. However, approximately 1 out of 8 households in the country lack access to safe drinking water, increasing the chances of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea. A survey in Yogyakarta Province in 2015, through the Government and UNICEF, showed that 2 out of 3 drinking water samples were contaminated by faecal bacteria. Another research study from Bandung Health Office (2012) showed that only 13.33 percent of water samples from tap water had good quality.

The impact of contaminated water has shown to have detrimental consequences on children’s long-term health. Furthermore, dehydration due to lack of drinking water has a severe effect on cognitive functions, limiting school performance among other things for children across the. Proper sanitation technologies and lack of integrated planning is a major obstacle in developing countries suffering from shortages of clean water. One solution to Indonesia’s lack of clean water is the implementation of water filters.

One of the programs in Project Child, the Drinking Water Program (DWP), is working towards the implementation of water filters in elementary schools in the Yogyakarta region. The filters are cheap and easy to maintain considering the benefits that they are able to provide. Utilizing tap water through filtration produce many advantages to children’s health by increasing the availability of water, especially clean water. Furthermore, the filters have positive effect on the environment by reduced single plastic use. The filters present an alternative to plastic bottles, the most common way of accessing clean drinking water in Indonesia. Further and increased use of water filters will therefore decrease the single usage of plastic in addition to the health benefits it brings.

The implementation of water filters is therefore an effective way of reducing plastic waste, increasing clean water usage, decrease dehydration and therefore increase the quality of education. This aligns with 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals:  

  • Point 6; Clean water and sanitation – water filters have the ability of providing clean water and better accessibility of water were tap water is not safe to drink.
  • Point 3; Good health – better accessibility to clean water will increase water consumption, increased water consumption has several benefits towards people’s health.
  • Point 4; Quality education – decreased dehydration amongst students due to water and less diseases from contaminated water will lead to better capabilities of coping with education.
  • Point 13; Climate action – water filters provide an alternative to plastic bottle usage, the impact of this will decrease the plastic waste that affects the environment in a negative way.

There are several benefits if more water filters were to be implemented in Indonesia. However, many children are raised to never drink tap water and a large part prefer to drink other things than water. The access of drinks containing sugar, caffeine and the perception of these drinks are an obstacle that Indonesia need to address if water filters are to be accepted as an alternative to plastic bottle use or boiled water. Project Child are aware of these difficulties and in addition to providing the schools with water filters they have supplementary education about the importance of water, health, environment and how the filters can help all of these areas.  

In the future, to increase usage of the water filters, awareness needs to be raised about the importance of drinking clean water and using water filters. This includes support from communities, other NGOs, government organisations and a change in how people perceive plastic usage and the filtration of water.

Commemorating the First-ever International Day of Education: Indonesia and the World to Take Bigger Steps to Achieve Educational Equality

Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.”
Chief of UNESCO at the Inauguration of the International Day of Education


Education has played a crucial role in the efforts of achieving all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); therefore, its importance could not unquestionably be overlooked. The establishment of the International Day of Education by the United Nations indicates further awareness and commitments of the international community to embody the 4th SDGs, which is quality education. The UN chief emphasized during the inaugural day, that the world could not afford a youth generation who have inadequate necessary skills to compete in the 21st century economy. He stated so as there are still at least 262 million children, adolescents, and youth who are out of school, in which most of them are girls; millions who attend the school are not mastering the basics.  It could be seen that unequal access to education has become a major obstacle for most countries in achieving inclusive growth, and therefore, should be taken into account by all layers of the society.

Each country has different levels of educational disparities within it, regardless of whether it is a developed or developing, a poor or rich nation. The United Kingdom, despite its position as the world’s 5th largest economy, is ranked 23th in the world in primary school inequalities, according to UNICEF’s report, An Unfair Start. The driving factors of the inequalities might be due to unequal income distribution, as well as low quality education.This also happens in Australia, where educational inequality has largely taken place, with the discrepancy of socioeconomic status and parents’ education as the main influencing factors, which also have contributed to the widening gap between rich and poor. Aside from those aforementioned factors, the conduct of discriminatory practices might also be the cause, either based on race, religion, gender, and so forth.

Indonesia is no different compared to the aforementioned countries; it is also experiencing high educational disparities. While a child in Jakarta could pursue 11 years of schooling, a child in Papua could only be expected to complete 6 years of education in schools. It could be seen that the access to education in rural areas is still highly limited. To add further, the significant discrepancy of income in Indonesia has made the problem becomes worse; high-quality education remains inaccessible for those who come from poor families. Only those who come from financially-capable families who would be able to choose between private or public schools. Students with disabilities also experience educational inequality and inaccessibility, as according to the research carried out by the University of Indonesia, almost 70% of disabled children do not go to school, and 66.8% of them even only have the chance to pursue their education until the primary school level.  Those cases indicate how inclusive education still remains a challenge that Indonesian government and society should strive for it harder to make it into the reality.

Currently, education has increasingly mattered more than ever, as people could pursue better opportunities and live better lives if they are sufficiently educated. Nonetheless, the increasing educational inequalities in the world has made achieving inclusive and quality education becomes a challenge that should be resolved by the international community. Universal access to education should be guaranteed through collaborations among government, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders in order to make sure that the “No One Left Behind” tagline is not merely a talk, but also an act.

written by Felice Valeria – Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Focus Group Discussion about Community-based Tourism

Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta is rich with culture and full of tourism potential. In particular, Kampung Wisata Cokrodiningratan. On Saturday, February 9th 2019 Project Child Indonesia with the community of Kampung Jetisharjo RW 06, held a Focus Group Discussion about community based tourism. Around 17 people came and took part actively in the discussion. The discussion was facilitated by Surayah Ryha, the Executive Director of Project Child Indonesia.

The Focus Group Discussion started at 20.00 WIB. For the first session, PCI and the community discussed about the definition of “Wisata Kampung”. On the second session, they discussed about the potential that their village have. The Focus Group Discussion managed to map out several tourism potential as well. There’s a potential in nature, since Kampung Jetisharjo RW 06 located on the river bank of Sungai Code. They also have potential in culture and food, such as Jathilan, and Pasar Kuliner (Food Festival). The session continued as the community tried to map out the weaknesses that their village have. Some of the participant expressed their concern towards keeping commitment and spirit in pursuing a community based tourism. Others share concerned in English language ability. The last session, the community talked about opportunities and challenges that they may have to face for community based tourism.

This Focus Group Discussion was meant to introduce the concept of community based tourism and participatory tourism to the community. By implementing community based tourism, the community learns to take active part in managing tourism in their own village. Furthermore, by implementing participatory tourism, it means that the tourist that came to Kampung Jetisharjo will take part actively in the villagers live. The tourist that come to Kampung Jetisharjo won’t be only doing sightseeing, but they will engage with the locals and participate in various activities with them as well.

The next step after this Focus Group Discussion is establishing a community based tourism organization, or in Bahasa it’s called Kelompok Sadar Pariwisata (Pokdarwis). Pokdarwis will be the platform for the community to explore and start their community based tourism. It is also expected that by establishing Pokdarwis, the community could gain trainings, fundings, etc from the government.

WASH: Back to Basics

written by Alice Pidgeon

Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege… These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.

– Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)

The basic principles of WASH, along with busy lifestyles can mean that people become immune to remembering the importance of what, when and why of WASH. Humans need water to survive, hygiene to be healthy, and sanitation to live in safe environments. WASH is the acronym for Water And Sanitation Hygiene created by UNICEF. It’s the catchy reminder that clean hands, hygienic habits and uncontaminated environments are key to maintaining a healthy life and wellbeing. The message of WASH is sharp and clear; clean water for consumption, the presence of sanitation facilities, and the availability of soap and water for handwashing are all needed. While it may sound like a simple message, it can often be forgotten or difficult to achieve as the facilities needed aren’t available. Despite Indonesia having positive economic growth in recent years, it is not uncommon for citizens to still suffer from poor access to safe water and sanitation.

New evidence from the World Bank’s report on WASH in Indonesia shows that owning a toilet, drinking clean water, and living in a community where most of one’s neighbours own a toilet are important drivers of child growth and cognitive development in Indonesia. Unequal access to these services can stunt a child’s growth with impairment to their development, learning and earning. UNICEF reports that stunting odds are 1.4X greater for children in Indonesia without improved sanitation. This causes intergenerational factors that can lead to greater future problems. To level the playing field, children need to be educated on the importance of WASH to lead healthier lives and enhance their wellbeing.

Project Child works with three communities in Yogyakarta in their Sekolah Sungai (river school) program to empower the children to be the agents of change using project based learning. They become positive influences in their communities, working together towards alleviating the incidences and burdens from poor water, sanitation and hygiene they may experience through finding solutions and making improvements. The lessons of WASH translate into life based skills that can help to the children to become healthy citizens physically, mentally and socially. Project Child educates the children based on the three components of WASH including water, sanitation and hygiene;

Water

Water is needed to survive, but if it isn’t safe to drink and use it isn’t helping to survive. Water can be become the problem when it is ‘dirty water’, referring to it being contaminated, unsafe, or if there is an inadequate supply. Contamination can occur at the source (such as rivers or wells), during transportation (being carried in a dirty bucket), or at the time of consumption (dirty hands touching the water). To make water safe, treatment and storage methods can be tailored to meet local needs allowing people access to clean water.

Sanitation

Sanitation refers to safely collecting, treating and disposing of human waste. This includes basic sanitation facilities such as toilets, latrines and stopping open defecation in spaces such as waterways and streets. A lack of sanitation can cause serious health risks from faecal waste making its way into the environment as very serious health risks including diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery can be transmitted. Sanitation also addresses safety issues and undermines feelings of self-dignity, particularly for women and children. When nature calls, a safe place is needed to answer. Proper sanitation that is separated from other people coming into contact with the waste. Infections are prevented and lives are saved.

Hygiene

Hygiene is primarily about health and the actions that are taken to ensure cleanliness of people, homes, schools, communities and other people. One of the most simple and effective means for hygiene is handwashing with soap to prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses. Just because germs cannot be seen, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. With contaminated hands being one of the main ways diarrhoea is spread, it’s critical to educate children and caregivers on the importance of hand washing.


While the three components of WASH can be looked at separately, the success of them cannot be reached without understanding how they all connect. Essentially one cannot be realised without the others; and without the others, heavy burdens can be placed on individuals and communities, particularly children. For example, despite clean water being used to prepare food, if the person preparing the food hasn’t washed their hands the food can become contaminated with bacteria making the people eating it sick. Or, open defecation leaves excreta where children are playing, and then children bring it into the households. The connection between the three components of WASH also exemplifies the connection for how meaningful progress on the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) cannot be achieved without an inter-sectoral approach to Goal 3 (good health and wellbeing) and Goal 13 (climate action). Poor WASH heightens health risks that will be further exacerbated by climate change as natural disasters become more prevalent increasing the risk of food and water borne diseases. These are further reinforced by achieving the other SDGs including education, energy, nutrition and ending poverty.

Health is a prerequisite for everything to flourish; an opportunity every child deserves. Poor water, sanitation and hygiene should not be the barrier that prevents Indonesian children, and children around the world from developing, learning and earning. WASH underpins poverty reduction, economic growth and healthy ecosystems by contributing to social wellbeing, inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods. Project Child works collectively in their sekolah sungai program, recognising and educating that WASH is a prerequisite for the children and their communities to flourish healthily and maintain their wellbeing.

References:

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/28505/W17018.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/wes.html

Youth Volunteerism to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

By: Felice Valeria, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

According to the United Nations, there are 1.8 billion people aged between 10-24 in the world, which could be said as the largest generation of youth in history. Hence, the role of youth in advocating for and executing changes seems to be really crucial, especially by taking into account their role as agents of change for the future. In responding to this particular phenomenon, the United Nations has highly distressed and encouraged the active participation of young people to contribute in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In many countries, particularly the developing and underdeveloped ones, most of the youths are facing several major challenges in terms of SDGs, such as but not limited to the lack of access to education, healthcare, and employment, which eventually would create more structural socio-economic problems in the future. Of course, one of the relatively best and easiest ways to foster their involvement in solving those problems is undoubtedly through volunteering activities.

Volunteerism, which is mostly executed through non-profit organizations, has significantly impacted the stakeholders involved, which include the non-profit themselves, as well as the communities and the youths. Nonprofits could be benefited through the expansion of missions, innovative ideas, enhanced public support, and the cultivation of new supporters and volunteers. Meanwhile, the young people could take advantage in terms of their increase of self-development, which include but not limited to responsibility, empathy, self-esteem, new social skills, improved physical and mental health, interest in learning, and other psychological and intellectual developments. The United Nations itself has recognized volunteer groups as one of the stakeholders to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that might also considerably foster its national planning and implementation.

It could be seen that volunteerism is a prominent fuel for sustainable development, and it is highly recommended for all communities to get involved. Nonetheless, despite the aforementioned benefits of youth volunteerism, a considerable amount of young people may unfortunately still be discouraged from conducting volunteering activities, which might be caused by the lack of information, lack of time, lack of interest, and so forth. As these problems should be taken into account, volunteerism would definitely provide abundant benefits for the youths and the grass-root communities, especially in the efforts of achieving SDGs. As volunteerism was not featured in the agenda of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), despite its significance to be implemented. Further significance and effectiveness of volunteerism could be proven by the fact that countries which have high amount of volunteers are more vibrant in terms of economic and social conditions, according to the statistics by the International Forum for Volunteering in Development. Many aspects that drive poverty could also be gradually resolved from the act of volunteering, such as education, health, employment, and livelihoods, which are the key objectives of the SDGs.

Wait no more, let’s be a volunteer to achieve SDGs hand in hand, young people!

Ready for The Age of Disruption


What I try to focus on is not to try to stop the march of technological progress. Instead, I try to run faster. If Amazon knows you better than you know yourself, then the game is up.


Yuval Noah Harari

The development of science, knowledge, and technology nowadays has gone beyond what was predicted some decades ago. The rapid advance that marked the world with a new era, namely the era of the Industry 4.0. The appearance of new technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and genetic editing in biotechnology will immediately change all aspects of human life. One example of this is how technology plays a significant role in life where  the internet can connect people globally with a massive spectrum and almost without limitations, so there are many transactions starting from lifestyles, work and cultural exchange. Citations from The Economist magazine uses the term “techlash” to mark the time when technology will become the ruler, not only from a economic aspect, but also social, political and cultural aspects.

Industry 4.0 came in one package in the form of positive benefits and negative impacts. Technology indeed aims to help human activities, but it can also cause a change of life order in society called disruption. These days, Indonesia has been in the stage of disruption era. It can be seen from human resource factors from which the country is still not ready. According to data reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) related with global competitiveness index in the 2017-2018 WEF Report, Indonesia occupied the 36th position,  raised up to 5 rank from the previous year at 41st position from 137 countries. From the data, Indonesia experienced an increase in rank, but the country is still below in comparison to Thailand (32nd), Malaysia (23rd) and Singapore (3rd). One of the causes of Indonesia remaining below those countries is due weak health and primary education pillars.Three indicators can be identified as the case can be identified as the case First, Indonesia ranks 101 out of 137 countries (Thailand 72nd, Malaysia 66, Singapore 8th) with life expectancy. Secondly, Indonesia also ranks 47 out of 137 (Thailand 89th, Malaysia 23rd, Singapore 3rd) regarding quality of primary education. Thirdly, the country also ranks 106 of 137 (Thailand 100, Malaysia 32nd, Singapore 1st) with its primary education enrollment rates.

According to the WEF, health and primary education is one out of four main pillars of the basic requirements of sustainability in society welfare of a country. Further, WEF also published a report entitled “Future of Job” which implied that to face the disruption, someone should have ten basic skills among them including : complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility, judgment and decision-making. However, those basic skills should be taught early which can be difficult to obtain in Indonesian primary education.

To prepare for the challenges of the age of disruption especially in the education field, Project Child Indonesia (PCI) as a Non-Government Organization created a program called “Sekolah Sungai” (River School) in 2011. PCI realized that the current formal education in Indonesia at the present time is not optimal. This is because of the lack of distribution of education infrastructure, the need to improve teachers’ quality, and improve curriculum that is not in accordance with the need of today’s students. Therefore, the program was created to complement their existing formal education. “Sekolah Sungai” is held at three places in Yogyakarta including Kricak, Gadjah Wong and Code.

Sekolah Sungai” is a program in PCI that implements a method called Project Based Learning (PBL) which has been adjusted to the community conditions surrounding the river sites. PBL is used to prepare students for the 21st century challenges to work on real problems and solve them directly using their analytical and practical skills.Often a product or presentation can be the end-result of the project.Children are expected to work on the project during a period of time given by the facilitators. Moreover, PBL is suitable for our community classes in the spirit of alternative education as it indulges critical thinking, creativity and communication skills as supplementary skills for their education. In this batch, PBL discussed two projects named “Public Places in Your Neighborhood ” and “Literacy Project”. The first project was designed to spark the awareness of children related to their own neighborhood with them expected to find solutions to the real world problems found through their projects. The second project aims to improve children’s interest in literary works such as picture books, magazines, comics, novels, and many more. It also trains their creativity and flexibility to think and share their ideas in creative ways.

Sekolah Sungai located in Gadjah Wong, called “SS Gadjah Wong” is one of the river school sites. Acquiring basic education through formal schooling is still not yet effective, and the children in that place are not yet familiar with literacy. This added with the fairly low socio-economic conditions of the area make it challenging for the people to develop basic skills such as critical thinking, creativity and cognitive flexibility to answer the challenges of the age of disruption. Sekolah Sungai volunteers assist the children with ages varied from 6-14 years through PBL. The 10 week duration of PBL meetings showed positive results to the development of students as they became more daring to express themselves, more creative, and better able to coordinate with other people. The first project that started from the first to sixth week, was about “Public Places in Your Neighborhood”. The students were assisted by volunteers to do public place observations. It aimed to gather information about the history, function of the problems that exist, and then discuss the possible solutions related to the problems altogether. The second project called “Literacy Project”, was held on the seventh to tenth week of the meetings. It began with reading stories to children in order for them to gain exposure to literary works. After that, they were guided by volunteers to create  an outline that was to be developed as a story. Upon finishing the story, the students created literacy projects such as short stories, comics, and picture stories. During the projects, various obstacles were found however, they contribute as great insight for curriculum development, students, and the improvement of the Indonesian education system in a broader spectrum.

Written by: Ega Kusuma Ahimsa- Teaching-Learning Assessor Intern


Bibliography

https://www.economist.com/news/2013/11/18/the-coming-tech-lash

https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-techlash-mean

https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018

https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-competitiveness-report-2017-2018