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.

Everyone Can Participate to Support SDGs

As a follow-up to the past 15-year Millennium Development Goals agenda, in September 2015 the United Nations launched a new, more universal, inclusive and comprehensive resolution called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs have 17 new goals to encourage sustainable development based on human rights and equality to encourage social, economic and environmental development. SDG number 6 aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation which one of its targets is to provide access to safe and affordable drinking water that is universally and evenly distributed to everybody in 2030.

Indonesia has committed to support the Sustainable Development Goals by adopting most of the SDGs targets and indicators into the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024. The integration of the global agenda into the RPJMN shows that the government is paying great attention to legitimizing and providing a legal basis for the implementation of the SDGs agenda in Indonesia.

In July 2017 President Jokowi has signed Presidential Regulation No. 59 of 2017 concerning Implementation of Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals that establish the structure and mechanisms for national SDGs management for planning, budgeting, financing, monitoring and reporting. In this regulation it is stated that one of the national targets of the 2015-2019 RPJMN is to increase access to safe drinking water for 40% of the lowest income population in 2019 to 100%.

The regulation is also a commitment to the implementation and achievement of SDGs carried out in a participatory manner by involving all parties. In accordance with the main principles of SDGs namely inclusion and participation, the importance of the role of non-government actors such as mass organizations, philanthropy, business actors, academics and other related parties is explained there. Various platforms at national and regional levels are needed to bring these non-government actors together and realize a real partnerships.

Non-governmental organizations have an important role in communicating SDGs to the public by making the policy process more transparent and easily accepted. One of the goals of increasing public awareness about SDGs is to empower communities to participate in solving problems around them and contribute to the SDGs.

Besides NGOs, the participation of various parties is a constituent part of sustainable development which is crucial for the realization of the agenda’s objectives by combining various sources of information, knowledge and expertise to generate new ideas, foster commitment for all parties involved, increase awareness of an issue and understand what challenges need to be resolved together.

Project Child Indonesia can be one of the platforms for the meeting of governments, investors, civil society and academics to achieve the goals of the 6th SDGs with the implementation of the Drinking Water Program (DWP). Since its implementation in 2016, DWP has had a positive impact on 29 schools in Yogyakarta, 4 schools in Fakfak, and will continue to be developed in various regions in Indonesia.

This program guarantees the availability of safe and affordable drinking water in schools with funds obtained from investors who care about this issue. Counseling in schools regarding the need for access to drinking water for all communities, the importance of getting enough drinking water for children, and the advantages of the water filter system in terms of health, financial and environmental are also provided by young volunteers who come from various universities in Indonesia and abroad.

The 2030 Agenda emphasizes on “integration” and “unity”, where goals and targets will not be achieved if all parties are working individually. A coherent and holistic approach involving various parties will improve the implementation of SDGs and contribute to the coherence of policies for sustainable development in order to create a civil society.

written by Hidayati Dwi Kusuma Pratiwi

Medical Check Up at Kricak

On 10TH September Project Child Indonesia held an event called General Medical Check-up in one of our River School area, Kricak Kidul. The event was held to help the community and environment to be aware of their health, environment, and to promote our river school too, which held every Monday in the same area. The event was initiated by Dr. Mike Lehmann and his wife, Gabi Lehmann. During their trip to Indonesia, dr.Lehmann and his wife were interested to do voluntary work and community service to help the locals.

The event was successfully held from 09.00 to 16.00 and was divided into two session of medical consultation, morning and afternoon check-up. 32 people from the community were listed and joined the medical check-up, most of them were the elderly with various symptoms such as stroke, muscle pain, and etc. dr. Lehmann and Mrs. Lehmann were helped by three graduate medical students from Gadjah Mada University. They helped the doctor to communicate with the elderly from the community.

After the medical check-up ended, the doctors join our regular class on Monday. The children were very excited to learn about how to wash hands properly, brushing their teeth, and other important behavior. The Lehmanns brought tooth brushes and other equipments to be given to the children, so that children can brush their teeth with the cute toothbrush and made them happy brushing their teeth. The doctors from Indonesia also helped to manage some games in the class and gave children quizzes. The evening was very cheerful and full of spirit.  

We are glad and delighted that there are many people out there who are willing to help our community with their expertise. We hope to see similar event held in other river school community!

Independence Day of Indonesia

Independence day has been a big celebration in almost every part of society and region. From the nation to the smallest community, we’re all joining the celebration. Every year the celebration in our communities is something we always looking forward to, for it is a good occasion for us to connect more with the people and bring the spirit of togetherness. As Project Child Indonesia work along 3 communities in Yogyakarta: Winongo, Code, Gajah Wong, we are delighted to join the celebration within the communities.

We tried to participate in the events by giving a set of presents such as school supplies and toiletries in all of the community we work with. The communities had already plan the events for the celebration which involved every part of the community: children, the youth, mothers, fathers, and even the elderly.

Furthermore, in Code, PCI join the event as a judge for singing competition and also drawing competition. Variety range of age group join the singing competition, and fiercely have a battle during the contest. It was a fun night to work with the people in Code. Meanwhile the drawing competition is held for the kindergarten children to show their creativity through arts. Both of the events arranged by the communities are successfully gather the community attention to join the event and to connect within their own community.

Last but not least, PCI with Code community held a cooking competition. The event was a success with 5 teams of participant from the community. “Healthy food for the family” was the big theme of the event, as in our community we always teach the children about the importance of healthy food. During the event, we provide the fresh ingredients for the fried rice menu, with no artificial seasoning and processed meat. Therefore, the event was the campaign for the healthy food to encourage families to eat healthier food by providing fresh ingredients for the the daily meals.

Kids Then and Now

By: Naya Fauzia Dzikrina

Of recent months, the phrase ‘kids jaman now’ has been one of the most (unfortunately) viral hashtags in the Indonesian internet universe. The phrase is commonly used by ‘older people’ to comment on children’s behaviour nowadays that are considered astonishing, weird, or even inappropriate. The phrase carries a negative connotation which implies that children today are growing up too fast and are basically doomed for not being ‘children’ anymore. The behaviours commented usually involve things such as children saying inappropriately adult things, swearing, dating, and mostly too much use of gadgets.

Although this phenomenon is troubling to some extent, let us take a moment to reflect on why is it that we (the ‘older’ generation) feel so compelled to comment and bring down these younger kids? Especially when we ourselves remember how annoying it was for us when our parents would give us the ‘back in my day’ talk. How do we gain satisfaction from scorning at children who (whatever it is they are doing) clearly do not know any better? And further still, let us really reflect on why it is the children are behaving the way they do.

A long enough reflection will lead us to the uncomfortable conclusion that we are really the ones to blame. Us laughing at children behaving like ‘kids jaman now’ is really us laughing at our incompetence of properly educating the younger generation. Children are observant; they are like sponges. Whatever they express must be a result of whatever they have witnessed or learned. It is our responsibility to make sure that they learn the right things, the right way.

Project Child Indonesia (PCI) works with and for children. Through fieldwork conducted in the three programs of PCI (Sekolah Sungai, Drinking Water Program, and Internet Literacy Program), we have talked to children from various parts of the city. Naturally, the children we encountered differ widely. But, through all of them, something was clear: they were all children, and they all possessed the same basic things that children across cultures or generations share: excitement, curiosity, and a naturally good heart. Project Child believes that no matter the condition or generation, each child is good and can be educated to be better.

The fact is, children of today grow up in the same manner we did. Like all children, they have instinctively learned how to utilize and mimic things around them, both good and bad. Since we are the older and (supposedly) wiser, we must take a more active part in assisting those younger than us to face challenges today in a positive and responsible way; be it facing technology, taking care of the environment, or simply figuring out how to best use their free time. Even though each program of PCI has its own focus, bringing the best out of children is the general goal that PCI works to achieve.

Times have changed and it is unrealistic to demand the children of today to grow up the same way we did. But what we can all do is change our way of viewing this issue, and not blame the children for being what they are. It is up to us to start giving positive examples.  

Project Child Indonesia held a meeting with Acting Mayor of Baubau City

On June 29th, 2018, Project Child Indonesia held a meeting with Acting Mayor of Baubau City and related Chief Department on the fields of education, environment, and health to collaborate in the Drinking Water Program for schools in Baubau City, Southeast Sulawesi. The meeting was held in Lakeba Beach Restaurant on June 29th, 2018, at 13.00 WITA.

Drinking Water Program is an educational program which provides drinking water filters installation at schools. Through this program, several chosen primary schools will receive installation of ready-to-drink water filters which can be used by the students at school. Besides, the program also gives alternative education on the field of health and environment for a whole academic year for the primary school students.

The program aims to increase the children’s awareness of the habit of drinking healthy water that is important for children’s growth and development, especially during their time at school. The program is also intended to reduce student’s habit of consuming artificially colored and sweetened drinks, and the high production of plastic trash. This is critical because Baubau City has ongoing issues on plastic trash and drinking water at school.

In 2018, Project Child plans on developing education program through Drinking Water Program for schools at Baubau City and nearby cities at Southeast Sulawesi. These programs will involve a cooperation with a few government stakeholders in order to improve the quality of education, health, and environment awareness.

We were delighted to see the positive response from the government stakeholders. Acting Mayor of Baubau, Dr. H. Hado Hasina was highly supportive of the program. “Any program that gives positive impact for the people must be supported by the government. For this program, I have asked related institutions to support the program. Nonetheless, the head of Regional Water Supply Company (PDAM) has also stated that his team will maximize the functioning of reservoir in Waborobo to help clean water distribution in Betoambari, Murhum, and Batupuaro.”

This is the first time Project Child Indonesia uses top-down approach with government stakeholders. The outcome of the project will be a model for our future strategies in expanding to other areas.

The Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

The moment you start feeling thirsty, your body is most likely already insufficiently hydrated. Especially children tend to forget to drink enough and are at a high risk to become dehydrated. When the kids are outside and playing with their friends, they can easily risk lacking of water intake, as they are often not aware of the significance of drinking enough water. Parents, therefore, should encourage their children to drink enough and take water breaks, especially if they are physically very active.

Generally saying, drinking sufficient amount of water is one of the most important things to stay healthy. Adding to that, it has various other (health) benefits.

Water is good for the whole body

Since 70% of human body consists of water, the majority of the blood and every cell in the body are composed of water. Human body simply needs enough water to function properly. Drinking enough also boots the internal metabolism and helps the body to properly break down food.

Water helps with headaches

When having a headache or migraine, drinking plenty of water is the first thing that should be done. As these are commonly caused by dehydration, water can bring some relief. A good way to prevent headaches is to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Water keeps you awake, fit and concentrated

One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness. Drinking enough water therefore can help the body stay refreshed and awake. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. Drinking water can help energize these tired muscles. Dehydration can lead to an impairment of attention span, memory and motor skills. As the brain consists of mostly water, drinking helps it work, think and concentrate better and be more alert. When children drink enough, they are more able to follow in school and focus on assignments and test.

Water saves calories

Water has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar – in comparison with the often very sugary soft drinks. Consuming soft drinks at a high rate can cause a variety of negative impacts on the body such as obesity to diabetes. High calorie and sugary drinks are especially popular with children, so parents need to explain to their kids why soft drinks should be the exception and not the norm to relief the children´s thirst.

Water helps save money

Drinking water from water dispensers is cheap and convenient. People can save the most if they use the water dispenser with refillable bottles and take them wherever. Therefore, buying plastic bottles in the supermarket could be avoidable which then could prevent another plastic garbage.

Project Child Indonesia knows how important sufficient hydration is, especially for children. Hence, we established Drinking Water Program in Yogyakarta and Pacitan. We don’t only provide water filters in schools but also an educational program. Currently, Project Child Indonesia is expanding the program to Fakfak, West Papua. To find more information about our programs in Yogyakarta, Pacitan and Fakfak, check out our website!


written by Sophia Abigmann

Project-based Learning Approach

Coming to 21st century generation, education is one of the most notable support for children which evolving and constantly moving forward. Project Based Learning (PBL) is used to prepare students from the 21st century challenges, to work on a real problem and solve the it directly using their analytical and practical skill, with a product or presentation as an end-result of the project. Throughout 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 class in the spirit of alternative education as it indulges critical thinking, creativity and communication skill as supplementary skills for their education. These skills are important for the children to prepare themselves in further steps of being digital natives and more challenge in the real world. Furthermore, we come to realization that skills connected to real life is a prominent skill, as a matter of fact, not many practicalities of formal education have come to this main issue yet. Adjusting to our time limit in the community class, PBL is conducted once a week in each of our river school with additional meetings based on their own need assisted by volunteer in charge. Thus, through the PBL we conducted in river school attended by variety range of children age group, we attempt to spark curiosity and implement the trial of Project Based Learning, as children in our community is bounded with formal school and formal way of thinking in which teacher teacher play important role as the “story teller”. It needs certain amount of time to indulge and even sparks curiosity of the children.  

The children are given chance to design their own project assisted by the volunteer. Afterwards, the volunteer is the one whose responsible to decide whether the team need extra meeting and project the sustainability of the project. Seeing the format of the project, not to mention the volunteer responsibility, PBL in our community indeed rely mostly on our volunteer as children still need guidance from the volunteer. Working with this new format, indeed give the team special challenge during the process. it is becoming a greater challenge to introduce this type of learning to our children in the community class, as it does need bigger involvements from the children, not to mention initiating the project which ideally comes from the students. These traits of working with the new format are varied from adjusting to different setting of community class, designing the project framework, adding extra meeting for some groups in PBL, etc.

In addition, the current PBL running in our program certainly need further assessment and improvement in many parts. Most importantly, the presence of facilitators which is volunteers are also taken into consideration. The well-trained facilitators in the field are our major approach towards the children and their project. Thus, working hand in hand with facilitators to record the documentations of each project and track the progress, is becoming our major concern at the first place. Lastly, we are putting more effort in equipping the team with sufficient knowledge of PBL by doing some research and learn from various sources.  

A Visit from Haarlemmermeer Lyceum, Netherlands

Project Child Indonesia was honored to host students and teachers from Haarlemmermeer Lyceum, Netherlands from Monday, April  30th to Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 in the riverside area of Code. There was a total of 27 students and 2 teachers joining the visit, and they stayed for a night in the local’s houses. Their coming to Indonesia is part of an exchange program with SMAN 9 Yogyakarta as the sister school.

Upon their arrival in Code, they got a chance to learn Indonesian Language before heading to the local’s houses where they would be staying in. They enthusiastically learned basic Indonesian vocabularies to be able to communicate with the locals. They then were split into several groups to go on a tour around the area, guided by our volunteers. The spots visited were the riverbanks, the traditional costumes rental, Sekolah Sungai location, and the community leader’s house. After the trip, they gathered at SD Jetis 2 to play traditional games from Indonesia and Netherlands with our team members and some children from the neighborhood. We had so much fun playing Indonesian games Gobag Sodor and Tug of War (Tarik Tambang), as well as a Dutch game called Annemaria Koekoek.

The highlight of the day was the Cultural Night. Our community in Code had prepared some performances on traditional dance and music. They gave their best in the performances, and we were really proud to see the children and community members including the parents and also the elderly perform with such enthusiasm. Afterwards, there was a fun dancing session led by the dancers, who spontaneously made dancing moves to some dangdut tunes. Everyone was having a great time dancing together, and our guests seemed to engage well with the locals during the event. On the following day, we painted some murals on the riverbanks in a collaboration with our friends from ISI Yogyakarta. Then we had a short walk along the riverbanks, before going back to the Community Centre for our closing ceremony.

All in all, It was a great experience seeing youth from Netherlands mingle with our community in Code. Seeing the positive result and feedback, we hope that our partnership with Haarlemmermeer Lyceum will last in the upcoming years. Also, Project Child is open for any kind of collaboration with more individuals and institutions to help bring positive impact to the community. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information!