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.

Penyediaan Akses Air Minum untuk Masa Depan Anak

Manusia memerlukan air bersih untuk hidup. Air yang tercemar tidak hanya kotor dan tidak layak dikonsumsi, namun juga dapat berbahaya bagi kesehatan dan dapat beresiko menimbulkan kematian. Untuk meningkatkan kualitas hidup masyarakat dan memenuhi hak dasar bagi seluruh penduduk Indonesia, penyediaan akses air minum yang terjamin perlu dipertimbangkan secara serius untuk menjadi salah satu prioritas pembangunan nasional. Terbatasnya akses terhadap air dapat merampas kesempatan anak dalam hal pendidikan dan ekonomi dan dapat menghambat mereka untuk keluar dari lingkaran kemiskinan. Karena jauhnya akses air dari rumah, seringkali anak-anak di daerah terpencil juga mendapat tugas untuk mengambil air bagi keluarga mereka. Tanggung jawab ini akan menyita waktu mereka yang seharusnya dapat dimanfaatkan untuk belajar dan bermain. Akses air yang aman dan mudah dijangkau akan memberi mereka tambahan waktu agar mereka dapat bermain layaknya anak-anak pada umumnya dan menggunakan waktu untuk belajar demi masa depan mereka.

Pembangunan infrastruktur merupakan salah satu prioritas pembangunan bagi pemerintahan Presiden Joko Widodo. Presiden menegaskan dalam berbagai kesempatan betapa pentingnya infrastruktur bagi kemajuan suatu bangsa, meliputi sebagai pondasi dasar dalam pertumbuhan ekonomi dan meningkatkan kemandirian suatu negara. Hal ini juga berlaku bagi pembangunan dan pengembangan infrastruktur air minum atau biasa disebut sebagai Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum (SPAM).

Tantangan lain selain kurangnya penyelenggara SPAM di pedesaan di antaranya adalah infrastruktur yang digunakan untuk mendistribusikan air di Indonesia kondisinya biasanya sudah usang, kurang terawat dan rentan terhadap kebocoran. Apabila sistem distribusi tersebut rusak, air akan dapat terkontaminasi dengan organisme penyakit yang ditularkan melalui air. Tingkat pertumbuhan penduduk yang pesat juga mengakibatkan adanya kesenjangan antara jumlah penduduk dan cakupan pelayanan yang belum memadai. Kurangnya tenaga ahli lokal juga sering menjadi penghalang untuk menciptakan sistem distribusi pengolahan air yang lebih modern, yang membutuhkan tenaga terlatih untuk operasi dan pemeliharaannya.

Berdasarkan penilaian kinerja yang dilakukan Badan Peningkatan Penyelenggaraan Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum (BPPSPAM) terhadap 371 PDAM pada 2016, diketahui bahwa jumlah PDAM yang berada dalam kondisi sehat 198 (53%), kurang sehat 108 (29%), dan sakit 65 (18%). Kondisi ini berbeda dari tahun 2015, dimana dari 368 PDAM yang dinilai, PDAM dalam kondisi sehat 196 (53%), kurang sehat 100 (27%), dan sakit 72 (20%). Sedangkan pada 2014, dari 359 PDAM yang dinilai, PDAM dalam kondisi sehat 182 (51%), kurang sehat 103 (29%), dan sakit 74 (21%) (BAPPENAS 2017). Dari sini dapat disimpulkan bahwa dari tahun 2014 sampai dengan tahun 2016, jumlah PDAM yang sehat bertambah hanya sedikit, jumlah PDAM yang kurang sehat bertambah dan jumlah PDAM yang sakit sedikit berkurang. Terlihat tantangan lain SPAM di Indonesia yaitu masih diperlukan banyak perbaikan untuk pemeliharaan SPAM dari pemerintah.

Sesuai UU Nomor 23 Tahun 2014 tentang Pemerintah Daerah, penyediaan air minum adalah salah satu pelayanan dasar yang merupakan urusan wajib pemerintah daerah. Seiring dengan program pembangunan pemerintah, aspek pendanaan untuk pembangunan SPAM juga harus menjadi komitmen dan perhatian pemerintah daerah. Namun dengan keterbatasan pendanaan pemerintah daerah dan prioritas pembangunan lainnya, pemerintah pusat juga turut mendukung pembangunan SPAM di daerah melalui pendanaan APBN, sehingga pembangunan infrastruktur SPAM mendapatkan pendanaan bersama dari pemerintah daerah dan pemerintah pusat.

Selain melalui APBN dan APBD, pemerintah juga membuka kesempatan kepada badan usaha untuk mendukung pengembangan SPAM melalui mekanisme Kerjasama Pemerintah dan Badan Usaha (KPBU) yang tercantum dalam Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 122 Tahun 2015 tentang Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum. Kelebihan dari skema KPBU antara lain memberikan alternatif pembiayaan lain karena keterbatasan pendanaan pemerintah, efisiensi, teknologi baru yang dipergunakan oleh swasta dan mempercepat peningkatan cakupan dan kualitas pelayanan publik. Skema KPBU diharapkan dapat mengoptimalkan biaya investasi terutama di perkotaan yang pertumbuhan penduduknya meningkat dengan pesat. Kemampuan membayar di perkotaan yang cenderung lebih besar dapat menjadi alasan kuat bagi penanam modal untuk berinvestasi, namun bagaimana dengan masyarakat di wilayah terpencil yang tidak mampu? Kurang kondusifnya iklim usaha mengakibatkan sektor swasta enggan untuk mengembangkan SPAM di pedesaan. Akibatnya jaringan perpipaan dan penyediaan air minum untuk masyarakat miskin pedesaan kurang mendapat perhatian baik dari pemerintah maupun dari pihak swasta.   

Upaya untuk mengembangkan SPAM di Indonesia salah satunya dapat dimulai dari sekolah dengan menyediakan instalasi air minum untuk membangun kebiasaan dan meningkatkan kesadaran anak-anak, guru, orang tua, dan orang-orang di sekitar lingkungan sekolah. Sistem water filter menjamin kebersihan air sehingga meminimalisir potensi penyakit akibat air yang tercemar. Selain itu, anak-anak akan dapat menyisihkan sebagian uang sakunya untuk membeli keperluan lain selain air minum. Sistem ini juga mudah untuk dipelajari sehingga siapapun dapat mengoperasikan dan melakukan pemeliharaannya.  Penerapan Drinking Water Program di sekolah dapat menawarkan opsi penyediaan air minum untuk membantu pemerintah baik di perkotaan maupun daerah terpencil, khususnya untuk anak-anak. Dengan sistem penyediaan air minum yang baik dan terjangkau, anak-anak akan mendapat kesempatan untuk mengembangkan potensi mereka karena mereka memiliki lebih banyak waktu untuk belajar dan bermain, sehingga harapan untuk memiliki masa depan yang lebih cerah pun lebih besar.