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

Kesukarelawanan Anak Muda untuk Meraih Tujuan-Tujuan Pembangunan Berkelanjutan (SDGs)

Kita tidak bisa selalu membangun masa depan untuk para pemuda kita, tapi kita bisa membangun para pemuda kita untuk masa depan

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Menurut Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB), ada 1.8 miliar orang yang berumur 10-24 tahun di dunia, yang bisa dikatakan sebagai generasi terbesar anak muda dalam sejarah. Oleh karena itu, peran anak-anak muda dalam mengadvokasi dan mengeksekusi perubahan sangat krusial, terutama dengan melihat peran mereka sebagai agen perubahan untuk masa depan. Dalam menanggapi fenomena ini, PBB telah menekankan dan mendorong partisipasi aktif para pemuda untuk berkontribusi dalam mempercepat meraih Tujuan-Tujuan Pembangunan Berkelanjutan (SDGs). Di banyak negara, terutama negara-negara yang sedang berkembang dan kurang berkembang, banyak pemuda yang mengalami beberapa masalah besar terkait dengan SDGs, seperti kurangnya akses pada pendidikan, layanan kesehatan, dan pekerjaan, yang pada akhirnya akan membuat lebih banyak masalah sosio-ekonomi struktural di masa yang akan datang. Tentu saja, salah satu cara yang relatif terbaik dan termudah untuk mendorong keterlibatan mereka dalam menyelesaikan masalah-masalah tersebut, adalah melalui aktivitas-aktivitas kesukarelawanan.

Kesukarelawanan, yang biasanya dieksekusi melalui lembaga-lembaga non-profit, telah secara signifikan memberi berbagai dampak positif terhadap pemangku-pemangku kepentingan yang terlibat, seperti organisasi-organisasi non-profit itu sendiri, serta para pemuda dan komunitas-komunitas yang terlibat. Lembaga-lembaga non-profit dapat diuntungkan melalui meluasnya misi-misinya, meningkatnya dukungan publik, dan munculnya para pendukung dan relawan baru. Sementara itu, para anak muda dapat diuntungkan dalam hal peningkatan pengembangan diri mereka, yang mencakup rasa tanggung jawab, empati, kepercayaan diri, kemampuan-kemampuan sosial yang baru, meningkatnya kesehatan fisik dan mental, dan perkembangan-perkembangan psikologis dan intelektual yang lainnya. PBB sendiri sudah mengakui grup-grup relawan sebagai salah satu pemangku kepentingan untuk mencapai “Agenda 2030 untuk Pembangunan Berkelanjutan”, yang juga sangat bisa membantu perkembangan perencanaan nasional dan implementasinya.

Dapat dilihat bahwa kesukarelawanan adalah salah satu alat pemacu berjalannya pembangunan berkelanjutan, dan sangat direkomendasikan bagi semua komunitas untuk ikut terlibat. Meskipun demikian, terlepas dari manfaat-manfaat dari kesukarelawanan anak muda yang sudah disebutkan sebelumnya, banyak anak muda yang sayangnya masih belum memiliki dorongan yang cukup untuk melakukan aktivitas-aktivitas kerelawanan, yang dapat disebabkan oleh kurangnya informasi, waktu, ketertarikan, dan sebagainya. Terlepas dari masalah-masalah tersebut yang harus diperhitungkan, kesukarelawanan tentunya akan memberi banyak keuntungan untuk para pemuda dan komunitas-komunitas grassroot yang terlibat, terutama dalam usaha meraih SDGs. Terlepas dari pentingnya dan efektifnya kesukarelawanan, aktivitas ini tidak dimasukkan dalam agenda Tujuan-Tujuan Pembangunan Milenial (MDGs) waktu itu. Pentingnya dan efektifnya kesukarelawanan juga dapat dibuktikan dengan fakta bahwa negara-negara yang memiliki jumlah relawan yang banyak cenderung lebih giat dalam memelihara kondisi sosial dan ekonominya, menurut sebuah statistik dari The International Forum for Volunteering in Development. Banyak aspek dari kemiskinan yang juga dapat secara perlahan diselesaikan melalui aktivitas kesukarelawanan, seperti aspek pendidikan, kesehatan, pekerjaan, dan lingkungan tempat tinggal, yang mana merupakan objektif-objektif utama dari implementasi SDGs.

Jangan tunggu lagi, mari menjadi seorang relawan untuk meraih SDGs bersama-sama!

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!