International Mother Language Day: A Celebration of the World’s Language Diversity

Written by Graciella Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Every one of us uses language to communicate with each other. Some of us might speak only one language, or some might be bilingual or even multilingual. No matter which group we belong to, we all have a mother language. According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language of the Language Center (KBBI), mother language is “the first language that is mastered by a person since birth through the reoccurring interaction with his/her language community.”

Every one of us uses language to communicate with each other. Some of us might speak only one language, or some might be bilingual or even multilingual. No matter which group we belong to, we all have a mother language. According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language of the Language Center (KBBI), mother language is “the first language that is mastered by a person since birth through the reoccurring interaction with his/her language community.”

Even so, every two weeks, a language disappeared. Why? The answer is simple enough: globalization. The rapid growth of the world has blurred the border between communities. Languages, cultures, and traditions became mixed. Some flourish while some have to wither and eventually die. Languages that often are used in politics and business, such as English, Spanish, and Mandarin, will continue to attract new learners and speakers. Graphic shows that more than 43% of the estimated 6000 languages in the world are on the brink of extinction due to a lack of speakers. The disappearance of a language means a loss of memory, culture, and tradition that might as well be an opportunity and intellectual heritage for people of the world.

The United Nations declared February 21st as International Mother Language Day in hope of preserving the worlds’ languages and promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.

A Bangladeshi-born Canadian, Rafiqul Islam, presented the idea in 1998. He wrote to the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, urging the United Nations to pay attention to the continuous extinction of mother languages all over the world and to take concrete actions to overcome the issue. The date was suggested and then chosen to commemorate four young students who were shot by the police in 1952 during the Bengali Language Movement that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Indonesia is known for its richness in culture and language. There are over 652 vernacular languages spoken all around Indonesia. Most children in Indonesia grow up speaking more than one language. Indonesian households typically have two or more languages spoken among the members. For example, children that grow up in Java and have Javanese parents are likely to have Javanese as their mother language and acquiring Indonesian later on at formal education. Albeit that, Ethnologue, a web-based statistical database of world languages, mentions that 138 Indonesian vernacular languages have been labeled as threatened, nearly extinct, and extinct. Most of the Indonesian vernacular languages don’t have the same privilege as Javanese, Sundanese, or Balinese. Lack of speakers and the decrease of interested learners are likely to be a possible reason.

International Mother Language Day serves to celebrate and honor differences between the world languages and to promote cultural, linguistic diversity and multilingualism. A multicultural and multilingual community creates a more tolerant society. Preserving languages and linguistic diversity mean preserving culture and tradition, the very same things that shape who we are as a person. It is our utmost duty to carry out this initiative, if not for us, then for the future of the world.


Love: The Secret of Success

Written by Graciella Ganadhi, Content Writer
Project Child Indonesia

There are many definitions of success. Some people describe success with wealth, while some say that to be successful is if you can show kindness in every situation. In reality, success is subjective. Different people have different opinions on the definition of success. However, no matter what your definition of success is, shouldn’t the ultimate goal is to be happy?

Many factors contribute to someone’s success. Financial support is one, of course. Those who are born privileged with enough resources to support their needs, especially their education, should have higher chances of being successful. Fortunately, money isn’t everything. How many cases of rich children being neglected, deprived of affection and attention, and had turned out unhappy?

In parenting, love and affection should be the primary concern. Children need to grow up in a loving and supportive environment. Many Asians parents opt not to give a physical touch to their children out of old habits or traditions. However, a study has shown that a physical touch is an essential factor if you want your child to grow up successful. It improves confidence and self-image tremendously.

“12 hugs a day, keep the doctor away,” they say.

Other than mere physical touch, attention is essential for the success of a child. As parents, you have to differentiate between good and bad attention. Minimize the usage of negation such as: “Don’t play with your food!”, instead start saying: “Good job on finishing your food!” and start praising their good behavior. Not only will this help keep their behavior in check, but it will also help them develop a good self-image.

The celebration of Valentine’s Day should not only be wasted celebrating lovers. Valentine’s Day should be a day where we celebrate any type of love. All human beings need love, after all. Parents should show their love to their children more explicitly and vice versa. There is no harm in showing affection. So, spread love and kindness, everyone!


Tantrums in Children: A Wise Way to be Considered

Written by : Sih Pirenaningtyas, Teaching Learning Assessor
Sekolah Sungai Gajahwong

Have you ever seen children lying on the floor because their parents did not buy them toys? Or have you ever seen children whimpering and crying endlessly when their brother or sister doesn’t obey what the child wants? It is common for these children to be called tantrum. A tantrum is a powerful emotional outburst, accompanied by anger, aggressive attacks, crying, screaming, rolling, jerking both feet and hands on the floor or ground, and holding breath. Factors that cause tantrum is vary, such as the inability of children to express themselves, desire to seek attention, unpleasant conditions, and parenting aspect. Tantrum is a phase of children’s development which generally occurs at the age of 18 months to 4 years. The things that can be seen from tantrum behavior are that children want to show their independence, express their individuality, express their opinions, and express anger and frustration, so adults can understand if they are confused, tired, or sick

However, if parents allow children to tantrum it will have an impact on the child’s psychological condition. According to pediatrics, abnormal tantrum occur in children over 4 years old. Children who experienced abnormal tantrum often hurt themselves or others during tantrum with a duration of more than 15 minutes. In addition, the frequency of occurrence of tantrum is more than five times a day. So that children don’t experience abnormal tantrum, we must know how to wisely respond to tantrum in children.

Then, how to wisely respond tantrum?

There are some wise tips for children tantrum. First, give the child space to vent his emotions. Second, shows empathy for the child. Pinching, hitting, and doing other violence is not allowed in dealing with children who are in a tantrum. Empathy sentences can make a child calm and not become more. Third, keep children away from dangerous objects. Then, understand the child, be patient and calm.

Most people think that tantrums in children are the responsibility of parents. However, we who are close to children also need to know how to wisely respond to children who are in a tantrum. Because, a supportive environment will have a good impact on children’s development.

Sources :

  • Mandleco, B. L. and Potts, N.L. 2007. Pediatric Nursing: Carring for Children and Their Families. Clifton Park: Thomson Delmar Learning.
  • Potegal, M. and Davidson, R.J. 2003. Temper tantrums in young children: 1. Behavioral composition. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 24(3) : 140-147.
  • Nauli, F.A., 2014. Hubungan Pola Asuh Orang Tua dengan Frekuensi dan Intensitas Perilaku Temper Tantrum Pada Anak Toddler. Jurnal Online Mahasiswa Program Studi Ilmu Keperawatan Universitas Riau, 1(2) : 1-8.
  • Daniels, E., Mandleco, B. and Luthy, K.E., 2012. Assessment, management, and prevention of childhood temper tantrums. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 24(10) : 569-573.

How Important Character-Building Is: Case of Gajahwong Student

Written by Vanya Gerina Azzahra, Teaching Learning Assessor
Project Child Indonesia

One of the River School Programs is located on Gajahwong river bank. There was a unique phenomenon of Gajahwong children as a team in charge got to the place for the very first time. Some of the volunteers might have volunteering experience beforehand so that it perhaps became a common thing to face with. Gajahwong children have been known for their uniqueness. In comparison with Code and Winongo children, Gajahwong children tend to be more aggressive. They do not hesitate to ask volunteers to pick them up before class begins, they ask volunteers to wait on them while they take a shower and other kinds of actions of seeking attention. There was also a child with special needs in which volunteers need to give extra attention. 

With the majority of boys within the class, an act of bullying happened toward the special-needs child. Besides, when the team was in collaboration with Association Internationale des Etudiantsen Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in Universitas Gadjah Mada, they found these children were very difficult to condition. Once ever an exchange participant from Egypt asked a group of boys basic information of themselves, the boys replied roughly speaking. 

In order to address those issues, it is significant for a teaching-learning assessor along with the volunteers as a unit of the team, to understand how important character-building on children. So, what is the nature of character-building? According to Yudi Latif (2009) character building explains various aspects of teaching and learning for personal development, including moral reasoning, social and emotional learning, conflict resolution and moral-ethical philosophy. Volunteers as the teaching-facilitators should have a strategic role in realizing the character of children. The facilitators, as central figures, are of course required to be able to portray good characters so that they can be role models for children. The behavior that children pay attention to by the time is on how facilitators look, how facilitators talk, how facilitators behave, facilitators attitude to knowledge as well as their commitment to what they say. If the facilitators could play it well, it will affect the children. Thus, children will grow into individuals who have good characters.

There is a Javanese philosophy called Andhapasor (humility) where its significance is to be humble and never segregate between people according to race, culture, religion, ethnicity, and so on.

This type of character-building must be implemented toward children. The value should be upheld responding to what happened in class. Facilitators should not only prohibit children from doing bullying but also expected to have the capability to explain more to children why bullying is bad, why is it important to respectsomeone who is different from us.

As an attempt to manifest the implementation of character-building towards children, Gajahwong’s team comprised of the teaching-learning assessor and the volunteers have tried the utmost best during this time – recalling that acts of bully, discrimination, inappropriate words, oftentimes to happen. Gradually the children begin to realize which of their behaviors are bad for others, and which ones are good for others. Change occurs by degrees. That change is something that the team wishes to achieve from the very first place because they do not want to merely spend time to teach children onsite for granted, but also leave positive impact on children’s selfhood.

Source :

  • Raharjo, S. B. (2010). Pendidikan Karakter Sebagai Upaya Menciptakan Akhlak Mulia. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Vol 16, No 3, Sekretariat Balitbang Kemdiknas.
  • Ferdiawan, E., & Putra, W. E. (2013). Esq Education for Children Character Building based on Phylosophy of Javaness in Indonesia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 106,1096-1102.
  • Kidshelpline. (n.d). All about respect. Retrieved on October 19, 2019 from

Raising Awareness on Climate Change Issues Through Education

Written by Sekar Ningtyas Kinasih, Content Writer
Project Child Indonesia

Many scientists have stated if our future generations will face severe issues about climate change, where human beings play the role in rising temperatures around the world. The worse thing is that climate change turns out to be a threat to a child’s opportunity to live, survive and thrive. We often witness that extreme weather such as heat waves rise in frequency and severity, then it threatens children’s lives in several chronic diseases such as renal disease, respiratory disease, fever, and electrolyte imbalance. Floods effects poor water and sanitation facilities, then cause cholera while the children are vulnerable to it. Crop failure caused by the changing of rainfall season and aridity, leading to the rise of food prices that make a lower class economy society would be hard to obtain adequate nutrition that can have lifelong impacts on their health.

Over these cases, we know if climate change has become an urgent issue requiring a global movement, one of which is through education. According to UNESCO, education is a critical tool to help the populations in understanding the impacts of climate change and encourage them to transform behavior to practice more sustainable lifestyles, participate in decision making and take action as soon as possible. They also promote Climate Change Education (ECC) to support the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). UNESCO provides guidelines on how to introduce “climate literacy” that becomes government responsibility to involve climate change education towards all levels and components of the education system. It requires strong coordination, support and many resources such as establish curriculum and build teaching methods in schools.

Based on the World Values Survey in 2005-2008 of 47 countries, the people who possess a higher level of education tend to express more concern for the environment. Besides, when in the 2010-2012 World Values Survey asked the participants to choose between protecting the environment versus boosting the economy, the results showed that secondary education preferred the environment more than those with less than secondary education. In separate semi-arid areas of China, farmers who have an adequate educational background are likely to use rainwater harvesting and supplementary irrigation technology to relieve water scarcity. Likewise in the Netherlands and Spain, the more educated people the more they consider to use less energy at home, save much water and control their consumption with environmental harm limitation.

Since it becomes very clear that human actions seriously affect environmental disrepute and climate issues, education should be a limelight to get sharpened and tap their potential. And yet, we do know that it’s really hard to change our attitudes on the preservation of the environment overnight, as well as to complete education courses through formal to informal that going to takes time. But still, the various threats that are not trivial by these issues have assumed an unprecedented pressing to which we are all responsible to do something.



A Volunteer Perspective: Understanding ‘Everyone Can Do Good’ Motto

A Letter by : Nadia Dewinda Kristanto

Hi! My name is Nadia, I started doing volunteering for about 4 months now. Currently, I am juggling in between two unpaid roles, which both I rejoice investing time, thoughts, and energy in greatly. I am interning as a Community Engagement Coordinator at Project Child Indonesia, and also volunteering as a learning facilitator at an informal alternative school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Frankly, I am lucky enough to be part of these incredible spaces to grow as I have given wonderful opportunities to develop and serve.

Back in university, I undertook a community service. Although it was mandatory, I genuinely relished the moment and had such an amazing serenity. At which point, I have found community service therapeutic and brings me contentment. I also came across a realization that I like and want to be directly involved. Albeit how blissful it sounds, I ought to keep on reminding myself of my purpose. Questions were popping still, such as “Am I useful enough?”, “Am I doing it within the right place and or with community whichever urgent enough to be assisted?”, “Do all of these matters?”. By chance, I found a fair answer to alleviate that reluctance of mine. 

As luck would have it, I learn so much by being in a process with Project Child Indonesia. I caught up in their motto and how the organization members live up to it. Which fortuitously led me to have faith in contributing to humanitarian aid. ‘Everyone can do good’ is very beautiful yet strongly empowering words of wisdom. According to my interpretation, it taught me to be brave as each of us has the capacity to do good. The “do good” here translates to the context of helping. Along the way on having mutual exchange with Project Child Indonesia, I also began to value help significance as an intangible substance. The utmost humble formation of help is expression to care, thus, there is no measurement when it comes to helping others. Help always matters enough, even the smallest ones, and it should be done genuinely. In Project Child Indonesia, I discover that there are always dreams and hopes if you want to help, and those dreams and hopes are within you.

I wish this piece of writing may give you a little hint on how ‘Everyone can do good’ is the spirit of Project Child Indonesia and how you can inspirit it likewise in helping others.

How Digital Literacy Can Be Teached on Children

Written by : Mochamad Novritsa Zulfikar

The advancement of technology nowadays surely really influence educational sector. Various things in life that relate with education, like interaction model, literacy model, ability of understanding, and psychological aspect are the things that change since the development of technology. Thus, the change of view or educational method should be done either. Kai-Fu-Lee, on his Tedx seminar about “How AI Can Save Our Humanity”, said that Artificial Intelligence only disrupts on jobs that don’t need creativity and compassion. Both things will make us as the real “human”. Therefore, it is considerable if educational way should be also focused on both. That does not mean we only clear all the courses that already available, but also change the method of lessons and system that can increase their literacy ability.

The main point is, on taking the advantage of the technology advancement, we need a revolution in education that is not to meet the needs of the industry side, but to provide valuable experience to students, educators, or even parents, which is useful in dealing with after-school or real life. The availability of the internet can be both making a good thing or a bad thing for students. We Are Social and Hootsuites, on their report (Digital 2019 Global Overview) on how the internet users around the world (one of them is Indonesia) are growing, reported that the average of people in Indonesia spend their time on internet is 8 hours and 36 minutes a day. Moreover, for only social media activities, they spend for 3 hours 26 minutes a day, with 48% of them is around 13 – 24 years old. Since they already use internet for most of their life activities, we, as an older people than them, should make some actions to control. However, providing regulations or restrictions on children in using the internet is not a wise and effective solution. More fundamentally, giving them an understanding of how to use a good internet is the key. Or, it can be said, invites them to become independent learners based on the internet, in order to improve their literacy skills in seeing every things. That is often referred to as digital literacy.

Utilizing children’s curiosity can turn them into independent learners. Children are natural learners. But, how we can trigger children’s curiosity?

Increasing digital literacy is indeed not an easy thing, especially for children who still often use the internet only as a means of entertainment, not as a means of satisfying their curiosity. In fact, according to Sir Ken Robinson, also on his Tedx seminar about “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”, He said that the teacher, in the context of education, is a determinant of success in the learning process. Teaching, is a creative profession, not only as a process of passing on information. So, in addition to only digitizing each learning method, students also need to be given an understanding of how to use the internet wisely and optimally. Maybe they, who still think of the internet as merely entertainment, just don’t understand if there is more that they can explore. Therefore, it should be our duty as an educated people to tell and teach them how.

References :

  • How AI can Save Our Humanity | Kai-Fu-Lee
  • We Are Social and Hootsuites “Digital 2019 Global Overview Reports”
  • How to Escape Education’s Death Valley | Sir Ken Robinson

Project Child Indonesia Collaborate with Alumni Grant Scheme #1

This article is the first in a tri-series that provides a holistic demonstration of how Project Child Indonesia implemented and conducted a Drinking Water Program in the remote region of Fakfak in Indonesia’s Papua.

Project Child Indonesia (PCI) is an independent, community-based organisation working out of Yogyakarta City in East Java. As an organisation PCI seeks to alleviate poverty in the coastal and riverside communities of Indonesia through the prism of education, and is underpinned by a central vision: for 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.

A driving force in the pursuit of this vision is PCI’s Drinking Water Program (DWP). The DWP involves installation of water filter infrastructure in schools and the provision of reusable drinking bottles to students, coupled with educational programs to substantiate the filter infrastructure. These educational programs are underpinned by themes of environment and health, and their interconnections, to promote awareness and concern of these issues.

Through functioning, the DWP seeks to intervene and counter the poverty cycle through three lenses: ecological, health, and economic. The filter infrastructure provides children access to clean drinking water, and enables them to use reusable water bottles, leading to a reduction in plastic waste, and hence a direct ecological impact. Improved student health is achieved through the increased access to clean drinking water, coupled with the educational programs that facilitate student understanding of the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding sugary drinks. Finally, through the provision of free drinking water at schools, money spent by parents purchasing water bottles will be severely reduced, opening up limited income to other necessities.

Since 2016 PCI’s DWP has reached approximately 7091 people through it’s implementation in 37 partner schools. However PCI didn’t want to stop there, and wondered whether it’s model of the DWP was bound to Java by geographical context. An idea began to develop and evolve: was the DWP model transferrable to remote areas (where access to clean drinking water is less, and more expensive), and could it function with minimal supervision? Having witnessed the direct benefit derived through the DWP, PCI believed it could.

Enter Fakfak, a town of approximately 13,000 people in the Fakfak Regency of Indonesia’s Papua. Residing in one of Indonesia’s most remote areas, Fakfak is accessible only by boat or plane, with infrequent service and high costs associated to that service. The remoteness and access difficulty has one significant detrimental effect for those living in Fakfak, things are expensive… really expensive, and wages don’t compensate. To put things into perspective a little, while a simple meal of nasi ayam (chicken and rice) in Yogyakarta may cost around 10-12,000 Rupiah, that cost skyrockets to around 40-45,000 Rupiah in Fakfak! That’s a near 400% increase in the cost of a human necessity, food. This is also seen in regard to another basic human necessity, water. Where again in Yogyakarta a student may pay around 500 Rupiah for one water bottle, that same student would have to pay between 1-2000 Rupiah for the same bottle in Fakfak. These bottles are always single-use plastic bottles and represent the cheapest option for people in Fakfak! An even cheaper and more exciting option for students in Fakfak is high sugar content drinks. In Fakfak it is common that the cost of a can of coke will be cheaper than that of a glass of ice tea! When presented with these two options, who wouldn’t choose the can of coke?  Access to clean drinking water in Fakfak is limited, and associated costs high, the environment, people’s health, and economic capacity suffer as a result of this.

Another motivating factor behind PCI’s desire to work collaboratively in Fakfak is the government’s lack of capacity in regard to education and the deliverance of adequate resources for education in Fakfak. It is no indictment on the schools, but the struggle to provide students with an appropriate education that covers themes such as personal health and wellbeing, and the environment, reflect the lack of resources provided to those schools by the government. Environmental awareness is very limited in Fakfak, as it has been something missing from educational curriculums, and without awareness, concern cannot result. It is only through awareness and subsequent concern that personal change in regard to our behaviours toward, and perceptions of, the environment will result. It’s not that people do not care (and the desire from community members in Fakfak to work collaboratively with PCI to implement the program is a testament to the fact that they DO care) it’s that those that maybe seem not to, haven’t been provided with the adequate opportunity to develop that care. However within the lack of resources that characterises much of the education system in Fakfak exists an intense motivation on behalf of local teachers, and the governments understanding of its limited capacity and a subsequent openness to collaboration with organisations.

With the limited access to clean drinking water, the inflated costs associated with that access (those inflated costs characterising all basic needs), a lack of government resources directed towards environmental and health education (and the subsequent environmental and health issues), but an understanding by the government of their lack of capacity and a subsequent a desire an openness from them to work collaboratively to counter these issues, PCI was presented with an opportunity.

With the support from the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme administered by the Australia Awards in Indonesia, PCI have the opportunity to bring the program to this remote area, and to engage a community that would benefit from the program. PCI eagerly took up the challenge and set about the initial developments and adaptations of its drinking water program to the local context of Fakfak.

Atin Prabandari, the Advisor at Project Child Indonesia receive fund from the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme and administered by the Australia Awards in Indonesia. The views expressed within this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Embassy Indonesia, Australia Awards in Indonesia and Australia Global Alumni.

Project Child Indonesia Collaborate with Alumni Grant Scheme #3

This article is the third in a tri-series that provides a holistic demonstration of how Project Child Indonesia implemented and conducted a Drinking Water Program in the remote region of Fakfak in Indonesia’s Papua.

As Abie and Filla embarked on their long journey back to Yogyakarta from Fakfak  in Papua, they felt that their, and Project Child Indonesia’s (PCI), collaborative journey with the Fakfak community in West Papua was far from over. On the contrary, as they boarded the plane they understood this to be just the beginning in what they, PCI, and the community of Fakfak hoped to be a long and symbiotic relationship.

The testament to this relationship was immediate, and eagerly welcomed by Abie and Filla, who after only just arriving back in Yogyakarta, were in communication with volunteers, community members, and families from Fakfak. The content of this communication was varied with much of it having little to do with the Drinking Water Program, but more to do with the personal relationships forged between Abie and Filla, and the community of Fakfak. It was a heart-warming time for Abie and Filla as they began to understand the substance of the relationships forged, and saw that the impact of the Drinking Water Program transcended just the physical aims of providing clean water access and educational programs. This acknowledgement and understanding further instilled within Abie and Filla the desire to return to Fakfak when they next got the opportunity to do so.

Beyond the personal communication that Abie and Filla received from the community as the days went by messages, photos and videos began streaming in that demonstrated the impact that the Drinking Water Program had already had within the schools themselves. Photos of the water filters surrounded by smiling students, videos of the use of the filters – the excitement tangible through the screen! Messages coupled with these images from community members, school principals, teachers, and students’ families describing the excitement that followed the installation of the water filters and the subsequent student access to clean drinking water. Abie and Filla had difficulty describing what the content of these messages meant to them, happiness and pride didn’t seem to do it justice. What they did acknowledge however was that the hours upon hours of hard work taken up by them, and a myriad other hard-working dedicated individuals in the lead up to, and throughout the program itself, had been worth it. To see a tangible outcome in the form of student uptake was inspiring to them, and demonstrated not only the benefit, but also the necessity of this program.

With the wake of the program only in the nearby past, program outcome and uptake are only in their very preliminary stages. That being said however, the feedback received by Project Child Indonesia from its friends and collaborators in Fakfak has provided a platform of hope and excitement upon which both Project Child, and Fakfak firmly believe that the project, its teachings, and the associated outcomes can take flight. Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. Project Child Indonesia wishes to see that right materialised for as many young people as they can. Fakfak represents the confirmed capacity of Project Child Indonesia to bring this access, and the associated education, to divergent contexts across the Indonesian archipelago, and is another step in the marathon that Project Child has embarked on; to materialise the basic human right of access to clean drinking water, and to provide the youth of Indonesia with the platform upon which they can become the agents of change that will see the sustainability of our planet pursued.

Atin Prabandari, the Advisor at Project Child Indonesia receive fund from the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme and administered by the Australia Awards in Indonesia. The views expressed within this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Embassy Indonesia, Australia Awards in Indonesia and Australia Global Alumni.

Project Child Indonesia Collaborate with Alumni Grant Scheme #2

This article is the second in a tri-series that provides a holistic demonstration of how Project Child Indonesia implemented and conducted a Drinking Water Program in the remote region of Fakfak in Indonesia’s Papua.

As you will recall from the previous article in this tri-series, in communication between Project Child Indonesia (PCI) and community members in Indonesia’s remote Fakfak regency, it was determined that a collaboration between the two to implement and conduct a PCI Drinking Water Program in Fakfak was both necessary, and possible, and PCI eagerly took up the challenge. Taking up the challenge was one thing, converting that challenge into practical implementation was another thing entirely.  The following article outlines the steps and processes of program implementation and eventual conductment as told by the two PCI staff that headed this project, Abie and Filla, project manager and education facilitator respectively.

An endeavour such as this isn’t cheap, remembering the inflated costs associated with life in a remote region such as Fakfak, but thankfully, after writing a proposal to the Australian government PCI received a $10,000 AUD grant from the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme administered by the Australia Awards in Indonesia. There was no turning back now, and in October 2018, the team at PCI began to eagerly engage in workshops on curriculum development for the project in Fakfak. The project was to take place over two weeks in March 2019, giving PCI staff only a few months to adapt the DWP curriculum to fi the time constraints, and the context. Working closely with contacts in Fakfak who would advise on the appropriateness of program components for the students in Fakfak, a curriculum and educative resources were developed that could be utilised and passed on to those in Fakfak in an attempt to promote program longevity after it’s formal conclusion.

The next step beyond initial curriculum development and adaption was to determine which schools would be engaged in the program. After communication with local community members PCI received eight recommendations that community felt would benefit most from the collaborative project. Within the budget it was agreed that these eight recommendations would be the schools that the program would be conducted in. With an adapted curriculum, target schools established in Fakfak, and an intense sense of hope and excitement on behalf of Abie and Filla, PCI embarked on its first external Java program.

On the 16th of March, after a thirteen-hour transit, Abie and Filla arrived in Fakfak for the first time. With little time for rest they got to work straight away. On the first day Abie and Filla met with the Kitong Bisa Learning Centre, a powerful organisation that provides weekly English classes for children in the remote regency of Fakfak. Discussions ensued about the possibility of collaboration and partnership to assist in the conductment and eventual maintenance of the program after the two weeks. Abie and Filla recall the warm reception they received from Kitong Bisa and the excitement and support provided by them that day, and throughout all others along the program journey, each day working closely with them. With an established partner in Kitong Bisa Abie and Filla spent the following day meeting with government to discuss the program, its objectives and implementation plans, and began school visits to inform them that the programs would be starting over the next week.

For the program to be implemented appropriately and sustainably, community engagement was of the upmost importance to PCI. The volunteer training component of the program was fundamental to program success. On the Wednesday night of the first week eighteen volunteers from Kitong Bisa, and another partner, Fakfak Mengajar, composed of all local community members, received program training. Volunteers were introduced to the program, and the water filter infrastructure itself – receiving the necessary skills to maintain and look after the filter infrastructure, and were introduced to the syllabus that they would ultimately be implementing in the schools. Taking place at the house of one of the volunteers, the training resulted in the development of positive relationships and the necessary training to equip the volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to assist, and then take over and facilitate the program in Fakfak.

The following evening Abie and Filla were invited to a regional planning meeting with other NGOs in Fakfak and all government departments concered. Here they delievered a seven minute presentations on the DWP and subsequently received public endorsements from both government and fellow organisations. The groundwork had been laid, the volunteers equipped, the endorsements received; the program was ready to be brought to the classrooms.

The first class took place on the Friday of the first week with a high level of student and community engagement and an environment of openness and uptake of the program’s content. Students eagerly engaged with the filter infrastructure and the programs educative content and were excited by the new accessibility to clean drinking water! This set the standard for the program classes that took place over the next week and an intense feeling of gratitude overcame Abie and Filla, they were beginning to see the outcome of the hard work of so many people.

Beyond the classroom, Abie and Filla continued working tirelessly to ensure the schools, community members, and government officials were all equipped with the adequate knowledge and skills to maintain the drinking water infrastructure, and could work collaboratively to ensure its future. On the Tuesday of the second week an event was held with the department of health and education, and the partner schools to give training about the filter infrastructure and introduce the schools themselves to elements of the curriculum that could be maintained after PCI had left Fakfak, namely in regard to environmental awareness and personal health and wellbeing. Abie and Filla provided schools with the resources to maintain the deliverance of these curriculum elements.

Abie received a lot of support from community members in the installation process of the water filters, educating around their maintenance and empowering members to understand the necessity and benefit of the filter infrastructure.

While the in-school classes engaged the student side of things, Abie and Filla engaged extensively with local community members to share the program with them. While Filla engaged in some classes with Kitong Bisa – much to the excitement of students and community, Abie received a lot of support from community members in the installation process of the water filters, educating around their maintenance and empowering members to understand the necessity and benefit of the filter infrastructure. Abie and Filla did not take for granted the warm welcome and willingness engage with the program that they had received in Fakfak.

After two weeks Abie and Filla, in collaboration with Fakfak community members, had installed eight water filters in eight schools, trained eighteen (check this number) volunteers and equipped them with the skills to maintain filter infrastructure and program delivery, been endorsed by local government and concerned parties, and conducted program classes in seven of the eight schools (one school had exams on the day of the proposed educative program and could not participate, but the filter was installed and the volunteers conducted the class after Abie and Filla had left). It was with a heavy heart that Abie and Filla left after what was a powerful two weeks of shared learning and community engagement, and the relationships developed, education promoted, and ultimately the program conducted, filled them with hope and excitement for the future of the Fakfak program.

Atin Prabandari, the Advisor at Project Child Indonesia receive fund from the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme and administered by the Australia Awards in Indonesia. The views expressed within this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Embassy Indonesia, Australia Awards in Indonesia and Australia Global Alumni.