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Mengembalikan Perspektif Sungai Bersih dan Sehat Anak-Anak

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Sejak tahun 2011 lalu, pemerintah Indonesia menetapkan tanggal 27 Juli sebagai Hari Sungai Nasional dan secara resmi mencantumkannya dalam Pasal 74 Peraturan Pemerintah No. 38 Tahun 2011. Harapannya, dengan adanya Hari Sungai Nasional ini, masyarakat akan lebih peduli terhadap kebersihan lingkungan sungai-sungai yang ada di Indonesia serta mengembalikan fungsi sungai yang sebelumnya tercemar dan tidak dapat dimanfaatkan secara optimal. Berbicara tentang sungai, apa sih, yang ada di benak kalian jika kalian membaca atau mendengar kata ‘sungai’? Kira-kira sama tidak ya, perspektif setiap orang terhadap sungai? Atau coba kalian bandingkan diri kalian pada saat ini dengan pada saat kalian kecil, apakah ada perubahan pandangan mengenai sungai? Coba kalian menggambar sungai, ada komponen apa saja yang tercantum dalam gambar kalian itu?

Ternyata ada lho, penelitian yang melihat bagaimana anak-anak mengkonstruksikan konsep dari sebuah sungai. Penelitian ini dilakukan oleh Margaret Mackintosh dan diterbitkan pada tahun 2010. Mackintosh (2010) dalam artikelnya mencoba mencari tahu seberapa dalam pemahaman anak-anak umur 9-10 tahun di Inggris mengenai sungai melalui analisis terhadap beberapa kegiatan, di antaranya ialah hasil wawancara dan menggambar. Beberapa jawaban menarik yang tercantum dalam artikel Mackintosh tersebut di antaranya menyatakan bahwa sungai merupakan “something that flows and has fish and water” (sesuatu yang mengalir dan memiliki ikan dan air), tidak sedikit pula yang menjawab dengan “wet water running down” (air basah yang mengalir) atau “a long blue thing that’s wet” (sesuatu yang berwarna biru dan panjang yang mengalir). Jawaban-jawaban tersebut cukup menarik, bukan? 

Apabila dianalisis, jawaban-jawaban tersebut cukup menggambarkan bagaimana anak-anak mempersepsikan konsep sungai. Jawaban-jawaban tersebut didominasi oleh aspek air yang mengalir, dibarengi dengan rerumputan di sekitarnya, kemudian ada pula kegiatan-kegiatan yang dapat dilakukan di sungai, seperti berpiknik atau memancing. Pada kenyataannya, kegiatan-kegiatan tersebut tidak mudah dilakukan di sungai-sungai di Indonesia karena air sungai yang tercemar menyulitkan kegiatan memancing, dan banyaknya polusi tanah menyebabkan minimnya rerumputan di sekitar sungai untuk berpiknik. Volume air yang seharusnya cukup untuk mengairi tanah di sekitarnya juga mulai berkurang, padahal, volume air tidak pernah berubah, lho! Baik pada saat ini, seribu tahun yang lalu, atau seribu tahun ke depan. Hanya saja, jumlah air bersih memang berkurang, dan sungai-sungai mulai banyak yang mengering karena wujud dan lokasi air yang berubah. Sedih sekali, kan!

Bagi mereka yang tinggal di bantaran sungai, dampak dari minimnya air sungai yang bersih tentu berpengaruh dalam menurunnya kualitas hidup. Berkaca dari hasil penelitian di atas, sudah seharusnya kita sadar tentang pentingnya menjaga kebersihan lingkungan, mulai dari membuang sampah pada tempatnya hingga menghemat penggunaan air bersih. Melihat kondisi masyarakat sekitar sungai yang rentan, Project Child Indonesia memiliki program yang ditujukan untuk mendukung perkembangan masyarakat di tiga lokasi bantaran sungai berbeda di Yogyakarta: Kricak, Gajahwong, dan Code. Ialah “Sekolah Sungai”, program ini berfokus untuk mengkampanyekan isu-isu kesehatan, lingkungan yang bersih, dan pemberdayaan masyarakat setempat. Apabila kalian ingin tahu lebih lanjut mengenai program Sekolah Sungai dari Project Child Indonesia, kakak-kakak dapat mengakses tautan berikut!

Selama masa pandemi ini, kegiatan Sekolah Sungai disesuaikan dengan kebutuhan masyarakat sekitar. Salah satunya adalah kebutuhan belajar adik-adik di tiga lokasi bantaran sungai di atas. Kebijakan pemerintah yang sebelumnya mengharuskan kegiatan belajar-mengajar menjadi daring bukan merupakan perkara mudah bagi masyarakat sekitar. Sulitnya akses terhadap internet dan tingkat pemahaman yang berbeda bagi tiap-tiap anak tentu juga menjadi ‘PR’ tersendiri bagi orang tua. Melihat peliknya permasalahan ini, Project Child Indonesia hadir dengan program “Online Learning Assistance” (OLA) guna membantu adik-adik beradaptasi dalam kegiatan belajar-mengajar secara daring maupun peralihan ke masa luring pada saat ini. 

Dikembangkan sejak tahun 2020, program OLA ini telah menjangkau lebih dari 40 sekolah di Yogyakarta dan Pacitan dalam memfasilitasi kebutuhan pembelajaran daring bagi kelompok yang paling rentan. Didanai oleh Alumni Grant Scheme (AGS) dan dibantu oleh para relawan, OLA memberikan fasilitas pembelajaran peer-to-peer bagi anak-anak usia 10-12 tahun dalam memahami materi belajar di sekolah, terutama dalam bidang matematika, sains, dan Bahasa Inggris. Project Child Indonesia juga mendukung kebutuhan emosional adik-adik dan para relawan melalui kegiatan “Mindfulness”. Kegiatan ini bertujuan untuk merangsang kecerdasan emosional anak-anak melalui partisipasi aktif dalam kegiatan yang bersifat interaktif antara relawan dengan anak-anak di tiga lokasi di atas. 

Melihat keberhasilan dari dua program tersebut, selanjutnya Project Child Indonesia memiliki cita-cita untuk terus mendukung program pemerintah dalam menciptakan akses pembelajaran daring yang setara bagi seluruh anak di Indonesia. Project Child Indonesia dalam hal ini memprioritaskan mereka yang memiliki akses terhadap sumber daya yang terbatas agar pulih dari situasi pandemi pada saat ini. Tentu saja, program kami tidak akan berhasil tanpa bantuan dari para donor dan relawan yang telah menyisihkan sebagian sumber dayanya untuk bersama bergerak dalam kebaikan! Kakak-kakak dapat mengakses informasi lebih lengkap mengenai program kami dan berdonasi melalui tautan berikut

Referensi

Mackintosh, M. (2010). Children’s Understanding of Rivers, International Research in

Geographical and Environmental Education, 14:4, 316-322, DOI: 10.1080/10382040508668365

Looking Forward: Youth Skills in the Workforce

Written by Maria Olivia Laurent, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

We’re halfway through the year! Some of us may be graduating soon, ready to kick off our career, maybe starting a new project, and so many other things to look forward to. As we finish this first half of the 2022 book, we’re celebrating what we’ve achieved so far and the new beginnings waiting ahead. But that’s not the only thing we’re celebrating today. July 15 is the World Youth Skills Day, acknowledging the importance of equipping young people with the necessary skills for the workforce. Commemorated every year since 2014 by the UN, World Youth Skills Day events have facilitated programs and discussions between the youth and various institutions about the implementation of TVET (technical and vocational education and training). TVET focuses on acquiring technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, eliminating gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable. So how can we implement it in our youth development? 

Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 SDG agenda to ensure inclusive quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It calls on government, organizations, and private corporations to incorporate the TVET into their programs. We all know how badly Covid-19 affects our economy, but do you know which age group suffers the most? Young people. And ironically, young people are supposed to be the future of our labor markets, so what now? In 2020, global youth employment fell by 8.7% compared with 3.7% for adults (International Labor Organization, 2021). In Indonesia, the youth unemployment rate was at 16.5% and continues to increase due to the pandemic. Young people are literally being pushed and rushed to work in these turbulent waters. They tend to work lower-quality jobs, suffer labor market inequalities, and have a difficult school-to-work transition. Not to mention gender inequality too, with how women are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid. 

As such, vocational skills development is a crucial key factor to assist youth with learning necessary skills through open, free, and globally accessible training platforms. It’s not just about addressing the economic demands but also tackling social and environmental issues such as creating equal opportunities and improving industrial sustainability. With effective TVET, young people can have better access to work-based learning, networking, job opportunities, and other technical and transferable skills across all industries they want to work in. 

But before we jump into how we can develop ourselves better, let’s look at what skills are in demand for young people in 2022. Over the last few decades, soft skills have become as important as hard skills, and some recruiters even say that they are what differentiates one candidate from the other despite all having similar qualifications. The first soft skill in every list is communication adaptability, which is crucial in managing teamwork. It’s followed by technical and digital literacy, critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence. As for the hard skills, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint as different industries have different demands, but some of the more general skills include: machine learning, product management, data analysis, design, and digital marketing. 

Now, what can we do to grow our skills with little to no funds today? Check some of these out.

MOOC

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are free online courses provided by many universities and higher institutions through a free open platform. Anyone can enroll, learn new skills, and earn official certification. Pretty good for your resume, right? I enrolled in Coursera and applied for financial aid, so all my courses are free and available for download. You can also adjust your own learning schedule and even retake your quizzes. Other platforms are edX, Udemy, Udacity, RuangKerja and Skill Academy by Ruangguru, etc. 

Entrepreneurship and mentorship workshops

If you don’t like learning on your own, maybe you’re better suited to enroll in these workshops with other participants. Many business schools and institutions offer a wide range of theoretical and practical coursework that you can attend in student groups. You can practice public speaking, communication, and presentation skills with your groupmates. Finding a mentor is also relatively easy these days, you can directly contact them or find them through various mentorship communities on social media. 

Internship and volunteer work

This is a great way for students to get a taste of the workforce before graduating. Plus, it makes your resume stand out compared to other fresh graduates if you have prior working experience. As an intern or a volunteer, you can learn various job duties, or even try out some roles different from your educational background, and gain valuable soft skills and connections. Internships and volunteering are also relatively not as taxing as a full-time job as they’re focused on learning, so you can do this while still in college. If you’re interested in working or volunteering in Project Child Indonesia, make sure to check our social media because next month we’re opening the new batch!

This pandemic has indeed negatively affected young people, and we’ve seen many of us suffer unemployment and inequalities. We can’t just rely on the situation to improve. We have to rely on ourselves to make our way in this world, by improving our skills and challenging ourselves outside our comfort zone. There are many opportunities out there. You just have to seize them.

References:

World Youth Skills Day. (2022). United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-youth-skills-day

TVET definition: the TVET meaning and what it stands for. (2021, February 8). TVET Journal. https://tvetjournal.com/tvet-systems/tvet-definition-the-tvet-meaning-and-what-it-stands-for/

Saving the Groundwater: Bringing Groundwater Awareness through Online Campaign

Project Child Indonesia celebrated 2022 World Water Day by organizing a series of events and campaigns to promote groundwater awareness concurrently with the UN World Water Development Report 2022 and UNESCO’s annual environmental theme. Project Child Indonesia, along with various stakeholders and organizations, created a water week dedicated to not only raising awareness of groundwater but also encouraging people to take action in contributing to protecting our most vital natural resources for the sake of future generations. 

In celebration of World Water Day, Project Child Indonesia raised “Saving the Groundwater with A Healthy Lifestyle” as the main theme of this year’s biggest environmental event yet. The event took place from the 19th to 26th of March 2022, involving a rough estimate of 100+ volunteers and stakeholders taking part in the online campaign and webinar. The webinar was not only made to increase awareness, but to also celebrate the works of dedicated environmental actors and organizations in their respective fields. The key actors are:

  1. Sabrina Farah Salsabila, a master of science candidate from HE Delft Institute for Water Education;
  2. Muhammad Rizky Pratama from Bye Bye Plastic Bag Chapter Jogja, an organization committed to educate and end the use of single plastic use. 

These actors enlightened us on the importance of groundwater and how we can prevent contamination from taking place. In addition to that, this webinar was intended to help us understand how our lifestyle affects the scarcity and quality of our natural resources. It is in fact important to note that our lifestyle greatly affects the environment. Knowing that, any form of action to save the environment can indeed prevent major disasters, so long as we remain consistent. 

To this day, Project Child Indonesia continues to advocate for the cause by collaborating with Campaign.com #ForChange in order to get more people to take action and promote a healthier lifestyle for all. 

https://www.campaign.com/challenge/id/save-the-groundwater-with-healthy-lifestyle

Click the link and take part in our online campaign NOW! By taking part in this campaign, you’re not only doing the Earth a favor, but you’re also supporting our cause and helping our organization to facilitate upcoming projects!

Our speakers and participants

Malala Yousafzai, The Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate

Written by Juhandi Dwi Putra Lyana, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Lately, we heard the news that Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan again. By that moment I remembered a story of the little girl who got shot by the Taliban on the way back home from her school. Her name is Malala Yousafzai, an activist who fights for the education of women, and children, also the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. 

Malala Yousafzi was born July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. She is the daughter of Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai Yousafzai.  She was born into a lower-middle-class household, although she was well-educated, thanks in large part to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, a poet, school owner, and educational activist who runs the private schools known as the Khushal Public School. She previously stated that she wanted to be a doctor, but her father urged her to pursue a career in politics instead. Her father even made an exception for Malala. He allowed her to stay up late at night and talk about politics, due to Ziauddin thinking that Malala is entirely special.

Aamer Ahmed Khan of the BBC Urdu website and his colleagues devised an innovative method of documenting the Pakistani Taliban’s expanding power in Swat in late 2008. They decided to ask the help of a student to blog anonymously about her experiences at the school. Abdul Hai Kakar, their correspondent in Peshawar, had been in contact with Ziauddin Yousafzai, but had been unable to locate any kids willing to report because their families deemed it too dangerous. Finally, Ziauddin suggested Malala, his 11-year-old daughter. The BBC editors insisted on Yousafzai using an alias because they were frightened for her safety.

Many people began to notice Malala. Desmond Tutu, an activist, nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize, and she conducted interviews in print and on television. Moreover, a journalist named Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. Due to the world starting to recognise Malala, the dangers facing her increased. 

After taking an exam on October 9, 2012, Malala and two other girls were shot in an assassination attempt in Pakistan by a Taliban gunman in retaliation for her activism. Malala was shot in the head and remained unconscious. She was in critical condition in the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but her health improved enough because she was transported to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education after her recovery. She co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization, with Shiza Shahid in Birmingham, and co-authored I Am Malala, an autobiography about Malala Yousafzi, in 2013. She achieved a lot of awards due to her inspirational life. She was also the most influential youth at that time. The biggest achievement given to her was the Nobel Prize at the time she was 17. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

From Malala Yousafzi, we can learn that there is no word such as “You are too young for this”. She fights in her peace way, by fighting for education and women rights. We are still young, we can learn more and be creative to create a better world in the future. You can fight for the others who need it the most. Now, it’s time for us to join her in action. Malala has done her part, then how about you? 

Why You Should Not Wait to do Good

Written by: Angelien Chrestella Pardi, Social Business Trainee Intern Project Child Indonesia

The Guilty Conscience

I have always enjoyed taking trips and going on car rides. With the hustling life of college and work, especially during this pandemic, I often find myself utilizing this time to de-stress, listening to relaxing music while observing the life of lives happening around me. During these car rides, however, it is not uncommon for me to encounter the sights of people living difficult lives. For instance, children knocking on car windows asking for change, the elderly carrying white sacks, rummaging through waste piles, etcetera. 

Just like any other people, looking at how arduous life can sometimes be for the underprivileged truly tugs my heart. I frequently find myself empathizing with these people and telling myself that I will serve good and help them when I become successful, later, in the future. However, the tiny voice at the back of my mind persistently haunted me with this one question: Why? Why then? 

The Why, explained

I am positive that I am not the only person guilty of having such a conscience. Guilt-tripping others for having these thoughts was not my intention as it is only natural for humans to prioritize themselves, and their needs, over others. Nevertheless, have we ever paused for a moment and considered why we keep telling ourselves to help others only after being affluent and comfortable with life? Why do we have to wait for that moment to come to help others? Let’s take a short pause and reflect on this question.

Now let me ask you this: What if that perfect time never comes? What happens then? Does that mean that you will not do good in your life? Certainly not because the truth is, in life, there is no ideal time to do a particular thing. Surely, doing good is no exception. There will never be a perfect time for you to do good and help others. Believe me, that moment will never come. You are merely wasting your time if you are waiting for it. If you want to help others, simply start helping. Pronto.

How Can I Help?

You already have the desire to do good. That is great! This proves your benevolence and caring attitude towards others and that you are willing and ready to make altruistic contributions to your community. Yet, you are still unsure how you can help others. What comes next? Where do I begin? 

Don’t worry! Here are a few ways you can do good:

1. Be a Good Samaritan

Don’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to a person in need. Instead, help them however you can. Buy food for the hungry, offer blankets to the cold and assist the elderly when they are crossing the road. These small acts of kindness might seem like nothing to you, but you will never know how much it truly means to them.

2. Volunteer Your Skills and/or Time

Volunteering is one of the most incredible ways you can help your community. Aside from adding happiness and meaningful purpose into your life, it can also give you a sense of belonging within the community. All these benefits aside, you can choose how you would like to contribute and help based on your interests and passion.

3. Fundraise for a Cause

Engaging your friends and family to fundraise for a cause that is close to your heart is a great and fun way to support your community. Additionally, donating in place of a special occasion towards a cause of your interest is an extraordinary way to make it memorable and meaningful.

4. Donate

Understandably, not all people have the time to do community service despite their desires to do so. And that is completely okay! Donations come in a lot of forms and it is totally up to you on what you would like to donate, of course, taking into consideration the needs of the community. For instance, you can drop off and donate food to local communities, clothes to homeless shelters, books, and supplies to local schools and orphanages. 

Moreover, there are many NGOs out there that accept cash donations. By helping these NGOs through the provision of financial support, you will be assisting them in funding their sustainable programs, thus, helping the community.

5. Lend Your Voice

Unsurprisingly, not everyone dares to stand up for themselves. This is especially true for the victims of bullying, rape, racism, sexism, and many more. This usually constitutes the society’s minorities: the homeless, the neglected, the oppressed, and the powerless. Therefore, if you are active on social media, or any other platforms for that matter, then you can put your skills to great use! Lend them your voice and speak up for them, with them. Your actions will raise awareness to the people around you and who knows, it might give them the courage to stand up for themselves and help bring positive and beneficial changes to society.

Doing Good with Project Child Indonesia

As a volunteer-centered non-profit organization, Project Child Indonesia offers several opportunities for people, particularly young adults, to participate in making a difference within society. From volunteer roles to internship positions, public campaigns to fundraising events, Project Child Indonesia aspires to inspire more individuals to care about the community, especially in advocating and supporting Indonesian children and citizens residing in the underprivileged communities of Yogyakarta. Therefore, if your passion and interests lie in children advocacy and education, and you find yourself committed to making an impact on society, volunteering your time at Project Child Indonesia will undoubtedly be worthwhile.

The Bottom Line

Mother Theresa once said,

A day without doing something good for others is a day not worth living.

This quote holds a sincere, unfeigned depiction of life’s most fundamental essence. Life will surely lose all of its meaning and purpose without the little acts of kindness, deeds of compassion, and the universal language of love. 

Regardless of which actions you decide to take on, always remember to do good because it is these actions that make our lives profoundly meaningful. Every seed you plant today will yield big fruits in the future. With this, wait no more and begin helping others for “Everyone can do good”.

The Uniqueness and Beauty Of Social Entrepreneurship

Written by:  Faya Augustian Ariestyarini, Social Business Trainee Intern Project Child Indonesia

Joining as part of the social business trainee team at Project Child Indonesia Batch 32 was a new and unique experience. It was a new experience because it was my first time participating in the apprenticeship program. It was also a unique experience because I joined the social business team. Project Child Indonesia as a non-profit organization means that there will be more business concepts entitled social entrepreneurship. I learned a lot about non-profit organizations, such as their definition, orientation, organizational structure, and the proper stages of designing social entrepreneurship to be implemented in Project Child Indonesia’s non-profit organizations. The business model in Project Child Indonesia is unique because it forms a social entrepreneurship scheme, which is a business idea to pursue profit and social good. The funds raised can be used to fund social programs that contribute to the environment.

Based on the results of research conducted by the British Council and USESCAP with the title Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy: The State of Social Enterprise in Indonesia (2018), the results of the growth of social enterprises in Indonesia have continued to experience significant growth over the last few years. Even in the previous five years alone, the number of social entrepreneurs has grown five times greater than during the last five years. Based on the results of this research, of course, questions will arise related to the attractiveness of social enterprises, which seems to be a new trend in the business world today.

The popularity of the concept of social entrepreneurship in business is the uniqueness of social entrepreneurship, which presents unique stories and goals behind the establishment of the company. Social entrepreneurship, which offers noble goals, brings benefits and changes to the environment, seems to be a unique and distinct magnet for social entrepreneurship. There are several reasons why social entrepreneurship is unique and essential for the environment and the economy itself, including:

1. As a pioneer in social business that can motivate others to contribute to helping the environment and society.

Social entrepreneurship operates its business model by trying to align the goal of making a profit with its social values. At the same time can trigger other people’s motivation to be moved to help and contribute to the environment, thus bringing change to the environment and the surrounding economy.

Project Child Indonesia is a non-profit organization whose vision is that every child in Indonesia has the opportunity to learn, have a healthy life, feel supported, and are safe to live in a clean environment that is ready to face natural disasters. For several months being a part of the social business trainee team at Project Child Indonesia, I realized that the business model presented by Project Child Indonesia could motivate the community to contribute to making an impact on the environment, either through direct donations, joining the apprenticeship program, or volunteering.

2. Businesses that offer social and economic value.

Social entrepreneurship, which has a specific goal of solving social problems, can find new market opportunities under that community niche. Social entrepreneurship can be quickly and efficient in helping solve social and economic issues of the community or environment.

Based on the vision of Project Child Indonesia, the business model of this organization carries the concept of social entrepreneurship, which also explicitly directs us as social business trainees to create a business model that is in line with the values ​​and goals of Project Child Indonesia. In one of our projects, we are preparing the business concept of the shop, based on several social goals that are following the values ​​of Project Child Indonesia. As part of the social business trainee team, they challenged us to create a business concept that brings economic benefits in the form of profit and presents social values ​​in the conceptualized business.

3. Having a noble purpose of having an impact on the environment.

Project Child Indonesia with the motto “Everyone can do good,” offers attractive social values ​​in the organization. The slogan also applies in making business concepts in Project Child Indonesia. Each business unit designed must be following the importance ​​of Project Child Indonesia, which can balance the profit and benefit of the business for the environment. Every business model created by the social business trainee team must be according to the Project Child Indonesia social values ​​and have a mission that the existence of a business will bring benefits to the environment. It is so that social values ​​and the invitation to social change are at the core of every operational activity from companies that carry the concept of social entrepreneurship.

Reference:

British Council. (2018). The State of Social Enterprise in Indonesia. Available at https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/the_state_of_social_enterprise_in_indonesia_british_council_web_final_0.pdf (Accessed 26 May 2021).

Cohive Space. 2017. 5 Reasons Why Social Entrepreneurship Matters. Available at https://cohive.space/blogs/5-reasons-why-social-entrepreneurship-matters/ (Accessed 26 May 2021).

Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg. (2007). Social Enterpreneurship: The Case for Definition. Available at https://ssir.org/articles/entry/social_entrepreneurship_the_case_for_definition (Accessed 26 May 2021).

Get to Know the Most Common Natural Disasters in Indonesia

written by Stephanie Ruth Armida and Rafy Ramadhan: Content Writer Interns at Project Child Indonesia

Indonesia is known for its beautiful nature. However, behind Indonesia’s beautiful sceneries, there lurk dangers of natural disaster that can befall us any time. Located in the Ring of Fire, one of the world’s most geologically active areas, our country is prone to geological disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. We are also threatened by hydrometeorological or water related disasters such as floods, landslides, droughts and wildfires. In this article, we are going to discuss three of Indonesia’s most common disasters, which are earthquakes, floods, and landslides. We will also talk about what we should do if we ever have to face them!

Earthquakes, Floods & Landslides 

Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical (BMKG) stated that the intensity of earthquakes have increased at the beginning of the year (Thirafi, 2021). This happened due to aftershock of the earthquakes and the faults –cracks, in the earth where sections of plate are moving into different directions. People living in dense locations and/or near active tectonic locations are more likely to suffer the worst impact of the damage. Besides its danger due to  the amount of damage it can deal, an earthquake may lead to other disasters such as floods and landslides.

Floods, often caused by heavy downpour in the rainy season, are one of many disasters that are caused by humans most of the time. Poor water drainage, deforestations, and narrowing rivers are some of the many root causes of floods (Rayda, 2021). As discussed in our previous article, extreme weather has increased  the intensity of flood and it is getting more difficult to be predicted. Areas affected by floods are often covered by silt and muds. Floods may also contain hazardous materials in the water, such as sharp debris, dangerous chemicals, and sewage that might harm people. Moreover, it can damage facilities and leave affected residents with clean water shortage, no electricity,  and high risks of waterborne diseases. 

The last kind of disaster is landslides. Landslides are also caused by hydrometeorological phenomena. Oftentimes, they are triggered by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and heavy downpours. Now, we have an increasing number of landslides due to deforestation, climate change, and the conversion of open lands for modern-use purposes (Landslides : FAO in Emergencies, n.d.). Like any other disaster, landslides can cause structural destruction, loss of natural resources and damage to the land. It can also block rivers, hence higher risk of floods. 

Socio-Economic Impacts

The direct impacts of said disasters are dire indeed. However, we cannot ignore the indirect (and mostly long-term) impacts of these natural disasters as well. Our economy and society suffer from natural disasters which happen in a significantly high frequency, because our country is prone to natural disasters. 

From the economic point of view, devastated infrastructure can lead to poverty due to decreasing flow of income. Rebuilding destroyed infrastructures also suck up a considerable amount of budget from our government from time to time, given the fact that almost half of Indonesia’s districts are affected by natural disasters annually. 

From the social perspective, Natural disasters can cause education impairment, since school buildings are damaged and/or used as shelter for residents who are suffering from the phenomena. It can also trigger psychological impact such as trauma and anxiety.

Mitigation & Preparation

Despite the fact of being prone to natural disasters, the infrastructure in our country is not developed enough to be able to withstand the impact caused by them. While it is our government’s job to create sufficient disaster mitigation for its citizens, it is also our own responsibility to be prepared to face any natural disaster, especially those which have high potential to occur in our area. 

You can begin by creating a family safety plan and emergency supplies. Look up for disaster safety tips! Even the most simple knowledge like knowing what to do during a natural disaster such as hiding under your desk during an earthquake or running to the highest land near your area during floods might be a difference between life and death. 

We recommend you to download BNPB’s Disaster Pocketbook for more knowledge about natural disasters from here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d5A4bATq1VpqSgibS_bWd5JhLrrCpXE5/view  

Knowing emergency hotlines to call during a disaster  is also crucial should you ever need emergency help!  Here are the numbers you can call in our country to call for help:

  • Ambulance: 118 or 119
  • Police: 110
  • Search and Rescue (SAR): 115
  • Natural Disaster Officer: 129

Although sometimes natural disasters cannot be prevented, we can still try to save our nature and ourselves by fighting climate change. How? By creating eco-friendly behavior! Go check our previous articles for more helpful information, and as usual, everyone can do good, so do not forget to share this information to everyone! 

References

Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB). (2020). Buku Saku Tanggap Tangkas Tangguh Cetakan Kelima 2020 (Vol. 5) [E-book]. Pusat Data Informasi dan Komunikasi Kebencanaan BNPB. https://bnpb.go.id/buku/buku-saku-tanggap-tangkas-tangguh-cetakan-kelima-2020

Landslides : FAO in Emergencies. (n.d.). FAO. http://www.fao.org/emergencies/emergency-types/landslides/en/#:%7E:text=The%20impact%20of%20a%20landslide,increase%20the%20risk%20of%20floods

Rayda, N. (2021, February 8). The Indonesian government is exploring multiple options to contain the worsening floods, but there are obstacles including climate change and illegal settlements. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/jakarta-flooding-relocation-giant-seawall-anies-baswedan-13864908#:%7E:text=Although%20not%20as%20severe%20as,of%20the%20city’s%20business%20districts.

Thirafi, H. (2021, January 23). (Update) Potensi Multi Bencana Hidrometeorologis dan Aktivitas Kegempaan Meningkat, Masyarakat Diminta Tidak Panik tapi Tingkatkan Kewaspadaan | BMKG. BMKG | Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika. https://www.bmkg.go.id/berita/?p=potensi-multi-bencana-hidrometeorologis-dan-aktivitas-kegempaan-meningkat-masyarakat-diminta-tidak-panik-tapi-tingkatkan-kewaspadaan&lang=ID&tag=apps-info-bmkg

Changes in Children’s Mental Health During Covid-19

Written by Lubna Hanifa M, Grants Researcher Intern Project Child Indonesia

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide in different ways. Most people, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity have experienced its effects in one way or another, perhaps changing their lives forever. The pandemic has threatened not only global physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing as well. 

Amongst those at risk are school-age children who are currently at crucial periods in their life for learning and socialization. Thanks to the pandemic, many students are experiencing consequential damage to their mental health which may have enduring long-term effects. 

The Switch from Offline to Online Schooling

First and foremost, one of the major consequences of the pandemic has been the widespread closure of schools. The drastic shift to online learning – that is still ongoing, even now – has the potential to trigger further mental health problems as they interfere with numerous aspects of a child’s life. For school-age students, peer groups hold an incredibly crucial role in their lives. Furthermore, regular school days provide structure and routine for children. As they are robbed of these critical things, feelings of loneliness and uncertainty become common. As a consequence, children may become more dependent and clingy towards parents. If these feelings persist and are severe enough, further problems may arise that negatively impact their mental health such as depression or anxiety.

Costs of Self-Isolation and Quarantine

In addition to school closures, children who have experienced or are undergoing self-isolation or quarantine may also experience detrimental effects in regards to their mental health. Young children in particular are susceptible to grieve the parental separation, as parents are key individuals in that life stage. Moreover, children who had experienced mandatory self-isolation were more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, as well as adjustment disorder.

Feeling Unsafe at Home

For some children, the major risk factor to their safety actually comes from their own households. The prolonged time of staying at home exposes them to dangers they would otherwise be able to avoid by going about their daily routines before the pandemic hit. Social isolation in abusive homes is a specifically pressing issue. Increased stress and economic uncertainty experienced by their parents is a factor that can potentially exacerbate the occurrence of domestic violence and abuse. Such family situations can lead children to feel increasingly restless, anxious, or irritable in addition to being physically threatened. In some cases, it is possible that the child has experienced pent up emotions as a result of prolonged stay at home periods, thereby making them more prone to conflicts with other family members in the household. 

All in all, although certain regulations are in place to protect children and their families from the virus, these restrictions might actually inflict unintended harm. The urgency for regulation-makers to balance the threat of the virus in addition to the threat towards the public’s mental health, especially that of children, must be taken into urgent consideration.

Eyes Wider on Extreme Weather

written by Adides Gideon Simanjuntak, Stephanie Ruth Armida, Rafy Ramadhan: Content Writer Interns at Project Child Indonesia

Have you noticed the extreme weather conditions around us lately? Recently, our country has been hit by the Tropical Cyclone Seroja in East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. It is one of many other natural disasters we have had. Indonesia has had 197 natural disasters between January 1 and January 23, 2021, according to the Indonesian National Board of Disaster Management (BPNB) (Fardah, 2021). This phenomenon also happens in other countries. For example, the Australian wildfires that happened last year which were caused by heat waves. Early in this month, Germany just had late-season snow in April (Washington Post, 2021). What is actually going on and why is it happening? 

Extreme Weather due to Climate Change

Remember about global warming? It’s just getting worse. The increasing greenhouse gas emission (GHG) due to the overuse of fossil fuel, deforestation, and industrial factory farming (Causes of Climate Change, 2017) has caused earth temperature to increase. It led to climate change and triggered extreme weather– an unpredictable weather that occurs greater than its range in the past (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2005). 

The Impact of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather triggers heavy downpours, droughts, floods, storms, heat waves, and hurricanes. Met Office (2018) explained that it happens due to the unstable situation of the atmosphere and the rising temperature of the sea. These will bring negative impacts not only to our environment, but also to the economy and social sector. 

For the environment, extreme weather might reduce the ecosystem’s capability in absorbing carbon; hence, increasing the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere (The Weather Channel, 2013). Drought is one of the most damaging extreme weather in this context, because as trees and plants die, there will be nothing to absorb carbons. Hence, the extreme weather will be even worse. Drought also puts living creatures in danger.

Drought also brings death to plants and it surely disturbs the ecosystem. The danger is not limited on the land, as the rising temperature in the sea will also disturb the marine ecosystem. This results in the loss of biodiversity of flora and fauna. It can also increase health risks to humans (What Are the Effects of Climate Change?, n.d.). Extreme weathers like floods and unpredictable hurricanes can even cause casualties in a short amount of time.

Economy and social wise, the destruction of agriculture, infrastructure, productivity and other fields may threaten our economy and social life as well. Losing our land and water due to extreme weather can lead to food insecurity, affecting not only the local people but also to the market. This can result in economic problems including the loss of jobs while our government has to spend money to aid the affected.

Every Cloud Has Silver Lining, Including COVID-19 

Though the current pandemic has brought so many problems into the world, it has also brought a good impact that shows us that reducing climate change is possible. If the climate change issue is solved, extreme weather will disappear on its own. Dwortzan (2021) said that many countries are showing great reductions on GHG due to less transportation activity, decreasing usage of fossil fuels and sustainable sources of foods. For the first time in forever, the world has been put into rest. It shows us that our actions matter in light of fighting climate change.

Our Actions Shape Our World

Even our smallest actions can make a big difference. We can start making changes by reflecting about our daily activities. For instance, we can try paying attention to our eating habits. Make sure that we eat and buy food responsibly to minimize food waste. Believe it or not, food waste also has its part in emitting  greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. You can also try growing your own food by doing urban farming. You can grow your own vegetables even in a minimum space, for example on your garden or rooftop. 

Regarding energy consumption, we can start using energy more mindfully. We can start in our house by plugging off our charger after using, eating outside less, and minimizing electricity consumption. We can also take public transportation if possible to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.

Last but not least, do not hesitate to spread awareness about these issues to your friends! Sharing your eco-friendly behavior can inspire others to act on our world, and together we can make our world a better place.

“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”

-Sallust

References

Days After Historic Warmth, Europe Braces for Shocking Blast of Cold, Snow. (2021, April 5). Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/05/europe-cold-blast-snow/

Can Extreme Weather Make Climate Change Worse? | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com. (2013, August 15). The Weather Channel. https://weather.com/science/environment/news/can-extreme-weather-make-climate-change-worse-20130815#:%7E:text=The%20researchers%20have%20shown%20that,to%20remain%20in%20the%20atmosphere.

Causes of climate change. (2017, June 28). Climate Action – European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/change/causes_en#:%7E:text=Humans%20are%20increasingly%20influencing%20the,greenhouse%20effect%20and%20global%20warming

Dwortzan, M. (2021, January 29). How will Covid-19 ultimately impact climate change? MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. https://news.mit.edu/2021/how-will-covid-19-ultimately-impact-climate-change-0129

Fardah. (2021, February 6). Indonesia enters 2021 with “abnormal” natural disasters. Antara News. https://en.antaranews.com/news/167468/indonesia-enters-2021-with-abnormal-natural-disasters

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2005). Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Web.Archive.Org. https://web.archive.org/web/20051101154444/http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/088.htm

Met Office. (2018, December 13). How is climate linked to extreme weather? https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/climate/climate-and-extreme-weather

What are the effects of climate change? (n.d.). Www.Myclimate.Org. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-the-effects-of-climate-change/

Overcoming Medical Waste Problem during the Pandemic

Written by Adides Gideon Simanjuntak, Rafy Ramadhan, Stephanie Ruth Armida: Content Writer Interns Project Child Indonesia

It has been more than a year since we have our ‘14 days quarantine’. Who would have thought that the pandemic would stick around for such a long time? Just imagine all the medical waste we have produced up until now! If we do not pay any attention to medical waste, it will cause us problems in the future. Let us see what medical waste actually is, what are the problems caused by it, and what we can do to help!

What is Medical Waste?

According to WHO, Medical Waste can be classified as waste that is generated with the body fluids/contact with human beings or animals. Masks, gloves, hazmat suits, and other used medical devices from COVID-19 testings are the common examples of medical waste that has increased during the pandemic. Medical waste comes not only from hospitals, but also from households. Everyone produces medical waste, including us. 

Problems Arise

As the number of COVID-19 patients keeps getting higher each day, the number of PPEs (Personal Protection Equipments) used is also getting higher. This results in more medical waste produced. Unfortunately, our country hasn’t been able to handle it very well. Due to COVID-19, medical waste in Indonesia has reached 6.417,95 tons as of February 4th, 2021.

Right now, our country is facing problems from several dimensions:

  • Environmental
    • Most PPEs contain polypropylene, polyurethane, polyacrylonitrile, polyethylene, and polyethylene terephthalate, chemicals that make it harder to break down. The fragmentation of it will not only harm the land, but also the water ecosystems in rivers and the sea.  They can tangle and poison animals such as fish and birds that live near water. 
    • PPEs will release toxins if they are burned in the open, causing air pollution. Medical waste such as these has to be incinerated to kill the dangerous elements in it. However, even Incinerators cause pollution, meaning more health problems to the respiratory system and the skin. 
    • Landfills are overwhelmed by medical waste. The degradation process of medical waste can release the toxic chemicals to an open environment which can be hazardous to people around the area. 
  • Social

Because rivers are now heavily polluted with medical waste, families who rely their lives  on rivers are at risk. For example, residents who depend on the Cisadane river for their daily necessities are now scared of using the water because it’s too dangerous (Keck, 2020). Workers who rely on waste picking are also impacted because they have to be in contact with the medical waste; hence, they have a bigger risk of catching the virus. 

  • Economic

To save our country, our government has to work on solutions, and they definitely cost a lot of money. For example, they are building new incinerator plants, and while the government is working on those, they also have to spend more on third-parties in order to let hospitals use their incinerators to burn medical waste.

The Good News

You can a little be at ease, because our government and other bigger parties surely are working on the solutions for our medical waste problems. One of them is that our government is cooperating with cement factories by using their kilns as incinerators. In the meantime, Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the Director-General for Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Substances Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia stated in one of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)’s webinar last year that the government is currently focusing on building five new incinerators this year and a total of 32 incinerators within the next five year.

Another solution comes from LIPI. They are working on an environmentally-friendly method which is called recrystallization. It even produces recycled plastics with higher purity, as explained by Sunit Hendrana (2021), one of the researchers in LIPI. 

Lastly, our government also utilizes autoclaves, a sustainable tool to manage medical waste. It sterilizes medical waste using heat from pressured steam. WHO is working with our Ministry of Environment and Forestry and in collaboration with UNDP on building four autoclaves in hope that it can help solve the lack of incinerators in the country.

What Can We Do to Help?

There are many things we can do to help our environment, and they are very simple! Starting off small, we can reduce disposable mask consumption by wearing a double cloth mask or reusable mask such as the N95 mask. It might seem trivial, but if everyone does it, we can eventually reduce huge numbers of domestic medical waste. Also, in case you are unsure what to do with your medical waste, you can disinfect them simply by soaking in bleach/detergent before disposing of them at your nearest public health center (hospitals, clinics) where they can help you with better medical waste management. Remember, even the smallest thing can bring a huge impact if done by a lot of people. Stay safe and stay kind to our environment!

References:

Keck, M. (2020, September 7). COVID-19 Medical Waste Is Heavily Polluting This River in Indonesia. Global Citizen. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/covid-19-medical-waste-Cisadane-river/

Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia. (2021, January). Rekristalisasi, Solusi Daur Ulang Sampah Medis. http://lipi.go.id/berita/single/Rekristalisasi-Solusi-Daur-Ulang-Sampah-Medis/22316

Rikin, A.S. (2020, April 22). KLHK Akan Bangun 5 Insinerator Tahun Ini. Bisnis.com. https://ekonomi.bisnis.com/read/20200422/99/1230996/klhk-akan-bangun-5-insinerator-tahun-ini