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Youth in Humanitarian Action: Vulnerable Roles, Significant Influence

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

On 19 August 2003, the world was stunned to silence by the bombing attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. On that day as well, the humanitarian sector suffered a tragedy unlike ever before, with 22 people dead, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in a targeted attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). To remember the losses that day and the significant effort from all humanitarian workers, the United Nations formalized 19 August as World Humanitarian Day. Today, we celebrate the hard work of all workers who have given their lives and dedication in providing support and protection to people most in need. This year’s World Humanitarian Day’s theme is #RealLifeHeroes, focusing on the inspiring personal stories of humanitarian heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Events and campaigns held by various organizations worldwide bring together partners and institutions to advocate for the well-being of aid workers. I believe everyone who reads this article is a humanitarian, whether you work in this sector, or you have a passion as one. Let’s discuss what being a humanitarian really is and our roles as young people in it!

What is humanitarian aid? Is it the same with other types of emergency aid? 

Yep, any aid given during emergencies and disasters is considered humanitarian aid. All programs, procedures, and supports are designed to save lives and alleviate suffering during and in the aftermath of crises. The ‘human’ in humanitarian means that those aids directly benefit the affected people. For example, giving shelter and food to earthquake victims, treating injured civilians in war, connecting displaced families, etc. Have you ever donated to an emergency fundraiser? If yes, you can also be considered giving humanitarian support. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the UN is the main body responsible for coordinating emergency responses. 

During emergencies and conflicts in their countries, young people are forced to shoulder the burden of fighting on the frontlines for their communities and become extremely vulnerable to violence and exploitation. Many are forced to drop out of school to care for their families. Basic necessities like safety, health, and sanitation are also cut off. Children face the dangers of being illegally recruited as child laborers and soldiers. Girls may also face pressure to marry early to secure their families’ survival, effectively killing their dream and future in these uncertain times. 

Getting Involved

If we look at the bigger picture, even aid workers in international organizations are also subjected to discriminative treatment. Either their hard work is overlooked, or their communities don’t receive enough support to do their mission. But if you begin to doubt if your work really matters, please don’t! We may not have much money or resources, but remember, our voice and perspective are invaluable. The development of technology and education have profited the humanitarian sector and modern innovation on how to help people better as well. Young people’s knowledge of social dynamics and disaster prevention like flooding and climate change help countries prepare and recover from crises. More and more young volunteers are going straight to the center of disasters and becoming agents of change. 

As first responders, we must demand to be involved in decision-making and leadership positions. After all, we know our communities better than others. Organizations need to have a balanced power structure and promote youth representation. This way, we are not only helping those in need, but also improving our knowledge of natural and social issues that arise. Women, especially, as the largest victim group in any disaster, must be equally acknowledged. The humanitarian industry is still dominated by men and often fails to listen to women’s opinions. Because of this, potential aids and programs may neglect women’s needs. Maximizing young girls’ roles is essential in designing and implementing the action plan. If we can start having an equal power dynamic in the humanitarian industry—undoubtedly the industry which revolves around people most—then I believe other industries will also follow and reinforce the roles of young men and women. 

Guidelines for Youth Humanitarian Initiatives

This IASC guideline created by UNICEF and several partner organizations focused on the key points related to services, participation, resources, and data that youth communities can use to develop their programs both in emergency aid and peacebuilding initiatives. “These new guidelines call upon us to give away power; to trust young people and to work with them as partners by giving them safe space to meet and discuss their ideas on how they can improve life in their own communities,” said Henrietta Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director (UNICEF, 2021). Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic provides many opportunities for the youth to contribute by raising awareness, countering misinformation on social media (hoaxes), and mobilizing assistance by being medic volunteers or field operational personnel. 

Access the guideline here: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/events/iasc-guidelines-working-and-young-people-humanitarian-and-protracted-crises

The five key points are: 

  1. Service – Promoting inclusive programs for all young people within humanitarian settings.
  2. Participation – Supporting engagement and partnership with youth, through sharing information and involvement in decision-making processes such as budget allocation, etc.
  3. Capacity – Strengthening young people’s capacities and capabilities as humanitarian actors and empowering local youth-led activities. 
  4. Resources – Increasing resources for the needs and priorities of youth affected by crises.
  5. Data – Ensuring the use of age-and-sex-disaggregated data pertaining to youth in humanitarian settings.

There are so many humanitarian organizations and communities both in Indonesia and worldwide you can join and contribute to. Each of them caters to specific needs, such as education, gender equality, poverty alleviation, and others that you can adjust to your interest. Project Child Indonesia has various programs focusing on children’s development, especially their educational needs and wellbeing. Through our programs Sekolah Sungai, Mindfulness, and Online Learning Assistance, we thrive on helping children from poor communities to reach their full potential. Check out our website and social media to know more. Lastly, happy World Humanitarian Day to all workers and contributors, and we hope to see you as our next humanity warriors!

Reference

Adolescents in humanitarian action. (n.d.). UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/adolescence/humanitarian-action

IASC Guidelines on Working with and for Young People in Humanitarian and Protracted Crises. (2020, November 2). IASC. https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/events/iasc-guidelines-working-and-young-people-humanitarian-and-protracted-crises

Shifting power to young people in humanitarian action. (2019, June 24). Action Aid. https://actionaid.org/publications/2019/shifting-power-young-people-humanitarian-action

World Humanitarian Day. (n.d.). OCHA. https://about.worldhumanitarianday.org/

COVID-19 Attracts Domestic Violence

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

COVID-19 is a nightmare for the human race. With everyone advised to stay at home, the pandemic slows down every aspect imaginable in our lives. The economy collapses, social life becomes non-existent, and the only place where people are allowed to gather is the hospital. However, with the rising number of corona patients, the number of victims of domestic violence is also rising.

Everyone is coped up at home, stuck inside without many outlets to channel their stress. Rising economic pressure with almost zero way out adds on to the individual stress, even more so for a family with a lot of mouths to feed. The fathers, the one who provides financial support in indonesian nuclear families, are in a lot of pressure due to the pandemic these days. Often, the pressure translates into various domestic violence against their wives and children.

Wives are expected to be the one taking care of the households and children. During the pandemic, many women have to take the responsibility to be teachers for their children whose school is halted. Besides, they still have to cook, clean, and do chores around the house which take more than 3 hours of their time daily, 4 times more what it takes for men. However, the rising prices of food and daily necessities due to the collapsing economy during the pandemic has made many women unable to take care of their household properly. This resulted in conflicts between husbands and wives, then escalated to violence.

In Indonesia, there are 319 new violence cases reported during the pandemic, two-thirds of it are domestic violence with the wives as victims. In 3 months alone, from March to June, the number of domestic violence victims are already more than half of those reported during 2019. These constantly rising cases made many NGO focuses on women empowerment and protection went into frenzy because there are just so many women that need immediate help, but are hesitant to go forward due to fear of social judgement. Even if they want to file a case against their abuser, usually they are being held back by family members because being a victim of domestic violence is seen as something shameful.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are trying to seek justice for your case, you can contact various NGO that are willing to help you such as LBH APIK, Komnas Perempuan, and Rifka Annisa. You can also help to spread awareness of domestic violence by joining the 16 Days  of Activism held by the United Nations. The campaign simply asks you to post contents in your social media using contents provided here: https://trello.com/b/2n3wcRVJ/16-days-of-activism-2020 along with the hashtags  #GenerationEquality #orangetheworld #16days and #spreadtheword. Easy, right? Do it and be part of the change, good people!

How to End Poverty?

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

Have you ever been extremely hungry? Have you ever been living in a condition where you cannot just open the fridge and find various kinds of food and beverages to satisfy your hunger or even just a mere craving? Have you ever been worried about there being no food for the day to come? No? Then, congratulations! You are privileged.

Are you attending a good school, receiving quality education, and having friends at school? Have you ever been worried about eventually being dropped out because your parents can’t pay for your tuition? Have you ever been bullied because you look ragged and cannot afford to spend money in the school’s cafeteria? If you haven’t experienced any of that, once again: congratulations! You’re living a nice life without basic things to worry about.

In 2020 Indonesia, over 25 million people is still living under the poverty line. That means, they don’t have access to basic nutrition, basic healthcare, and quality education. This issue is not something that can be solved using the same solution for every part of Indonesia. The cause of poverty varies from one province to another because poverty is not only an economic problem. It is influenced by the social-cultural values in that certain area which prove it to be challenging to create changes in the society.

Money or government social aid cannot alleviate these people out of poverty. The problem is complex and it requires complex solutions too. Instead of giving free things which will instill the mindset of ‘it’s okay, the government will help’, the government needs to create a programme to educate these people in skills that can generate money and in the long run, will help them to get out of the poverty line.

However, as a government is a big body and there is a lot of bureaucracy that needs to be done before an actual action can take place, citizens need to participate too. For the sake of Indonesia’s economic growth, everyone must take part in getting people out of poverty. An NGO for example, can create a programme to teach any kind of skills to those who live under poverty. An individual can organize a movement to do the same thing. There are lots of things that we can do to help. It’s just a matter of whether or not the impact will become a long-run impact or just a short-term help such as monetary aid.

How to Help: Ending Child Labor

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

Do you remember your childhood? Was it happy? Were you able to have fun with your friends and family, buy toys, and eat whatever you wish? If yes, then you are very very very lucky. You are most likely the only one among ten children to have the privilege to do so. In Africa and Asia, the other nine children have to work hard and are often exploited as a laborer. These children have to work to support their family instead of working on their dreams. Often, they also become the victim of human trafficking and sexual abuse.

The issue of child labor has been nagging on our society for years. Without the proper surveillance and laws, it will be impossible to end it. As citizens, we can urge the government to create better laws to fight this issue. However, having surveillance and better laws is the diplomatic way to end it. We have to use a personal approach as well. Laws and surveillance will not increase the children’s life quality, it will only help against their cases. We have to help in bettering their education so that they have higher chances to be successful in life. Material help such as money and food can’t last very long, but education can. Changing the mindset of these children will contribute a lot, not only for the children individually but for national development as well.

A simple way that you can do to help personally is volunteering. Every child deserves education and if you can help to provide them with it, why not? Volunteering for an organization or program that helps to provide education for children such as Project Child Indonesia’s Sekolah Sungai is a very noble action. You’ll help to give access to education for these children and you’ll play a role in helping them achieve their dreams. It might be a small help, but it will give impact to the children, no matter how small. 

You can help, no matter how. There will always be a way that you can help.

References:

Peace in Trying Times

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Since 2017, UNESCO has been celebrating the International Day of Living Together in Peace. The day is celebrated in its relation to the UN 2030 Agenda: achieving world peace. For years, we have been living in constant fear of acts of hatred, tensions, rejection of others, and discriminations. Most of the time, economic issues and technological differences are the cause of the actions.

In Indonesia, we have not achieved the peace and tolerance that every individual should have experienced. There is an unseen tension between ethnic groups, religious groups, and political groups. Moreover, the wide social gap between social classes creates huge obstacles for us to overcome. Riots and demonstrations were not an uncommon practice. As citizens, sadly, we also have gotten used to displays of hate speech, hate-motivated bombing, and many more crimes that were committed as an act of hatred. It will take all of us, as Indonesian citizens, to eradicate this tension and to fight against those kinds of hate.

In this trying time, as a global citizen, it is time for us to build our tolerance and empathy. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? It will be challenging to create and maintain peace in society, moreover, with how diverse we are as a society. Though nothing is impossible. Babies were not born with hatred, they grew up to be a hateful person because of the influence of society. If we believe that everyone is inherently good, peace in society could be achieved. Tiny differences should not be the dividing force between us. 

This is the perfect time for us to pursue peace as an individual and a society. There will be more challenges such as economy difficulties, chaos in our daily life, and changes in technology. But, those challenges will only make the results sweeter, won’t it?

Safety and Health at Workplace: No. 1 Priority

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Working from home has been a privilege that not everyone can have. Healthcare workers, government officials, and those whose work are providing services for the general public cannot enjoy such luxury. Healthcare workers have to work to provide quality treatment for those who are sick, especially in this current pandemic. Government officials have to work to ensure quality service in every aspect of its citizens’ life and make sure that the economy is not collapsing. Even several social workers cannot work from home because there are so many people who do not even have homes and cannot care for themselves. 

This year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work is more important than ever. Not only at hospitals, governmental buildings and various public places are at risk of infection spread. Police officers are not having less risk than healthcare workers. Sellers in the marker are not having less risk than government officials. This pandemic threatens us all, regardless of our workplace.

Awareness of safety and health at work demands to be increased as the pandemic becomes more and more life-threatening. As the government, we need to ensure the safety and health of our officials when they come to the workplace. As employers, we need to ensure the safety and health of our employees. Precaution and understanding the same ground rules need to be stated to everyone who works out of the house. If you have to go to work and you feel sick or you feel like you have symptoms of any sickness, please call in sick from work. It is better to be safe than risking infecting others at your workplace. If you own the workplace and you have employees coming in to work, some precaution might be needed. Checking everyone’s temperature and making sure everything is sterile and sanitized can be one of the ways you can prevent the spread of infection in your workplace. Educating your employees on how to stay safe, clean, and healthy is also highly needed. If you have provided all the necessary precaution, but failed to educate your employees of the importance of the precaution’s reinforcement, then the precaution will fail to be effective.

Going to work during this trying time might be difficult. If you have the privilege to stay at home, please do. If you have to go to work, please make sure to stay safe, healthy, and follow all the health instructions. As a part of a society, we can help to put an end to this outbreak. No matter how small and insignificant your contribution to the world right now, if there is something you can do to cut the pandemic chain, please do. Remember to always stay safe and healthy!

References:

  • https://www.un.org/en/observances/work-safety-day

COVID-19: Aku Bisa Bantu Apa Sih?

Ditulis oleh Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi. Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Kalau ada yang menyebut frasa “tenaga medis”, apa sih hal yang langsung muncul di otak kalian? Dokter atau suster? Seringnya, kita berpikiran kalau dokter itu jasanya yang paling besar dalam penanganan COVID-19 terus kita lupa deh kalau ada banyak suster dan bidan yang juga bekerja keras dan mempertaruhkan nyawa untuk membantu pemerintah dalam penanganan pandemi ini.

World Health Day yang diselenggarakan oleh World Health Organization (WHO) tahun ini mengusung tema: dukung suster dan bidan. Lah, terus, apa hubungannya sama kita yang cuma masyarakat awam? Kan, kita juga ga bisa ngapa-ngapain? Hmm, sebenarnya itu adalah cara pikir yang salah kaprah, teman-teman. Banyak cara, loh, untuk kita membantu para tenaga medis yang sedang berjuang menangani pasien yang terjangkit coronavirus:

  • Cuci tangan, cuci, tangan, cuci tangan! Usahakan tangan kalian selalu bersih. Ada kemungkinan besar tangan kalian menjadi sumber berkumpulnya virus dan bakteri.
  • Jangan menyentuh area muka, terutama mata, hidung, dan mulut! Coronavirus menyebar lewat droplet atau cairan. Area mata, hidung, dan mulut menjadi area rentan masuknya virus.
  • Selalu pakai masker! Jika kalian harus berpergian keluar, gunakan masker yang menutupi hidung dan mulut. Kalau kalian memakai masker kain, pastikan masker dicuci dan didesinfektan setelah 4 jam digunakan. Jangan pernah memakai masker N95 yang sangat diperlukan oleh para tenaga medis. Kalian ga perlu lebay, tenaga medis lebih butuh daripada kita yang tidak kontak langsung dengan pasien positif corona.
  • Mandi dan rendam pakaian yang kalian pakai keluar rumah menggunakan cairan desinfektan!
  • #dirumahaja! Kalau tidak benar-benar mendesak, mending kalian di rumah aja. Selain lebih aman, kalian juga mengurangi resiko terinfeksi dan menginfeksi.
  • Ikuti anjuran pemerintah yuk! Anjuran yang dikeluarkan pemerintah itu bukan asal ngomong, teman-teman. Pemerintah juga ingin pandemi ini segera selesai sehingga semua aktivitas bisa kembali lancar seperti biasa. 

Sebenarnya, membantu tenaga medis dalam situasi seperti sekarang ini tuh mudah banget kok. Kalau kalian tetap sehat, kalian sudah meringankan pekerjaan mereka dan mengurangi resiko pekerjaan mereka. Jadi, kesehatan kalian itu udah lebih dari cukup kok, teman-teman. Yuk, semuanya tetap sehat, ya!

References:

  • https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-health-day/world-health-day-2020

COVID-19: What You Can Do to Help

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

What comes to your mind upon hearing “healthcare workers”? Do you instantly think of doctors and surgeons? Or do you remember those who are working hard in the frontline of current pandemic COVID-19: nurses and midwives?

Today, during World Health Day, is the day when we thank our nurses and midwives. They are hands-on in handling the pandemic while also providing us with real data and evidence concerning the pandemic. The World Health Organization even stated that without nurses, there would be no response to handle the pandemic because there will be no one that keeps a record and provides high-quality first treatment. They work tirelessly to help us all amid this pandemic and risk their lives to save those who got infected with the coronavirus.

You might be asking: well, what does all of these have to do with me? You might think that because you are healthy and have never met any nurse or midwife during this pandemic strike, then you don’t have to care or that you can’t help those who are working on the frontline other than donating money or medical supplies. However, you cannot be more wrong. There are simple things that you can do to help:

  • Wash your hands regularly! You need to keep your hands clean all the time.
  • Do not touch your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes. It will help you to avoid infection.
  • Wear masks! If you must go out, wear masks that cover your mouth and nose. If you have to wear a cloth mask, wash it with disinfectant after 4 hours of usage. Remember, medical N95 masks are reserved for healthcare workers! Do not wear it, you don’t need it as much as the doctors, nurses, and midwives do! 
  • Shower and disinfect your clothes after you go out!
  • Stay at home if you can. It will help with slowing the infection chain.

Showing gratitude to healthcare workers during this pandemic is simple. If you keep yourself healthy, you will lessen their workload and avoid increasing the risk of infection to them and others. So, folks, stay healthy: it is more than enough help for those in the frontline of the battle!

References:

  • https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-health-day/world-health-day-2020

Time of Crisis = Time to Care

Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

The 5th of April is celebrated annually as the International Day of Conscience. First celebrated in 2019, International Day of Conscience was initiated to remind people of the importance of love and peace in our society and the importance of self-reflection and improvement. Conscience advances the well-being of people, which is an essential base of global sustainability. The advancement will enhance the development of the global economy, society, culture, spirit, technology, and education; 

Dr. Tao-Tze Hong, President of the Federation of World Peace and Love, explains that conscience works to empower people to tolerate, forgive, and love one another. It will then shorten the distance between people and nations, creating a harmonious global society that is vital for world peace. As globalization ensues, it becomes crucial for everyone to keep the world in order. As global citizens, you are encouraged to handle international and national issues with compassion, bravery, and wisdom. Keeping global peace and harmony and creating a multi-win plan that benefits people and the mother earth should be our priority.

In times of crisis, conscience becomes more important than ever. It asks you to self-reflect and reminds you to always do the right thing. It reminds you to not be selfish and put global needs first and foremost. Amid COVID-19, conscience should be the alarm inside all of us that we need to actively help to flatten the pandemic curve by staying home. For those who are still young, you have a higher chance of survival, sure. However, it should not blind you for the possibility that you can be a carrier of the disease to those who are more fragile such as the elderly or those with preexisting conditions. You shouldn’t be selfish and only think about our own needs and wants, ignoring the needs of others. You need to work together, as a global citizen, to end this pandemic. Seek your inner conscience and do the right thing: stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy!

References:

  • http://www.icday.org/index.html