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.