Positive Impact of Children’s Voice

17 Jan 2020

Talkshow event in CSO Project closing event in Pontianak, West Kalimantan

Starts from the reality of most of the school’s employee are smoking openly in front of students, Ikhza (17), Vice President of Melawi’s Children Forum, together with his friends are initiated to push the government in making a smoke-free regional regulation.

“We were failed at the beginning of our effort. We were rejected, but we try our best until our voice has been heard. Now, people can get the benefit from smoke-free regional regulation,” said Ikhza at the talkshow in Pontianak, West Kalimantan (Jan 14, 2020). The talkshow is a part of the closing event of the CSO (Civil Society Organization) project of Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI) supported by the European Union since 2016.

The CSO project was held in 3 regencies of West Kalimantan: Sintang, Melawi, and Sekadau. Communities, including children through children's forums, are invited to participate from planning to monitoring of local government policies. As a result, the three districts are committed to becoming child-friendly districts.

A similar experience of Ikhza was also experienced by Windi (17), a member of Sintang Children's Forum. Winda and her friends miss the Child-Friendly Integrated Public Space (RPTRA).

"In the past, in Bungur Park, where children used to play, it was also widely used by adults for doing unnecessary things such as drinking alcohol, etc. The trash scattered everywhere and very easily found by children. This is very dangerous for children who do not understand anything," she said.

Because of that, the Sintang children's forum also fought for it. Their efforts also yielded sweet results, even though at the beginning they had to face difficulties because they did not understand what department that handled RPTRA.

"We also propose that the library can be open until late afternoon and on Saturdays/Sundays. Because previously the library was only open until 14.00. When I got home from school, the library was closed. Now the library is open until late afternoon and on Saturdays," she added.

She feels happy now because the children's voices are heard by the district government. One other proposal which was finally realized by the district government was to request the library to open longer and be open on Saturdays and Sundays.

"In the past, it was almost impossible to go to the library because when I got home from school, the library was closed," she explained.

Sintang Regent Dr. H Jarot Winarno, M.Med. Ph, revealed, from the beginning the government was open with assistance from WVI and support from the European Union. "Because we adhere to open government, the principle is public engagement, transparency, and accountability. Therefore, we are open to various inputs, including from children's forums. We want an inclusive, child-friendly city as well as parents," Jarot said.

In listening to input from citizens, the Sintang district government also collaborated with other parties to make it happen. For example, the Bungur RPTRA was built with Bank Kalbar's corporate social responsibility funds. The involvement of the private sector is also one of the requirements to become an Eligible Regency.

Over the past four years, the stunting rate has declined from 42 percent to 33 percent. In addition, the RI Ombudsman's assessment of public services in Sintang District also increased from 46 (two years ago) and can now reach more than 80.

National Director of Wahana Visi Indonesia Doseba T Sinay, said, "We are focused on how to improve children's skills in discussing and advocating. Children are given space to be able to communicate and provide positive input for development in their area. "

The Head of the European Union Delegation Cooperation for Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, Hans Farnhammer, appreciated the good results achieved in the three districts. "City of Eligible Children is a city that has a government system that is committed to improving the lives of children. The government is mandated to implement local policies in the area of ​​child protection. Not only the government, the achievement of that goal must also have the support of the private sector, academics, and the media, "said Farnhammer.

West Kalimantan Deputy Regent Ria Norsan, who attended the program closure, admitted that there were still 11 districts in West Kalimantan that were still lagging behind and had high stunting rates. He hopes that there will be assistance for these districts in the future.


Written by: Amanda Putri, Media Relation Executive Wahana Visi Indonesia

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