Mataram, July 22 2020 – Bulqia, a student from a special education school in Mataram, received the “Anugerah KPAI 2020 (Indonesia Child Protection Commission Award 2020)” for his active involvement in campaigning the COVID-19 prevention. That award was given in order to celebrate the National Children’s Day 2020 on July 23.
Head of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Service, Dewi Mardiana Ariany, said that this award was given to students who had concerns about the spreading of COVID-19 pandemic and actively campaigned about how to prevent the spread, like Bulqia.
“COVID-19 pandemic is considered as a national disaster, so it needs the involvement of all parties to prevent further spreading. A few groups who can participate in this prevention are children, youth, and students. Bulqia, is a model student who has good initiative in doing COVID-19 prevention to his peers.” said Dewi.
Before COVID-19 pandemic, people with disabilities faced a lot of obstacles in having access to information and hygiene and sanitation facilities. COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the obstacles and the stigma that they have been facing all along. The involvement of people with disabilities is needed to make sure all of their needs are accommodated and to break negative stigma against them.
Bulqia, a student with hearing impairments, has been actively campaigning the COVID-19 prevention to his peers through social media. Despite his disabilities, he feels that nothing could stop him from educating his surroundings to prevent the COVID-19 from spreading.
“Plan Indonesia has collaborated with the Provincial Government of West Nusa Tenggara, including Mataram Government, to do COVID-19 spreading prevention campaigns to the communities. One of them is by training local prominent figures and young peer educators.” said Dini Widiastuti, Executive Director of Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia).
Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and COVID-19 campaigns for children were held with child friendly methods, such as using comics and snake ladder board games through home visit by adults (teachers and CLTS team) as well as online by children (through story writings, songs, videos).
Plan Indonesia through WINNER (Women & Disability Inclusive Nutrition Sensitive WASH Project) has done CLTS campaigns during COVID-19 pandemic with a child friendly method. More than 170 students in West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara were trained as peer educators to campaign a healthy and clean lifestyle in their schools.
“Like Bulqia, there are 56 peer educators in West Nusa Tenggara who are actively doing campaigns to promote a healthy and clean lifestyle. During COVID-19 pandemic, the peer educators became more intense in educating people about the importance of maintaining their hygiene, especially by washing hands with soaps,” added Dini Widiastuti.
Dini also added that Plan Indonesia always encourages child and youth participation in every program because children and youth, particularly the marginalized ones, have rights to speak about their education, health, and other development sectors.
In order to prevent broader spreading of COVID-19 in West Nusa Tenggara, Plan Indonesia did various activities in Mataram, North Lombok, and Central Lombok. Some of them were sharing hygiene kits to people, personal protective equipment for children and their families as well as health workers, holding various training sessions for local prominent figures and youth, and campaigning for a clean and healthy lifestyle to people.
Plan Indonesia will always support the government to educate the communities in practicing clean and healthy life behavior, washing hands with soaps as often as possible, physically distancing, and wearing masks as doing outdoor activities to prevent broader spreading of COVID-19 in West Nusa Tenggara. (***)