SUMMARY OF PKPA NIAS PROJECT 2009-2011
Title of Project: PKPA’s child rights program
Donors : Kindernotholfe-Germany
Project Period : 3 Years (2009-2011)
Geographically, Nias Island is part of North Sumatra Province. It is on the western part of Sumatra Island and is on Indian Ocean. In 2003, Nias Island was divided into two districts i.e. the District of Nias with Gunung Sitoli as its capital and the District of South Nias with Teluk Dalam as its capital. Since geographically Nias Island is separated from North Sumatra’s mainland, its physical and human resource developments are left behind compared to other areas in the province. People in Nias Island tend to be ignored and marginalized. Therefore, their economic, education, health and infrastructures are left behind. These situations only revealed to public after the 2004 tsunami and 2005 earthquake.
The population in Nias is 800 thousands people. Most of its populations (about 85%) are Niasnese while the rests are Acehnese, Minangnese, Bataknese and Chinese. Most of its populations (about 93%) are Christian, Moslem (6%) and Buddhist and Hindus (1%). Most of its inhabitants work as traditional farmers and fishermen and are not involved in family income generating programs. There are many isolated villages in Nias. Since these villages can be reached neither by car nor motorbike people have to walk 2-10 kilometers away to get access to traditional market, school and public health center. Nias Island is the poorest area in North Sumatra Province. The highest number of poor people is in the District of South Nias. It is known that nearly 92% of 278,722 people in the district live under the poverty line. Meanwhile, the District of Nias places the fifth poorest districts out of 25 districts/cities in North Sumatra.
There are still many questions and doubts about the future of Nias after the completion of programs implemented by the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh and Nias (BRR NAD-Nias). The Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency will officially end its programs on 30 November 2008. The doubts of many parties about the future of Nias are very realistics as the Local Government is still lack of experience in managing expensive and modern reconstruction assets built by BRR and other humanitarian organizations. Therefore, the Head of the District of Nias hoped that the Central Government, the Provincial Government and humanitarian organizations could help them continue the recovery and reconstruction programs in Nias, especially to improve its human resources.
Government’s development policy in the future will be focused on two main agendas, namely:
a. Re-structurization of local government system after the completion of BRR’s programs and the breaking up of Nias into three districts, namely: the District of West Nias, the District of North Nias and Gunung Sitoli Municipality: The Central Government officially approved the breaking up of these new districts on 30 October 2008.
b. General Election 2009: There will be national leadership and parliament membership changes throughout the country after the General Election. This situation, of course, will influence the performance and concentration of government officials in the country. Consequently, local issues such as child health and education as well as violence against women are tended to be ignored while national political issues will receive greater attention. This may cause social conflict.
Due to acute poverty in Nias, children’s basic rights are often violated. The lack of opportunity to get access to school and high number of malnutrition cases, for example, have forced Nias children to work within and outside Nias Island such as in Sibolga and Medan. They work on streets, in plantations, marine sectors or harbors to survive although they have to work very hard like an adult. Children aged of 7 – 18 years who could not access schools are involved in livelihood activities of families. Rapid assessment on the situations and conditions of child labor in Nias conducted by PKPA and ILO-IPEC in 2006 showed that children aged 6-15 years were involved in the domestic and public sectors like collecting sand, breaking stones, pedicab driver, scavenger, working in rubber plantation and fishing sector.
Other serious problem faced by children in Nias was the increasing number of physical and sexual abuse as well as child marriage cases. From 2006 to October 2008, the number of cases of child abuse and violence reported to PKPA and police tends to increase. For example, PKPA-Nias only handled 5 child cases in 2006 and the number of cases handled by PKPA increased sharply to 23 cases in 2007 and 30 cases in 2008. These figures still excluded 83 cases in which children were offenders.
There were some factors that led to the high number of child right violations in Nias Island such as 1) Cultural factor considering children as an economic asset of family and gender discriminations between men and women. This has resulted in child exploitation and discrimination, 2) Local government’s policy which does not prioritize child issues in government’s development agenda; and 3) The lack of society-based organizations’ attention to child abuse and economic exploitation cases.
III. Strategic program plan
A long-term strategic program plan is needed to enable us to build the capacity of the local governments, communities and non government institutions so that they will be able to realize the best interests of the child. Referring to the National Program for Indonesian Children 2015, especially for Nias, at least it will take us until 2020 to create “a world fit for children” in the island. To enable us to achieve this long-term goal, PKPA designed a short-term program for 2009-2011 covering the following areas.
a) Prevention and elimination of child abuse and sexual exploitation
b) Awareness raising of adolescent reproductive health and increasing age of consent for marriage among girls
c) Elimination of the worst forms of child labor, especially in fishing, domestic work and home industry sectors
d) Increasing the participation of non governmental organizations and communities in implementing children’s rights
e) The improvement of mothers’ and children’s health
Based on the outputs of assessment conducted by PKPA and PKPA’s strategic planning meeting, following are strategic programs to address child issues in Nias Island:
1. Developing local strategic plan for the elimination of child labor and enhancing public understanding about child labor situations, the negative impacts of working on children, national and international legislations and efforts to address child labor. The choice of advocacy program will be based on a careful analysis on the root problems of poverty, the involvement of children in the worst forms of child labor, juvenile delinquency resulting from lack of education as well as community, government and relevant stakeholders’ understanding which is not child sensitive
2. Building the capacity of community-based organizations and organizations providing services for children to enable them to strengthen coordination system and advocate for local policy changes
3. Providing legal aid and social protection services for children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse and developing referral system
4. Facilitating and empowering child and youth organizations to enable them to participate in advocating development policy changes that respect the best interest of the child
5. Strengthening non formal education institutions to enable them to provide direct supports for school dropouts and pre-school aged children as a pilot project at community level to address poor education in Nias
6. Improving and maintaining database system and child problems to enable us to develop an effective strategy to improve children’s future in Nias Island
Children in Nias Island are free from all forms of economic exploitation and abuse.
OBJECTIVE OF PROJECT
The objectives of this project are:
1. to prevent children from being involved in the worst forms of child labor, especially in sand and stone mining as well as in fishing sector
2. to provide legal aid and social protection services for children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse
3. to build the capacity of community-based organizations to enable them to build network for child protection
4. to promote child participation through the empowerment of child and youth organizations
It is expected that the implementation of short-term project for the elimination of child labor and protection of children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse will contribute to a better future for Nias children. Following are the expected outputs of this project:
1. Local policies on the prevention and elimination of the worst forms of child labor are available in the Districts of Nias and South Nias.
2. Community-based organizations, cultural organizations, local NGOs and child organizations’ understanding about and participation in advocacy works for child protection in Nias Island improves.
3. Children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse receive legal aid services, social services, psychological services and family reintegration services.
4. Referral systems are developed to enable us to refer child cases to police, hospitals and drop in centers run by community-based organizations.
5. Child and youth participation in supporting PKPA’s works to promote the rights of the child to community and local government of Nias improves.
6. The presence of PKPA in Nias contributes to stronger child protection networks in the island and it becomes a reliable complaint center for Nias people.
Our main target groups are children aged 0-18 years as defined in the CRC. Currently, there are about 450 children in Nias Island (200 boys and 250 girls). However, to enable us to work with these children, some of these project activities need to be coordinated with other parties that can provide protection to children such as community-based organizations, cultural organizations, faith-based organizations and government institutions
IMPACT ON CHILDREN
Employing children in hazardous places and violations against the rights of children to education have not been yet considered as the violations against children’s rights. This condition is considered as a common phenomenon due to acute poverty and development backwardness. More serious condition is that the high number of child abuse cases such as forced early marriage, physical abuse and rape has not been yet considered as a serious violation against human rights, especially child rights to protection. Both family and community still consider these phenomena as a common practice. The Local Government also has not yet included these problems in its strategic plan for human development.
For children alone, they have to receive these facts due to their powerlessness caused by family and community suppression and servitude to their parents. Doctrines by parents, adults living around the children as well as religious and community leaders have made children have no choice to their rights.
It is hoped that transformation of human rights universal values, especially children’s rights, through various approaches and project strategies will be able to change community and government’s paradigm and enable them to implement children’s basic rights to education, health and protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation as well as stop negative stigma on children’s behaviors which are considered deviate from cultural and social norms and values.
On other side, the involvement and participation of children in the promotion of the rights of the child will help them better understand their normative rights which cannot be deprived by anyone and by any reasons. The establishment of child and youth organization will support them in becoming a peer educator for other children. Children will respect their own rights and demand the responsibility of adults living around them to fulfill these rights.
Impacts of this program’s approaches on broader community and children in Nias Island in general can be seen from the following aspects:
Local policies that pay special attention to children who are exploited economically, children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse.
1. Children whose rights are violated can easily get access to organizations that provide information and services.
2. Paradigm changes related to child treatments within family and community will more prioritize persuasive ways rather than intimidation or force
It is expected that KNH can use this project proposal to carefully consider the continuation of its supports for PKPA in Nias Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Medan, 4 February 2009
Misran Lubis (email@example.com)