UNICEF grants $146 million to enhance child welfare – Jakarta Post

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged a grant of US$146 million to the Indonesian government through the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) to be put toward the enhancement of child welfare.

“The sum total is not enormous but the UNCEF has worldwide experience. It will make sure the fund is well spent,” National Development Planning Agency Minister Sofyan Djalil told thejakartapost.com on Monday after the signing of the UN’s Country Program Action Plan (CPAP) for the period 2016-2020. This cooperation is a continuation of the 2011-2015 CPAP.

The 2016-2020 CPAP aims to strengthen, among other things, child survival and development, education for early childhood and adolescent development, child protection, social policy, emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction and communication and public agency.

Sofyan brought up several points in relation to efforts to improve child welfare in Indonesia today, including the state of children’s physical health.

“Thirty percent of children in Indonesia are reported to suffer from stunting. This is counter intuitive to me. The income of the country has increased but children in Indonesia still suffer from stunting,” Sofyan said, adding there was a possibility that some negative impacts had resulted from the frequent consumption of instant noodles by the children.

“There must be something wrong with the nutrition of children in Indonesia. It may not be about a lack of nutrition but rather the wrong way of consuming food,” according to the minister.

Similarly, Gunilla Olsson from UNICEF said: “Children’s health is a major concern for UNICEF.” She cited climate change and the haze disaster as some issues affecting children.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to climate change. It impacts the health, education, safety and well-being of the child,” she said. UNICEF, Gunilla continued, would thus continue to support Indonesia in disaster risk reduction and keeping children as safe as possible from unpredictable changes to the environment.

The minister, Sofyan, also expressed his concern over the high rate of dropping out of school. “The dropout rate in Indonesia is not only caused by economic problem, but also by poor school environments. The way teachers teach students often makes children not want to go to school,” said Sofyan. He pinpointed the curriculum used in most schools as one issue, and also bullying.

Besides Bappenas, this CPAP also involves other agencies including the Home Affairs Ministry, the Education and Culture Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Social Affairs Ministry, the Women and Child Protection Ministry, the Communication and Information Ministry, the National Demography and Family Planning Agency and the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). (bbn)(+)