A sea of Scouts
14 August, 7h30 am, the sun is warming the sprawling campsite where President Widodo, several ministers and 2000 VIP guests, all dressed in their brown and beige uniforms, are patiently waiting. I had heard about the magnitude of the reach of the Scouts movement, a.k.a. Gerakan Pramuka, in Indonesia, but seeing 25000 scouts get ready to kick off their 10th National Jamboree really hit it home. Four full days and 48 sessions on U-report and Child’s Rights lie ahead of us.
It did not take long to get evidence of the impact U-report already has in Indonesia. Right off the bat, President Joko Widodo, as the Head of Pramuka, asked his 25,000 fellow scouts to use social media responsibly and to stop bullying on and off the net. Those of you who have been following U-report activities globally know that bullying has been part of a recent global poll.
This Jamboree also marks the beginning of the UNICEF–Pramuka adventure. The partnership will capitalise on the common goals the two organisations have and strengthen the capacities of Pramuka on child rights, WASH, nutrition and child protection. It marks the beginning of the scale up of U-report in Indonesia. The goal is to reach 100,000 scouts by mid-2017.
Selfies selfie selfie!
Clap clap clap … clap clap clap … clap clap clap clap! Jambore Jambore Jambore!60 girls open the training session on U-report clapping their hands and shouting. They pay close attention to the message they are getting. They start understanding the U-report is a tool “to make adults listen”. They take out their smartphones and sign up through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. Those who do not have phones with them take notes diligently and pledge that they will sign up as soon as their phone has battery again.
But there is a twinkle in their eyes when they see the foreigners in the UNICEF tent. A tall Spanish photographer, a beautiful Mongolian lady and a blonde Belgian… what an attraction. So we used this opportunity to become local social media stars and exchanged selfies and signatures for U-report sign ups. Those who took part in the trainings not only got U-report goodies and stamps in their booklets for completing the activities, they got exclusive selfie access to the U-report foreigners. One selfie at a time the U-report community is growing.
Same same, but different
Working with the Scouts at this particular event showed how this partnership will reach youth all over the country. It is evident in the way they dress as all the uniforms have a local design element. It is apparent in the entrance gates to their camp sites, which all promote aspects of local architecture and landscapes. Despite the differences, these kids all share clear common values and a drive for a future that is respecting of them. I found it thrilling to see that at one such event not only do we reach thousands of girls and boys, but we reach them nationwide and across all social divides. U-report will give them a platform to unite and make their voices heard as one.
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