By Kinanti Pinta Karana

Things were bustling at the Headquarters of Indonesia’s Pramuka (Scouts) in Jakarta ahead of a much-anticipated event last week: The signing of a partnership agreement between the Pramuka and UNICEF Indonesia.

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The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Pramuka Chairman Adhyaksa Dault and UNICEF Indonesia Representative Gunilla Olsson on 26 November 2015, paves the way for a collaboration to strengthen the implementation of children’s rights in Indonesia.

Bapak Adhyaksa said he had been looking forward to the MOU signing. “Pramuka will use the collaboration with UNICEF to promote the protection of children and their right to express themselves.”

“We aim to collaborate with Pramuka in areas such as healthy lifestyles, child protection, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and emergency preparedness among others, which are priorities of our new country programme starting in 2016,” Ibu Gunilla said at the event.

The youth engagement platform U-Report will serve as an umbrella to engage Indonesia’s Scouts on these topics and other issues that are of importance for children and young people in Indonesia.

U-Report Indonesia has been established on Twitter and already has more than 40,000 active subscribers. “Facilitating the engagement of children and young people in the development of the country is a priority for UNICEF,” Ibu Gunilla said. “U-Report provides them with an opportunity to make their voices heard. Together with Pramuka we hope to increase the number of U-Reporters massively.”

The signing ceremony was followed by a live radio talk show broadcast on public Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) with Bapak Adhyaksa, UNICEF Special Adviser Purwanta Iskandar and Rosalita Niken Widiastuti, the Director of RRI.

“UNICEF believes that as the largest youth organization in Indonesia, Pramuka will be a great partner. I hope that together we can raise more awareness and strengthen people’s understanding on a great range of topics including the importance of early childhood education,” Bapak Purwanta said.

Ibu Niken highlighted the role of the media in helping people better understand the meaning of children’s rights.

“The mass media is a powerful tool to support the efforts for better protection of children and Radio Republik Indonesia is ready to help spread the message to the public with our programmes,” Ibu Niken said.

“There are many problems such as violence against children or drug abuse among youths Pramuka is really concerned about. This MOU is the bridge that connects our heart with UNICEF to help address and ultimately solve those problems,” Bapak Adhyaksa said.

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