Co-Founder & Chairman, Indonesian Youth on
Disaster Risk Reduction
THE INDONESIAN YOUTH ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (IYDRR) FORUM BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE IN 2015, AS A GROUP OF JAKARTA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES RECOGNISED THE NEED, AND THE OPPORTUNITY, TO INCREASE THE ALL-IMPORTANT ENGAGEMENT OF YOUTH THROUGHOUT DISASTER MANAGEMENT PRACTICES. IYDRR’S CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, FAJAR SHIDIQ, SPOKE TO THE AHA CENTRE ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE IN EXPANDING THIS STRATEGIC AND MODERN MOVEMENT.
“We all kept meeting at disaster management events– it was like ‘you again, you again,’–always the same people,” Fajar recalls of his participation in disaster management activities during his early university days. “In 2015 we started discussions about creating something more formal and united, and in late 2016 IYDRR was established.”
While still relatively new, the organisation has already begun to engage strongly with the wider national disaster management movement, and even dipped its toes into regional and international circles. However, Fajar highlights the importance of developing a strong presence locally, as the organisation continues to advance its presence within the Indonesian disaster management sector. Youth were traditionally more engaged in response efforts, as volunteers. However, with more recent inclusion in other disaster management aspects–such as policy development and decision-making–such youth groups starting to gain more opportunities to engage. Examples of this increase include the engagement of youth within the ASEAN-ERAT Induction Courses, with the AHA Centre recognising the importance of youth participation within One ASEAN, One Response efforts.
Fajar sees a variety of positive elements for increased youth engagement within overall disaster management processes. The range of backgrounds and skills offered by youth organisations, such as IYDRR, can be of great benefit for the disaster management sector. Members are studying, or hold degrees, from a wide range of study areas, all of which can be valuable within disaster management efforts. Such a context opens the door for organisations such as IYDRR to provide great value within its key working areas of capacity development, advocacy and community empowerment, and for the voice of youth to be commonplace within all aspects of disaster management. “This is what we are pushing for, slowly of course, but to have a stronger engagement in all aspects of disaster management. We want the youth to have a voice.”
While the organisation works with extremely limited funding and relies heavily on the passion and time provided by its more than 100 members, a range of achievements have already begun to appear. Fajar highlights the design of infographics–and ultimately the use of these tools after the 2018 Jakarta earthquake–as a key example of what was perhaps considered a small and unimportant activity holding great final value. “After the earthquake these infographics were being shared everywhere–people were contacting us and requesting we send them,” he recalls. It is such outcomes that IYDRR hopes to replicate and expand, with an aim to develop a range of tools to support disaster risk reduction and response for communities, particularly in urban areas. “When you look at the SDGs, it’s clear urban areas are high-risk” he comments. “This is an area that needs to be strengthened, and therefore we want to focus heavily on supporting such efforts.” In the era of technological advancement, coinciding with unprecedented growth in technological use, such efforts fit perfectly with the skills held by youth organisations such as IYDRR.
As the organisation becomes increasingly engaged within the national, regional, and even international disaster management field, Fajar hopes that the importance, value, and capacity of youth will also be increasingly recognised, accepted and used to advantage by all stakeholders within the sector. “If you provide space for youth, provide opportunity, they may do something that you never imagined possible.”
Written by : William Shea | Photo: AHA Centre, IYDRR
Disaster awareness and preparedness forms a key element within overall disaster management efforts, supporting significant decreases in severity of disaster impact on affected communities. While there is a vast array of science and knowledge behind awareness and preparedness, there remain many challenges in communicating such knowledge to a vast and diverse communities across the ASEAN region. Developing engaging, child and family-friendly tools for communicating disaster awareness and promoting preparedness is the defining element behind the creation of PREDIKT – the Preparedness for Disaster Toolkit – a unique and innovative toolkit designed by a group of young Indonesian change-makers. One of PREDIKT’s designers, Avianto “Anto” Amri, spoke to The Column about this innovative and interesting project.
The idea for PREDIKT came about due to the designer’s personal experiences of a lack of family-friendly information and tools for disaster awareness and preparedness in the home – particularly to support parents and their children on learning about disaster preparedness together. As many children are at home when disaster strikes, in-home learning forms a key element of overall disaster preparedness efforts, and empowers children and their families with the knowledge of what must be done should they face a disaster.
Initially, as part of his PhD studies, Anto designed a family disaster preparedness plan in the form of poster guidance cards that allowed children and their parents to learn essential steps for ensuring preparedness within their homes. Based on positive testing results, Anto teamed-up with Tasril “Iriel” Mulyadi (designer) and Wahyu “Billie” Minarto (child safety expert), to further develop and then submit
the toolkit to a Flood Resilience Innovation competition organised by the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Zurich Insurance – a competition in which their innovation took out first place. This was followed by the team proposing for, and being awarded a grant for the toolkit through the United States Government-sponsored Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future programme, and with the addition of another team member – Meliza “Liza” Rafdiana – PREDIKT hit the ground running.
PREDIKT itself is formed by a set of board games and physical learning materials that form a fun and hands-on way for children and their parents to learn about disaster preparedness at home. As the ASEAN region continues to modernise, many such tools have moved to online and electronic platforms – yet PREDIKT chose to focus on a more traditional, physical style. As stated by Anto, online platforms still face significant limitations within a rapidly developing ASEAN community.
“We wanted to create something offline because we know that there are still many places in Indonesia as well as in many ASEAN countries that do not have access to internet or even electricity.”
– Anto explains.
Here-in lies the inclusiveness and accessibility of the PREDIKT format. The team also aims to facilitate a fun and interactive atmosphere for the entire family, allowing children to engage with their parents and ask questions related to disaster preparedness.
The toolkit bases itself on five key elements, all of which add-up to form the reason for its attractiveness and functionality. PREDIKT has been developed to be easy to understand, using child-friendly wording and visual elements, and also aims to motivate children to discuss preparedness with their family. The toolkit always aims to remain affordable, alongside its offline status to ensure access for any family regardless of their situation. Finally, PREDIKT aims to be expandable, allowing it to be further developed to encompass a range of other relevant elements related to disaster hazards and preparedness functions. This expansion forms a key facet of PREDIKT’s plans for the near future. Currently focusing on 5 specific disaster hazards, the team is in the process of expanding the toolkit to cover a wider range of disaster content. Alongside this, they are also working
institutions to increase the toolkit’s inclusivity – with particular focus to children with visual impairments or other disabilities. Not disregarding the importance of online presence, PREDIKT also plans to focus towards building and strengthening their website as an online hub for child-friendly disaster preparedness information sharing.
As for the response, so far PREDIKT has received great praise – particularly from users themselves. “We continue to be amazed with the reactions of parents who have played PREDIKT”, says Anto. He recalls a mother who was particularly excited by the toolkit’s ability to allow her children to learn as they play. “She was excited that finally her children would take their eyes off their gadgets to engage with her in learning and games”. “It’s like taking a course on disaster preparedness, minus all the boring parts” says Anto as he quotes another response from a happy mother. The variety of positive responses continue to display the value in the engagement of children, as well as their desire to ask questions and learn more. These responses evidence the importance and aims of PREDIKT itself, as concluded by Anto when he stated that “PREDIKT really does fill the gap for children to learn, together with their parents, about disaster preparedness in a fun and interactive way”.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan | Photo : AHA Centre, PREDIKT