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Wahana Visi's Young Ambassadors Dare to Be Outspoken

"Fourteen years old?" This is a doubt expression of most participants attending Open Government Partnership Asia Pacific Regional Conference when they know the age of Fadhil Marta, representative of Children Forum from West Sumatera.

Fadhil along with six other children attend international development forum in Bali, 6-7 Mei 2014. They are selected for their active participation in Children Forum in Padang, Pontianak, and Jakarta. The seven participants representing Wahana Visi are the youngest delegation in the discussion attended by world leaders.

The activity that is held by President's Work Unit in Development Monitoring and Controlling (UKP4) brings a theme of government openness in development in Asia and Pacific. This is the first held activity.

Joining with several young ambassadors and change agents from Asia Pacific countries, Fadhil and his colleagues learn openness concept in government. Some amazing and astounding examples come from Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, where community openness access to government determines the transparent, accountable, and effective development.

"If Bandung can do, why cannot Jakarta do? Is free Internet useful to young children?" asks Rimayani, member of Children Forum from East Jakarta, after hearing presentation on Bandung's new development agenda by Ridwan Kamil, Mayor of Bandung city, capital of West Java province.

Bandung city leaders are aware of the city domination by people aged below 40 years. So the government develops a way of communication that enable their opinion be heard and responded quickly. The city government has created Twitter account for all government offices and 22 applications that can be accessed freely. Through these facilities, Bandung people can report their daily problems quickly that will get government's response in three days. The government has established 5,000 hotspots to facilitate Bandung people to communicate easily.

"This free Internet access has made people convenience and fortunately there is no misuse report. Students mention in Twitter, expressing thanks for the lower spending on Internet so that they can finish their thesis well," says Ridwan Kamil, answering Rimayani's question.

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Rimayani and Fajar (first and second from left) represent the voice of children and youth in the Open Government Partnership 2014 at Nusa Dua, Bali. They pose together with Ridwan Kamil and speakers after attending the session.

For two days, the future young leaders learn about transparent, clean, and effective development. They are inspired by Korean experience which has various applications to support public transparency. Other inspiration comes from Mongolian government which provides machine for people to put suggestion and criticism like Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in public area.

By understanding development effort in the modern era that is supported by advanced technology, hopefully children can take lessons that can be shared to other children in their respective Children Forum.

Wahana Visi establishes Children Forum to accommodate children voice and aspiration. This forum is a place for the fulfillment of children participation rights. Since 2006, Wahana Visi has facilitated the establishment of 437 Children Forum in 18 cities in Indonesia.

We can now see the fruits of the Children Forum presence. Children Forum in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, is able to send a representative in a development plan meeting who can voice aspiration of children from West Kalimantan.

"We have children researcher program. We know the government cannot reach all villages in West Kalimantan. We want to help government by doing survey on children needs in some area to screen children opinion that needs to be followed up. We will present this research to local government development agency after Idul Fitri day", says Agus Satriandi, 18, chairman of Loving Khatulistiwa Children Forum in West Kalimantan.

In Cilincing, North Jakarta, Cilincing Children Forum is able to submit a proposal to local government and gets fund to renovate city park. They paint 100 used cans and make use them as garbage cans.

"We know that the face of our city is dirty. Adult people occupy playing park that should be used for children to play. Garbage scatters everywhere. We try to improve the condition and fortunately we get support from the sub district office", says Fajar Pratama, 19, former member of Cilincing Children Forum.

Change starts from each person since the early age. It is a proud to see children have a courage to speak in an international forum.

Written/photos by Shintya Kurniawan, Media Relations Officer; World Vision Indonesia

Translated by Bartolomeus Marsudiharjo, Field Communications Officer, World Vision Indonesia

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Capacity4dev Team
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14 July 2014

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