Count Young People as Partners in Humanitarian Agenda!

Juan, 16, is from East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia, where 11% of people are classified as poor. Juan and his friends advocate on environment and climate change issues and raise awareness on the importance of behaviour change to protect his community for future generations. Juan is one of the Plan International youth delegates who will be attending the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey 23-24 May 2016. "I am so excited and proud to participate in this important event with other young people from around the world. I am really looking forward to seeing how the young people like myself will shape the agenda, how the leaders will listen to what we say, and learn how young people are involved in humanitarian action around the world."I am Juan, 16 year old boy from East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia, where 11% of people classified as poor in Indonesia lived in 2015.

Its silent beauty comprises of beautiful mountains, hills, green forest, savanna, waterfalls, and many more. The living creatures like birds of all colour, deer, and other wild animals are fabulous but their populations are decreasing since many people are hunting them. I really want to tell the hunters to stop doing this and it has made me want to be a vegetarian. I love the beauty of my nature here. My friends and I go to the hills, swim in the waterfall or play football near my house.

Migrant child labour and drought
My friends are young people from diverse background. Some of them have been dropped out of school due to economic problem. Forced migration as child labour in other islands is a big problem, preventing children from enjoying their right to education.

A friend of mine 17 years old, he migrated to Kalimantan Island and works for a palm oil company. When I spoke to him on Facebook he missed his friends and was sad and crying when texting with me. That made me sad. He shouldn’t be in that situation.

Aside from drop out students and youth migration, another big issue affecting children and young people in my province is malnutrition. In 2015, 11 children under five years died when we were faced with a season of extreme drought. The majority of the people here are farmers, living primarily on corn and cassava grown on small plots of land. During the extreme drought, the food and water supply run out. In some areas, food is prioritised for the father over children and mothers, so the people most affected by hunger are children and women. Some children living in the most rural villages are often forces to carry water to school. Some are not even able to attend classes as they help their parents look for a supply of water.

Flooding. Erosion. Youth action.

The drought season is scary for us, we are also scared by the heavy rainy season. During the rainy season, the rivers overflow and cause erosion, like in the village where I live with my grandmother which is surrounded by hills. Last year, the erosion of the river banks was so bad that it destroyed mine and my neighbours’ houses. Since the erosion always happens every year, the youth and the local government finally agreed to work together in building bronjong, a dike along the edge of the hills and the river to prevent the erosion in the future. Since it requires many volunteers, I mobilized the youth in my village to take part. I was really happy to get the enthusiasm of my friends to work together for this program. I think it is important to engage the youth for any program run and funded by the government. With the support of young people, the programme was completed quicker and more efficiently.

Support young people to join government programmes is an entry point where young people can bring real contributions for the community. There are more young people in the world than ever before. We have the potentials and energy to take part in development. My friends in the city use technology and social media to contribute to society. Even though I am living in a more rural village, away from more developed infrastructure, I am able to contribute to my community and share this action with my friends

In Indonesia, children and young people can be active citizens through the existence of the children forum – a space for children participation in development, and Karang Taruna, a youth platform that has role to take a part in the community development. Unfortunately, due to the traditional views of some local leaders, we are not always listened to. However, it is important to have this “formal” place for children and young people to exercise our right to participate as citizens and in some areas the attitudes of local leaders are changing.

My friends and I have been promoting the issues of environment and climate change through the local radio in my community. We raised awareness on how to change our behaviour become more-friendly environment such as managing the trash, stop cutting trees, and hunting animals in the forest. I am very concerned about the destruction of nature where the living creatures lives. I want today’s young people, as the future generation, to play an important role for saving our nature. I want to become a veterinarian.

Count us as your partners!
The World Humanitarian Summit will take place in Turkey on the 23rd and 24th May, where a new agenda of humanity will be discussed by the world leaders, representatives of civil society, and young people from around the world.
I am so excited and proud to participate in this important event with other young people from around the world. I am really looking forward to seeing how the young people like myself will shape the agenda, how the leaders will listen to what we say, and learn how young people are involved in humanitarian action around the world.

I hope governments and organisations around the world will commit their support to the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action and:

1. Strengthen the role of young people to take action at a community level to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.

2. Ensure a platform is available to allow young people and leaders to meaningfully work together to implement the new humanitarian agenda globally and with local communities.

3. Work together to protect nature.

So governments, count us as your partners!

Juan, Indonesia

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