During 2008 UNICEF Nias occasionally sends news on its activities in Nias to Nias Online. To get a more comprehensive information about UNICEF programs and activities in Nias, Nias Online sent a number of interview questions to Mr. Raoul de Torcy, Chief CFO UNICEF Nias. The following is the Mr de Torcy’s response.

When did UNICEF start working for Nias children?

UNICEF in Nias started the mission in the couple days aftermath of earthquake in 2005. UNICEF Nias under the management of UNICEF Banda Aceh onto response of Tsunami and earthquake has played a key role in delivering humanitarian assistance to women and children in Nias Island.

To ensure that every child affected by natural disasters (tsunami and earthquakes) has access to a primary education, basic health, sanitation and protection of traumas, more than hundreds emergency tents were installed by UNICEF within weeks in Nias. This rapidly restarted school, health, clean water/sanitation and child protection activities, helping to bring about some normalcy to the lives of children.

What are the main problems faced by Nias children and UNICEF programs to overcome these problems?

In terms of social conditions, Nias and Nias Selatan District has two highest poverty levels and lowest literacy rates in North Sumatera, furthermore on the evening of 28 March 2005, severe earthquakes occurred off the west coast of Sumatra Island, affecting the Nias and Simeulue Island. The March earthquake killed almost 1,000 people and left about 10 percent of the population homeless (71,000 people). Infrastructure and public buildings suffered widespread damage and destruction with the total repair bill estimated at US$ 392 million, an amount larger than the total GDP of the entire island. Given situation impacting major constraints related to Nias Children, not only on their school/education, health, nor economic facilities but also onto their quality of life and welfare.

UNICEF mission and goal is to ensure the sustainability of development and live improvement of mothers and children in good quality of life in Nias islands. Quick response we made to bring about some normalcy to the life of children; built 75 temporary schools in collaboration with IOM, about 35,000 school kits been distributed to whole islands and accompanied with the improvement of quality of its educations system, more than 188.500 impregnated nets, more than a thousands immunization, microscopic training been distributed and held to prevent communities from malaria and other communicable disease, provided clean water for IDPs and working on vulnerable children from trauma post earthquake.

To step forward on achieving our mission, we are implementing program through 4 sections;

  • Education; including in this program section is 120 schools construction to be built in Nias Island.
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Child Protection

And our main implementing partner is government of Nias and Nias Selatan District.

In addition to building infrastructures, does UNICEF have programs dealing with child’s abuse, exploitation, etc?

Yes, through Child Protection section we are channelling our concern on children related issues to be approached together with partners and its stakeholder.

Child Protection program in Nias was divided into 3 sub-unit based on Annual Work Plan (AWP) 2007: (1). Abuse & Exploitation, (2). Community Development including Birth Registration, (3). Social Welfare Development.

Abuse & Exploitation. The highlight activities are raising awareness on child abuse and exploitation, and plan of action on child protection, guideline on restorative justice, policy guidelines integrated service centre for victim, child abuse.

These activities were implemented through Bagian Sosial Nias, Dinas KB/PP and CC Pusaka Indonesia as implementation Partner (IP). Police Department, Attorney district, high district, Hospital Gunung Sitoli and ILO (UN agency who has work for child labour issues in north Sumatra) are the other partner for CP UNICEF Nias on implemented program of abuse and exploitation in Nias.

Since 2007 the Child protection section Nias successes conducted:

  1. Training on child abuse and exploitation for 38 paralegal (polices, judges and attorney) in district level for Nias and Nias Selatan.
  2. Workshop on worst form of child labour for 45 local contractor and development agency in Nias and Nias Selatan.
  3. Seminar-Workshop on child friendly court as a part of Diversion and Restorative program. It was about 136 police, judges, attorney, correction institution, lawyer, and paralegal was attended in this seminar-workshop for provincial level.
  4. Support given for children in contact with law. The legal and non legal support were providing together with drop in centre manage by CC Pusaka Gunung Sitoli, Nias.
  5. Workshop Standard operational procedure for PPT. 30 participants from government agency, hospital and NGO’s participated.
  6. Seminar-Workshop Integrated service centre (PPT) for women and children victims’ abuse and exploitation. 50 participants from government, hospital, NGO’s religious and community leader participated from Nias and Nias Selatan district.
  7. Training for service provider of integrated service centre (PPT) for women and children victims’ abuse and exploitation.

Some of the Children Protection milestones are:

  • Formerly we have child centres in both district within the island to approach vulnerable children
  • Facilitating drop in centre in collaboration with Pusaka foundation
  • Child Protection secretariat
  • Supporting children desk (RPK) in police department
  • Integrated Service Centre in hospital

For above milestones mentioned, we are putting into strategy called the child protection referral system in Nias, which it will correctly refer vulnerable children into well system/treatment.

What are the main outcomes of UNICEF’s presence in Nias for children?

As UNICEF mission and goal is to ensure the sustainability of development and live improvement of mothers and children in good quality of life in Nias islands, we implement integrated program through 4 sections which aiming of mission of goal achievement.

With our presence we are constructing and furnishing 120 schools that are benefiting about 30.000 children to have good access in basic education, with water, sanitation facilities and hygiene promotions that are benefiting more than 15.000 of Nias Island population and about 95% of population are covered by Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health, also Nias vulnerable children are well referred to well system/treatment.

What are measures you take to ensure that UNICEF physical and also intangible assets you have built in Nias have long lasting effect?

In terms of infrastructure assets we follow the code of conduct of UNICEF and Indonesian construction’s standard, we believe that it will long lasting and stand still to earthquake. The strength of the constructions quality is estimated to be last for about 30 years old. Above of all the routine and well maintenance of the infrastructure would be the key of its long lasting effect. It’s involved all stakeholders from government to community level.

It’s applied also for intangible assets. The primary interventions including technical assistances on health, WES, education and child protection is done by UNICEF not only to implement the program but also to improve the capacity of partners (government and community) in managing program. The independency of partners and sustainability of programs would be the measurement and level of success of the achievement.

When do you think the ’emergency’ situation of Nias children end?

Emergency situation is a sudden unforeseen crisis (usually involving danger) that requires immediate action. Simply when there is no need immediate action to be taken and when all systems and rights are well applied/in place including its supporting components then the emergency status is end.

What are your recommendations to local governments in both regencies (Nias and Nias Selatan) for improving the quality of life of Nias children?

The capacity to run the governance would be the key of sustainable development. Enabling environment of the Nias children’s quality of life will be optimistically achieved with good level of capacity of government in managing program and system.

And we are encouraging both governments to implement capacity building activities through all levels and sectors to reach that level. To be noted that the nuance of government’s attention which is more focused on the infrastructure matter should be in balance with the socio-system and structure which are also playing important roles on sustainable development.

In implementing your programs in Nias, how would you rate local governments support and cooperation?

As government is the main implementing partners of UNICEF, we have full support from the government to implement the programs, from national to village level.

What are your sweet and bad memories while working in Nias?

Achievement of program’s objectives and good impact to community would be the most of self satisfaction.

(brk*)

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