Indonesian community efforts towards sustainability boosted by UNESCO prize

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© UNESCO/Miriam Tereick - Women stitching together the Wayang puppets made from recycled materials

The winner of the 2015 UNESCO-Japan prize was cited as a spur to growth in community learning on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Indonesia.

The winning Jayagiri Centre was held up as an example during a two-day event on ESD in Jakarta and Bandung Indonesia attended by government representatives, civil society and members of National Commissions from the Asia-Pacific region.

Opening the event, organized by UNESCO and the Indonesian Government on 30 and 31 March, the Indonesian Minister of Education, Dr Anies Baswedan, said: “This is the time to replicate and to share our successes with others.”

Professor Arief Rachman, Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, said: “Thanks to the Prize, community learning on ESD is getting bigger in Indonesia.”

Mixing traditional skills and business knowledge

Jayagiri Centre was awarded the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD in November 2015 for its “Eco-friendly entrepreneurship for youth and adults” programme. It aims to help form new entrepreneurs using and preserving local specialist skills and teaching competitiveness to improve the economy of the community.

The project includes vocational skills, such as handicrafts, fresh-water fish farming, growing of organic vegetables, bamboo weaving, compost making and wood carving using mostly recycled raw materials.

The event was held to share and raise the visibility of the good practices of Jayagiri Centre with a view to scaling up ESD action at local, national and regional level. The 130 participants came from 13 Indonesian Ministries, national NGOs, media and educational institutions, as well as from the UNESCO National Commissions of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Timor-Leste.

A national seminar on the first day highlighted good practices in Indonesia, like the Adiwiyata Green Schools initiative which presented its work through an exhibition

Acquiring new skills is key

On the second day, government representatives visited one of the 47 Jayagiri community learning centres in the Bandung district to witness the range of projects learners take part in to make their community environmentally, economically, socially and culturally sustainable.

Mr Djajeng Baskoro, founder and former Director of Jayagiri Centre, said:  “if learners only learn for the sake of learning, they will run away: They have to acquire life skills.” Community members can, for example, learn how to make and sell traditional “wayang” puppets with recycled material. Others learn how to work the puppets and organize local shows where they convey behaviour-changing messages about the environment or the treatment of women.

The local community learning centre in Narawita has also built a biodigester which turns compost into biogas for cooking for 25 families, and a machine that turns plastic waste into fuel for motorbikes. These machines are also reproduced and sold to other communities.

The UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD was established in 2014 to award outstanding efforts in the field of ESD. Funded by the government of Japan, it was awarded for the first time in 2015 with USD 150,000 for three laureates. The 2016 call for nominations is currently open for submissions until 30 April 2016.

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