August 1, 2017 marks the opening of the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme. I can say that the wait is over, it is really here. I am really here!
I am honored to represent the Philippines and ecstatic to be part of this years’ AYVP focusing on the Development of ASEAN Youth DRR Leaders through Volunteerism and Civic Engagement.
This is my first time in Indonesia, well, actually, this is my first time traveling abroad. So I am really putting my bet that this event will really be unforgettable.
To start with, we were greeted with a very unique taste of breakfast at Tune Hotel in Bandung, Indonesia. We are going to stay at Tune Hotel from 1-26 of August, 2017. Indonesian cuisine were really into spicy ingredients, but I do not have any problem on it at all. In fact, I like the food here.
Every day from Weeks 1 and 4, we are going to walk from Tune Hotel to Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) for about 5 – 10 minutes as ITB is the venue of our training sessions. We were welcomed by the AYVP Organizers, listened and interacted with the guests, and expectation setting talk.
The importance of having a one ASEAN Community was tackled during the sessions, the vision of the ASEAN Safe School Initiative as well and the Challenges to Actions on Disaster Risk Reduction and Opportunities for Resilience Building. The speakers were familiar on the context of their presentation. The sessions were interactive as it encourage maximum participation from the audience. We were also able to have a Consultation on the different aspects of our proposed projects and it was helpful. The organizing team also prepared a Welcome Dinner for us and we have performed our “Haka” (Cheers.)
On the next day, we tackled about the roles and responsibilities of a volunteer. I learnt that there are two types of volunteers, the Formal volunteers who contribute an unpaid time to any activities of a formal organization and the Informal volunteers who have a wide range of different kinds of mutual help. I was also reminded that in any way, volunteers should always increase preparedness and decrease vulnerability. We also had a workshop for Ethics, Code of Conduct and Accountability in volunteering.
Psychological First Aid was also discussed and it was a very interesting topic. I was able to realize a lot about the importance of Mental Health and the principles of psychological healing. Along with those, Safety and Security Protocols for Disaster response was also discussed.
I was also able to know about the existing Humanitarian Response Team for ASEAN Member States which is the AHA Center. Topics about Societal Leadership and responsible use of social media was also iterated. We were also able to discuss the following modules, (1) Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Building, (2) Disaster Risk Reduction and Cross Cutting Issues, (3) ASEAN Region and Local DRRM Context, (4) Safer School and Disaster Education, (5) Earthquake Hazard and Risk Assessment, (6) Gender and Vulnerable Groups, (7) First Aid, Mental Health and Psycho Social Support and, (8) Religious Beliefs and Disaster.
It was an informative and interactive series of lectures. Volunteers are now fueled with proper knowledge about the challenges and the needs of being a volunteer.
Ending the first week, the fifty youth DRR Leaders across ASEAN countries had a lecture right above a fault line in Lembang, Indonesia, with a mind empowered with understanding regarding the concepts of Disaster Risk Reduction and with a stirred up spirit of leadership to encourage preparedness and strengthen resiliency among communities.
Lastly, we were able to finish all modules for discussion which are (9) Earthquake Hazard and Risk Assessment, (10) Basic Disaster Preparedness and Response (Do’s and Don’ts), (11) Introduction to Community Risk Assessment. Also, our group “Team Indonesia” had performed a traditional dance which is called “Likokpulo”” for the Cultural Exchange program.
After a series of classroom discussion with powerhouse speakers, I think we are now equipped to immerse ourselves in the community and share with them what we have learnt. The second week officially starts the Community Activity. But before conducting any community interaction, we secured first that we are familiar with the target community. We visited Desa Lembang and had a discussion with the leaders and introduces ourselves. This was also done in Cigadung Village wherein heads of the community welcomed us and served us a very delightful dinner. I swear, the traditional fried chicken and rice in Cigadung is heaven.
RW 14 in Cigadung Village, Bandung, Indonesia was my assigned community. We went there and had our transect walk to familiarize ourselves with the place. RW 14 is consists of RT 1, RT 2, RT 3, RT 4, RT 5, and RT 6 and it is a very congested community. The roads were narrow and very steep and there is not enough open space for evacuation.
Upon giving us the required data to gather on the community, we were able to consolidate the approach that we need to use to interact with the community. We were able to create a structural questionnaire and have done a face to face interview to sixty one households consisting of working individuals, elders, youth and children. It was quite easy to conduct an interview even though I do not know how to speak Bahasa Indonesia because we were accompanied by some representatives from the youth organization. At the end, we have gathered all necessary data or consolidation of an effective disaster management on the village.
We were able to conduct the mapping of the evacuation route in the community. We have secured all possible routes for the evacuation, temporary assembly areas and risks on the road. The output was a map of the village with the proposed evacuation sites.
We were also tasked to perform an Earthquake Drill in SDN Cigadung. We were able to teach fifth grade students who were overwhelmed with excitement. The DRR Leaders have planned the simulation of the Earthquake Drill, but before that, we introduced the ASEAN Community to them as wells as teach them emergency precautions when a disaster happen. The Earthquake Drill was a success.
On the start of Week 3, we, the volunteers finalized the Earthquake Evacuation Simulation for our assigned communities and was able to present an overall report to the group. We explained all particular disasters that could happen on the community, the history and data from disasters that had happened before, the proposed community planning, data output from the transect walk and face to face interview, and the proposed evacuation map and the route.
Later, there was a discussion about Table Top Exercise and we were able to witness it in Institut Teknologi Bandung together with honorable stakeholders of the community. We payed close attention to the Table Top Exercise and the actions of the stakeholders. The five major sectors of a Table Top Exercise are the (1) Command Center, (2) Social and Refugee Sector, (3) Search and Rescue and Evacuation Sector, (4) Infrastructure and Facilities Sector, and the (5) Medical Sector. These sectors were reviewed and the volunteers were given a scenario to apply the Table Top Exercise. The fifty DRR leaders were divided into five sectors to conduct the exercise. It was an informative and participative experience and I am really overwhelmed with the learnings that I am taking.
The head of the BPBD also demonstrated the proper rescue of survivors on a disaster and we had an Earthquake Drill Simulation in preparation for the upcoming community activity.
In the community, the Cigadung Village volunteers painted a wall in the community highlighting Disaster Risk Reduction. The mural painting aims to spark awareness about disaster preparedness in the community as well as leave a mark of the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme 2017 in them.
After the final checking of the evacuation route, the Cugadung RW 14 Team created all the necessary evacuation route signs and assembly point placards. The Team then posted the announcement posters within the community as well as the evacuation route signs. In preparation for the 72nd celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day, the team attended the Tasyakuran at the Masjid for thanksgiving and prayer. The team also had the traditional food for dinner which is superb. This is also the first time for the team to stay overnight in the community.
The Cigadung RW 14 DRR Leaders joined the parade wearing their respective national attires in celebration of the Independence Day. The leaders also helped the youth organization of RW 14 on the games for the kids in the community. The volunteers then finalized the presentation of the earthquake disaster simulation.
Then, Cigadung Team observed the earthquake disaster simulation in Lembang and documented the simulation. The team also gathered the heads of the community in Cigadung for the final briefing and deliberation of tasks to do on the simulation proper. The volunteers presented the evacuation route map, the scenarios on the community and the contributors on the conduct of the simulation. The community briefing also tackled the detailed roles of each RT heads, as well as the acting victims and volunteers in Cigadung RW 14.
This time I can say that I had been very attached to our target community, Cigadung Village. We are now bound to our last activity in the stint in the community and I am feeling mixture of excitement, sadness and longing, fulfilment, proud and everything in between. I know for sure that I will miss this community.
But before I forget, Indonesia succumb my tongue with its delightful treats. Yum!
August 20, 2017 is the conduct of the Earthquake Disaster Simulation in Cigadung Village. The volunteers took their post and the community did their best to participate on the simulation. Fire and Landslide scenarios were made and community residents also portrayed as victims. The heads of each RT also portrayed their role in data gathering and securing that all residents were transferred to the safe zone and/or final evacuation area. There are some lapses on the simulation due to lack of communication and facilities to use but nevertheless, the earthquake disaster simulation in Cigadung Village was a success.
After the Community Activity, we are now to our last week in AYVP. We had a discussion on how to create a good and catchy slide presentation for our pitch and we were also able to listen to previous AYVP alumni about their projects, the implementation that had happened, the struggles along the way and their learnings a swell. We were really inspired by them.
On the day of our Pitch Presentation, all of the volunteers prepared well for their pitch. After a tensive afternoon, I am really grateful that my pitch got selected to proceed to the final stage of selection which is the submission of the entire proposal. Jude, also from the Philippines, and I will work together for the implementation of the project.
We were also able to showcase our talents in video making. Everyone put an effort on the video presentations and all works turned out to be good. My team, Indonesia, won as best video in Cigadung, Team Thailand in Lembang and special appreciation for Team Vietnam. All the videos recap everything that we did in AYVP2017 and it gave us mixed emotions while watching. #Feeels
The volunteers also practiced for the cultural performance and had a lot of fun. My team will perform the traditional dance of Bali which is called “Papua” for the Closing Ceremony. We also learned how to dance Saman and Poco Poco. It was nice to be introduced to different kinds of traditional dances of Indonesia and I feel really overwhelmed to know a lot about their culture. I wish we still have a lot of time to learn more about Indonesia.
I am grateful that I was part of this meaningful program and I will surely remember everything that I have learned. I will always treasure the bond and friendship that was founded in Bandung. I was able to learn Bahasa and I was able to appreciate more the customs and culture of Indonesia. Though we, are now seas apart, I am confident that the 50 young souls that was nurtured with passion for volunteerism and community engagement will always be connected because of our similar desiring spirits to make a change on the world that we live in, because then again, We are One. #SatuASEAN
Thank you so much ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme 2017, University of Kebangsaan Malaysia, Institut Teknologi Bandung, USAID, ASEAN Secretariat, and the rest of the sponsors and team including the Facilitators, Speakers, Community Leaders, etc. for making this unforgettable experience possible. Thank you as well USAID ASEAN for awarding me as Social Media Ambassador. My old soul was very happy. Again, we appreciate you. Terima Kasih banyak banyak!
Of course, I wouldn’t miss this chance to shout out the clingiest team and the most amazing support system, Team Indonesia. My AYVP 2017 experience wouldn’t be that good if it weren’t by you. Thank you for matching my crazy, Pocut from Indonesia, Polin form Cambodia, Janice from Malaysia, Aung Pao from Laos, and our facilitator Renza. Love you guys! Always.
(Credits to Wichuta, Janice and Ibrahim for some of the photos.)