Testimonial: Volunteer’s review on PAUD & Posyandu Participatory Gathering Event

We are two students, Martina and Veronika, from the master degree programme International Social Works and Humanitarian Assistance at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. We came to Indonesia in order to do our internship and volunteering for IBU Foundation. Only a few days after our arrival wegot an opportunity to becomea part of the cultural event Jambore PAUD&Posyandu held on 25th May, 2013 in Sukanagara town.

The event organized by IBU Foundation with a partner organization AWO International and subdistrict government support was held on a spacy football pitch in Sukanagara. The purpose of the meeting was, as stated by a project manager of an Early Childhood Development programme (ECD) at IBU Foundation, to increase community capacity to monitor the progress of an Early Childhood Development programme (PAUD, Posyandu, BKB) and to share lessons learned.

Even though the targeted groups of IBU Foundation are 4 remote villages in Sukanagara subdistrict and 4 remote villages in Pagelaran subdistrict, there were extra 6 non-targeted villages participating and sharing their lessons as well, altogether 14 villages.

All work, activities and attention of IBU staff and other stakeholders at the time of our arrival were directed to this Jambore event and its organization. Even despite the language barrier one could perceive by all senses that everybody had been doing their best to manage all their tasks on time. One day before the event the stage was built and other logistic issues had to be solved, a heavy rain had surprised the men in action, but it did not seem to be an obstacle to them, as they seemed to enjoy this logistic preparation like little boys. A member of IBU Foundation surprisinglytalked about this as one of his best moments of the event. At night the last administration had been finished. We were nearly getting nervous whether everything would be ready on time, but our worries were worthless, because IBU members’ behaviour and calmness signified that everything was under control.The result was seen straight in the morning. All organizers took their places and the field was continually being filled by the women wearing traditional and colourfull dresses and scarfs, some of the outfits identified the women’s belonging to the group, such as PKK or Posyandu or PAUD cadre groups. What a great experience it was to watch all these women decorating their stands by the traditional decorations, frills, flowers, pictures and the samples of their creative teaching material in order to show the others what great jobs they had been doing. Besides that, one could see a little number of men around supporting the “ibu ibu” day mostly by helping with the stands. Every moment and every look was a pleasure for our sight. The place was shining by colors and by enthusiastic women. A project manager at IBU Foundation enjoyed seeing all the cadres and community leaders´spirit and performances on their exhibition. She commented: “seeing they were trying their best with nice decoration, bringing many things and put it there and their serious expressions while doing their preparation really fascinated me.”

Once walking around the place and admiring the women’s creativity, two fantastic and cheerful commentators were already presenting the agenda to the participants and the audience. First people were coming on the stage to introduce the event, a head of the Sukanagara sub district, later also joining dancing with women, and a representative of Posyandu Working Group. To our surprise we were also invited on the stage to introduce ourselves and share our impressions about the event with the present audience. A high number of chairs prepared for the participants seemed impossible to be filled at the beginning; eventually there was hardly a free place to be found. The Jambore event absorbed more than 500 people!

These moments of joy were supplemented by fulfilling the tasks by the cadres. The objective of the task was a presentation of each village about positive or even negative things they liked about the work in the remaining villages by visiting the individual stands and seeing the exhibitions. This was supposed to be done in 60 minutes, other 15 minutes were allowed for the summary to be presented by appointed brave cadres-presenters! In fact it took 30 minutes because of an unplanned political campaign.

7 minutes maximum for presenting the information and ideas the cadres gained from the other villages and introducing their action plan about their own improvements they can make in their village should not be exceeded. All presentation shad been evaluated by a committee, which, according to a project manager, worked well as planned.

After the presentations and lunch break another part of the event program started. All participants prepared short dance performances and everybody, including us, were eager to see the dance competition. We could see a typical traditional dancing or a traditional style combined with some modern elements, some performances included singing, playing the musical instruments or scenes with a Posyandu theme. Some groups had chosen to wear traditional dresses, some of them preferred a sporty style.Various creative combinations were used, some of them were really impressive.

All IBU Foundation members highlighted those moments as one of the best ones. After the event, we could hear emotional statements from such as “I think the best moment was when the cadres were dancing…” or “seeing the cadres´ creative dance from all 14 villages, especially those who danced with rich traditional movements, the arrangement of dancing, and the song/yell-yell they originally created, made me want to cry with happiness.”

Honestly, we had to agree with all those expressions, even it was a new experience for us. Shortly, we had an opportunity to see a greatness of enthusiasm, diligence and creativity, which overcame the nervousness, shyness and other possible fears. Besides seeing all the beautiful costumes, traditional and other kinds of dances and activities mentioned above, we were wondering about the background of the activity and notional objectives. Apart from the obvious intention to entertain the audience, there were also other surprising facts behind it. A dancing competition had other intended effects, such as motivation or strengthening theparticipants´ creativity. For instance, the motivation was ensured by mutual competition and from psychological point of view, the dance was helpful for the creativity development, the dancing and the body movements stimulate the brain and opens up a drawer with creativity. To summarize in a few, but adequate words – it was a notable, remarkable, enriching, and informative experience.

Besides the possibility of watching the fascinating performances, there was also a talk show held in between. It was formed by the representatives of the following institutions: Forum Komunikasi Kader Posyandu, Pemberdayaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga (PKK), Badan Keluarga Berencana dan Pemberdayaan Perempuan (BKBPP) and The Health Department; facilitated by IBU Foundation’ secretary. This was not as exciting as the dancing competition, but to a large extent it was due to the language barrier too. However, we later found out that the expected debated questions were about the event review, specific needs and action plans, while in fact just the review opinions about the cadres´ effort and performances were discussed. After that the topic changed and in general it was about the future without IBU Foundation interference. More or less, as it commonly goes in the talk shows, the answers from those institutions representatives were rather confused, very poor and not clear and, unfortunately,the most important issues such as the action plans were not discussed.

At the end of the event the best participants were awarded. When we saw an amount of the trophies, it nearly seemed that every competitor would get one. Nevertheless, during the winner announcement time, one could feel some excitement in the air. At the end, we could enjoy a moment of ceremoniousness and we had been honored to present the awards to some of the winners as well.

It was nice to see that throughout the event children could use the local musical roundabout or buy balloons, candies or fruits. But on the other hand it was not nice to see how the place was slowly being covered by a large amount of trash. The nature does not deserve that. People should realize they are responsible for their environment and the trash they produce.

Let´s have a closer look at the purpose of the meeting and what improvement should this kind of event bring to the community. According to the IBU Foundation staff, the coordinators of Jambore, the event should bring an improvement in the Early Childhood Development Program. The purpose was to share the experience and results of the PAUD and Posyandu services with others. By presenting the work and activities in both spheres, there is an increase of competition between the villages and this may more lead to higher motivation for being more creative. Creativity is one of the most required ability to be developed, as mentioned above.

To overview the event by our feelings, the first and foremost, we would like to highlight an effort of the IBU Foundation team, their abilities and professionalism during the preparation and organization. It is surely not easy to manage such an event, to motivate people, to keep their willingness and to reach the stated objectives, by other words the path had to be a bit thorny.

Despite our language barrier by which had been disposing the whole event, we gained very good feelings about Jambore. The fantastic atmosphere made by enthusiastic women, fabulous audience, all precious stakeholders and last but not least the IBU Foundation members ensured the event has become one of the most memorable days in our lives. Here is one message for the organizers: “please make sure you pay more money to the guy who holds the rain, he let it release too early this time…”

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At the end we got an insight into the background of competition by one of the winners, “Asik Asik Hey” dancer and choreographer Yasinta .With her kind agreement we asked her a few questions about the dance:

Us: “Where did you get the inspiration for the choreography?”

Yasinta: “First, I saw a video clip of Kabogoh Jauh (faraway boy/girlfriend). Then my friend Ela, a Posyandu cadre from Sukamekar village, introduced me to the jaipong dance and made the choreography with me and, at last, I had been thinking about the meaning of the song, in which way is it possible to express love in a long-distance relationship by using a telephone device as my friend.”

Us: “It seems that the dance, especially the choreography, has its own meaning. Could you please reveal it for us?”

Yasinta: “Yes, it expresses the way of a long-distance relationship. If we take the dancing movements one after another, their meaning is how to find a way to meet my boyfriend, meeting my boyfriend by walking such a long distance would make me tired and my legs would hurt. In the meantime I am confused with this relationship, I am asking myself whether he means it seriously with me or not and so the frequency of using my mobile phone is high, the phone becomes my friend now. Instead of thinking about the confusion in the relationship I sing Asik Asik Hey, enjoy, enjoy, hey and just let it be.”

Us: “Very impressive, now we could understand the dance better. It was danced with a maximum portion of energy and it seemed that this ensured you the prize. How did you feel about it?”

Yasinta: “We were all surprised, because there was a high competition that day and of course we all were so happy and happy!”

Us: ” How long did it take you to prepare your dance?”

Yasinta: “3 weeks, but all women were not able to join the lessons every time, which had made it more difficult sometimes.”

Us: “There was a song you sang and which preceded the dance. Was it you who was an author of it?”

Yasinta: “No, the yel-yel song was composed by two Posyandu cadres, ibu Dedoh and ibu Engkom. The song was addressing the attendees of the event asking them how they are and expressing the wishes for the support for the better future of Sukamekar village from the government and IBU Foundation. Actually, there were two performances we could prepare for the event and we had decided to prepare both.”

Us: “Thank you for your time and we wish you many creative ideas for next events. Could we possibly ask you to show us the dance again?”

Yasinta had no objections, but instead of a solo dance, we installed the video camera in the room, put the Kabogoh Jauh song on laud, turn a record button on and indulged in the Asik Asik Hey dance…

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Martina & Veronika
Cianjur, 04 June 2013