Beyond My Wildest Dream

Going to the European Development Days

It felt like a dream when I first heard the news about my selection to go to Europe to attend the European Development Days. I was asked to share the opinions of children on food security that will support the global development agenda.

Food Security and Malnutrition in Indonesia

As food security and resilience is not the only issue that will be discussed at the EDDs, then why am I concerned about this specific discussion? 

This is because me and my friends at FORANI (Nias Children’s Forum), proposed the idea as a discussion point. Food security and resilience are issues affecting our hometown and still remain a challenge to this day. For example, the food availability on our small island is limited due to several factors. We have identified two major causes: policy that doesn't fully support farmers and the lack of information sources for farmers. 

There are several policies which we believe will improve farmers welfare, including freedom from debt and skills in money management.

This will provide a better future for my country.

In preparation for the EDDs, I visited the Nias Agriculture Agency Office. During my visit I became aware that Nias still relies on other cities and islands to provide our food, even for simple items such as chili. We have lands that can be planted with chilies!

I wish this kind of information could be told to our farmers and could motivate them to be more creative in cultivating the land. 

I also visited the Health Agency Office, where I found out how food crises can impact children. Children will suffer from hunger, or even worse, they can die. They can suffer malnutrition and brain damage due to the lack of nutrition they need. Malnutrition and malnourishment affects the youngest kids, below five years old, as I found out. In 2012, there were 15 children with malnutrition on my island, they have been treated and are now well.

I am grateful because my government has tried to do whatever they can to find the solution to overcome food insecurity and the nutrition fulfillment issue. They distributed food to those in need, provided an agriculture area for society, and raised awareness about the importance of nutrients in local clinics. 

Youth nutrition garden improves local food security

We at FORANI created a local nutrition garden. We organized and planted various food-plants. In addition, this garden is managed directly by children like me. After less than a year, we have enjoyed its benefits of our garden. These include: the increased awareness in our village about the importance of nutrition, the organizational skill we learned during the process, and the unity we feel when harvest time comes in our village. 

Youth and the future of global development

The nutrition garden is just a small example of what can be done by youth to support global development objectives. For me personally, my world development dream is the fulfillment of all children rights, the existence of peace, freedom from corruption, and the leadership of wise leaders. I also hope that children will be involved in each major decision making process which will affect our future anywhere in the world, both in national and international levels. (*IDNO/Res, translated by RC)

The Nias FORANI Nutrition Garden:

Restanti and FORANI (Nias Children Forum) happily gathered regularly to discuss their plan for youth-initiated projects in Nias that will contribute to society. World Vision Indonesia facilitated 31 children forum like this in Indonesia to help children understand their rights, including the right to participate in development agenda which will affect their future. (IDNO/Story by Shintya Kurniawan)

Smile! It’s harvest time! Two mothers in West Nias are enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Chillis and eggplants ready to be harvested in West Nias youth group’s garden.