A year-end note from the Director

Posted Under

To say that 2017 was a tough year would be an understatement. This year we witnessed, experienced, and possibly directly impacted by the messages, act, and news of violence and hatred. Those related to what was happening in the country as well as to world affairs. Unfortunately, there are predictions that things are going to be harder next year. 


Despite this year’s challenges, I would objectively say that we stood our ground. We did that by being consistent in what we are doing, and that is to look for, produce, and present the best evidence, to be the voice of clarity in the often time baseless debates, and to promote what the data and information tell us to be the most effective and inclusive solutions. As importantly, we continue to investigate our own assumptions, pose questions including to ourselves, and say that we don't know enough to form an opinion when we, in fact, didn't know enough. Granted that the scope of what we do is far too small compared to the problems we’re facing, but I believe that our contributions to the child protection and wellbeing thinking and actions were part of the necessary building blocks toward progress.


Team, I think to continue to do all these will still be relevant next year. If not more. 


This year, we completed some critical works. We continued working on setting up the child wellbeing longitudinal study initiative. We supported the government in finalizing technical guidelines, SOPs, and policy documents that, once adopted, can open even bigger and more inclusive access to population registration services and facilitate cross-sectoral vital data sharing and interoperability for more appropriate planning and budgeting. We helped the government in finalizing a roadmap towards inclusive healthcare services and contributed to the formulation of national regulations to protect children from violence and to uphold the rights of people with disability. Through our collaboration with local civil society organizations, we supported the registration of birth, marriage, death, and biodata of over fifty thousand individuals in sixteen districts of the country. Of those applications, over forty thousand legal identity documents were issued. We did some research and held public discussions where latest evidence on the state of Indonesia's younger populations were discussed and potential solutions were debated.


We also couldn't stop learning (and let’s not stop). We hosted and learned from graduate students from around the globe and from visits from international and national institutions. We updated our skills through data analysis, monitoring and evaluation, as well as clear thinking and presentation trainings. Last but not least, we had five manuscripts in the process for peer-reviewed publications, two research reports to be disseminated next year, and two book chapters in press. 


We could not possibly do everything ourselves. We are grateful for the trust and strategic collaborations from our past and ongoing partners. On that note, we are also excited about the newly formed partnerships and alliances. 


I am happy that in PUSKAPA roles continue to evolve as individual capacity and professional curiosity grow. We welcomed four new team members who came from different backgrounds and bringing in with them different skill sets and interests that I believe will up the quality of our work even more. We had team members being promoted internally, accepted into prestigious graduate programs, attained professional license to practice law and social work, granted an academic award, and obtained doctorate candidacy. At the same time, I’m pleased to see that everyone is still encouraged to have all kinds of different experiences outside the work that would lead you to be well-rounded individuals. Some participated in barista training (and applying the rigor in the office' coffee corner), pushed themselves outside of their comfort zone like singing or reading poems in public, finished a grueling athletic challenge, and some found joy in new exercises. At the same time, each of us must have gone through some personal turmoil of our own (as life gives you lemon now and then), and in our own ways, we dealt and managed. 


PUSKAPA also evolved as an organization. This year, we passed a university-level review process and being recommended to bear a new organizational status within Universitas Indonesia. This new status represents an institutional recognition of our size and success, and at the same time poses challenges to sustain them. The core management and I will make sure that this new status will turn into a worthy investment and more prominent contributions to the field of child protection and wellbeing. 


On that note, this year ends with some changes in PUSKAPA's leadership. Due to competing personal and professional priorities, Irwanto had decided to transition from the Co-Director position into more an advisory role within PUSKAPA. Starting next year, he will assume a new position as the Chair of PUSKAPA's Advisory Board. I will maintain and continue the managing directorship roles and responsibilities as Director. Irwanto and I have been Co-Directors since the early years of PUSKAPA's existence. Not only that Irwanto is my guru, but he's also my professional confidant, and together we started this organization with rather ambitious ideas. Ideas we managed to realize. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of everyone, we thank Irwanto, and we look forward to continuing our teamwork in his new capacity. 


I've said this two weeks ago and I’ll say this again, let's be proud of our accomplishments this year and be humbled by the things we could've done and will do better next year. 


Happy New Year, everyone. 

Onwards and upwards,