18 October, 2019 10:38 AM Publications

eMpowering Youths' Story: Anggun Dwi Kusumawati

As a fresh graduate of Polytechnic of Energy and Mineral Resources Akamigas majoring in Oil and Gas Logistics, joining the eMpowering Youth Across ASEAN (EYAA) Programme was an opportunity for Anggun to try something new.

Anggun first learnt about EYAA Programme from the ASEAN Foundations’ instagram. Curious about what the programme is about, she visited our website to learn more about it. There, she was informed that EYAA is an ASEAN Foundation initiative that aims to alleviate poverty and improve social and economic well-being of ASEAN Communities through youth volunteerism and social innovation. The programme encourages youth between the ages of 19 to 35 years old from all 10 ASEAN Member states to leverage their experiences, knowledge and put their project ideas into action and create meaningful change for the local community in the Southeast Asian region. Then, they are able to realize their social enterprises with the generous support of the Maybank Foundation. Additionally, the programme aims to build the capacity of youth in ASEAN region to achieve the ASEAN Community building and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community BluePrint 2025 of becoming a more open and adaptive ASEAN.

Excited to find that this programme aligns with Anggun’s passions and goals, she decided to apply. Anggun became one of the ten Indonesian youth who was chosen to be part of the EYAA Programme in 2018-2019. She was working amongst 9 other youth from across ASEAN and they were assigned to tackle the thematic area of ‘Education’ in Cambodia. With the team’s passion for education, they developed and implemented EduSparks, an educational empowerment project that aims to provide opportunities for the children and youth in rural Battamang province, Cambodia. To help achieve their goals, EduSparks collaborated with Khmer NGO For Education (KHEN), which focuses on education and child rights. When asked what the EduSparks team envisioned when they created the project, Anggun responded “We initiated EduSparks with the spirit of creating equal opportunities for children and youth by enhancing their capacity and competency in order to impart new knowledge to the children and youth.”

In February 2019, Anggun and her team flew to Cambodia for two-weeks to implement the project. With the help of Khmer NGO For Education and a grant of USD 20,000 from Maybank Foundation, the team was able to reach key milestones. In just two weeks, they increased the awareness of volunteerism of youth by conducting a workshop for 104 students in the University of Battambang. They visited and taught at 6 primary schools, consisting of  a total of 815 students, across Samlout. During their visit, they distributed educational materials ranging from stationery, books to educational games for the students. Additionally, they also trained 47 primary school teachers, 30 KHEN interns and staff on the Sustainable Development Goal 4 and topics covering quality education, leadership skills, effective facilitation techniques and thinking tools. Finally, with the help of KHEN and the local community, Anggun and her team were able to build a Training Youth Center for the training of teachers and youth in Samlout village.

When asked about Anggun’s experience working with a diverse team, she contently revealed that it was exciting “It was a great experience working with youth from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. We benefited from the diverse ideas and point of views, which strengthened and shaped the project.” Working with individuals from different countries has its challenges however, Anggun shared: "I am grateful because from those challenges I learned that empathy is the key for the teamwork.” Overall, Anggun described her involved in the programme as a positive experience. As a youth with a science background, she felt thankful to be able to learn outside of her comfort zone such as “Children’s rights, Children’s education, inclusivity, and sustainability. Of course, also about ASEAN as a region.” She also shared that this programme allowed her to meet new people and build connections that have truly helped her personally and professionally. Altogether, Anggun believes that this programme is a great platform for ASEAN youth to grow and develop intercultural intelligence, empathy and community development.

Anggun was glad to share her views on why youth should join EYAA. “This programme is an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge through the intensive capacity building training, which will enhance our ability in design thinking, project management,” said Anggun. “It is also a chance for youth to execute a project that aligns with their interest and passion.”

With that, she ended with “Thank you ASEAN Foundation and Maybank Foundation for creating a platform for youth across ASEAN to create great impacts by improving the social and economic well-being of ASEAN communities through community projects, supporting volunteerism and social innovation, strengthen the networks among ASEAN youth. This experience will be the youth valuable lifetime learning journey.”

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