The hard working YUM team in Central Kalimantan
It is now one year after the catastrophic 2015 fire and haze situation in Indonesia that was labelled by the Indonesian Bureau of Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) as “a crime against humanity of extraordinary proportions”.
Locally though, the smoke felt year after year is referred to as “asap biasa” or “normal smoke” and even though there is a certain level of awareness of its negative health effects, it is taken with acceptance of a normal situation due to a big gap of knowledge regarding its long term health consequences.
In order to address this concern, several activities have been developed so far by YUM which include:
- training of trainers
- extensive survey and
- workshops in schools and villages.
Training of trainers
To address the matter of “asap biasa” or “normal smoke” requires a much deeper work regarding changing of mind-set through the understanding and realization that the annual fires, even when not as severe as 2015, have great impact on people’s health and wellbeing. During the training the trainers developed different key messages for possible target groups, learned about the best communication channels and came up with ideas about how to motivate the different target groups. To read more about this training, check out our April project report.
Fire and Smoke Community Survey
This survey collected data, from 354 respondents in 10 different areas of the sub-district of Bukit Batu, to assess the level of community awareness about the health and environmental consequences of the fires and smoke - and whether people are open to consider alternatives to burning.
100% of the respondents agreed that there were negative health and environmental consequences from the extreme smoke haze conditions of 2015. However, some 33% of respondents consider that there are no adverse effects from the level of smoke which occurs during a ‘normal’ year. As a result of the survey, the team developed key messages for the campaign addressing three main aspects close to the community:
- Health: To explain how smoke from the fire carries toxic particles and poisonous gases that can cause life-threatening illness and cause premature death, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant women & asthmatics.
- Wallet: To remind how families have to spend money to see a doctor and to buy medicines to relieve coughs, eye irritation and other respiratory related illnesses.
- Future: To explain that in Kalimantan in the past 40 years, we have lost more than half of our forests to fires and timber exploitation and that if we don’t stop burning and cutting trees now, the watershed will decrease, the temperature will increase, and future generations may never get to experience the wonder of a natural forest or jungle.
The aim of the haze workshops is to raise awareness, gather feedback and look together with the community for different possible solutions to each cause for fires targeting youth and adults of both genders.
So far, 17 workshops have been organised in schools across Bukit Batu, where emphasis is made into spreading he message for “No Burning” and the session is later complemented with planting of fruit trees and learning how to make compost. Workshops have also been conducted with adult groups, mainly women, combining discussions not only about the haze of 2015 but also about other sources of smoke – annual fires, burning to “clean” fields before sowing, garbage burning, charcoal making, cooking fires, stone exploration fires – and looks into different solutions for each cause of fire. Many of the women also showed genuine interest in joining YUM's recycling program as they were touched by the idea of a better future for their children.
All of the above would not have been possible without your generous help - Thank you! If you would like to donate to another YUM project on GlobalGiving, why not check out these projects below:
Workshops with local high school students
Children receiving information in YUM's library
Free medical check-ups continue on weekends