By Roy Lie Atjam
The Herenwegschool Wassenaar and the Sekolah Indonesia Den Haag developed a virtual climate village project based on the current situation in Malino, South Sulawesi applying Microsoft Minecraft.
The Embassy of Indonesia hosted the talk show and handover ceremony of this auspicious Climate Village project at the “Nusantara” auditorium of the Indonesian Embassy on 23 November 2021. In attendance were a total of 30 offline- and 60 online participants from The Netherlands and Indonesia.
A short review of what Ambassador Mayerfas asserted in his welcome remarks.
“Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Climate Envoy of the Netherlands, Dr. Bernard Bot, Member of Trustees of Indonesia Nederland Society, Directors, teachers, and students of Sekolah Indonesia Den Haag and Herenweg School, Bapak dan Ibu dari Kementerian/Lembaga terkait, who join the event through Zoom.
When I firstly heard about this Climate Village project, I was very encouraged, and decided right away for the Embassy to be on board. Why? It is because this Climate Village project is a unique and timely initiative. It is unique for three reasons.
First, this is a collaboration between 64 Indonesian and Dutch students in The Netherlands to think, discuss, and come up with a proposal about the climate mitigation in Malino South Sulawesi in Indonesia.
The collaboration is encouraging. How the young generations from two different countries and cultures worked together as an effort in climate change mitigation.
Second, the project can be considered as a new method of learning experience in climate education.
It involved the use of game application, Minecraft from Microsoft, to explore and propose climate adaptation and mitigation solutions. The students walked through their own learning process and created a creative problem solving.
Third, the project involved children in quite early age, from 10 to 14, to contribute to the climate change mitigation.
This will create awareness about the climate change to the children and, hopefully, will construct their behavior towards the environment in the future.
The project is also timely as it can contribute to the outcome of COP 26, to reduce the emissions and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. The Climate Village is conducted through a penta-helix approach involving Governments, Business, Academicians, Communities, and Mass Media.
As you may be aware, Indonesia has a commitment to reduce 29% of greenhouse gas emissions with our own efforts by 2030. This Climate Village project is part of that effort. Since its inception in 2016, the Climate Village has been established in 2.775 locations in Indonesia. The target is to have 20 thousand Climate Village in Indonesia by 2024″
A talk show in the hybrid format followed offline as well as online. Participants included: the students; director of Herenwegschool Wassenaar, Mr Bob van den Steenhoven; director of Sekolah Indonesia Den Haag, Mr Herman Tahir; panellists Prof. dr. ir. Arjen Wals (Wageningen University); and others.
Subsequently, the students symbolically handed over the project to the Indonesian Ambassador H.E. Mayerfas as the representative of the government of Indonesia; and to the Dutch Climate Envoy, Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parma, representing the government of The Netherlands.
As was mentioned, the Climate Village Project was a collaboration between Sekolah Indonesia Den Haag students and Herenweg School students, aged 10-14 years, from 16 September to 1 November 2021, with the support of the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague and the Indonesia Nederland Society. In Minecraft, the students’ built climate adaptation and mitigation programs based on the situation in Malino that they identified through interviews with the villagers.
Ambassador Mayerfas stated the Climate Village Project could be implemented in real life. “This Climate Village Project can be a good contribution to the Indonesian Government and people, including in Malino. The Indonesian Government has conducted the Climate Village Program since 2016 and built the village in more than two thousand locations. If implemented in Malino, this project will contribute to the achievement of the Indonesian Government’s target to build 20 thousand Climate Village in 2024,” explained Ambassador Mayerfas.
The Dutch Climate Envoy Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme also welcomed the project. “The students in a creative and fun way find a solution for the world’s problem (climate change). The proposed solutions are in line with the problems faced in Malino, such as waste management. The Dutch Government is currently working with the Indonesian Government through the circular economy for waste management,” said Prince Jaime.
The member of the Board of Trustees of the Indonesia Nederland Society and former Dutch Foreign Minister, Bernard Bot, who witnessed the handover stated, “This project can stimulate and reach out the policymakers. Hence, it would be good to integrate the project into the curriculum of primary education.”
The Climate Village project is a project in which the students learn about global citizenship. The students learn to approach a problem within predetermined frameworks from different perspectives. They learn to make their considerations and to articulate them. By entering into dialogue with each other, their learning process is stimulated and they make reasoned choices that they have to defend.
The Climate Village was constructed in 6 weeks and addressed seven main problems in Malino, these are clean water, waste, food security, wildfire, deforestation, electricity, and climate-related disease. They proposed to build a clean water filter; a waste management system; a farming and farmer’s market; a river around the forest to prevent wildfire; tree plantation; hydroelectric and solar panels; and a hospital.
The project has been a success and tastes like more. A follow-up project was soon rolled out which gave the school national acclaim. Van den Steenhoven said that the students would give a presentation in the town hall that very week. This result did not go unnoticed; Microsoft, VNG, Podemos, the PO Raad (Council for Primary Education) and two knowledge institutions want to work together with the school for the development of citizenship education. The project coordinator is Monica Bouman (PhD)
A mega Bravo to all stakeholders!