Steve Aswin, a Construction Engineer to Social Engineer
By Angela Kearney
JAKARTA, 30 July, 2009 - UNICEF Indonesia would like to express gratitude for 28 years of dedication of one of its longest serving staff, Steve Aswin. He has retired from his last post as Chief of Field Office of West Java and Banten. Steve is a rare leader who inspires those who work with him through his passion for his work, knowledge and discipline, while at the same time charms them with his warm personality and generosity.
He started out in UNICEF in 1981 as a newly graduated construction engineer from the Bandung Institute of Technology. In nearly three decades of his career, he has held various positions in different sections in the organization and different regions throughout the country.
As a project officer, he worked in East Java, Madura, Yogyakarta, West Java, and some provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan. He also worked in Ambon and Jayapura, as well as Makassar.
Among the fields he was involved in are water and sanitation; planning, monitoring and evaluation for district and provincial government partners in West Java, education to bring literacy to women in poor areas, maternal and neonatal health, expanded programme on immunization, health planning and management.
He helped advocate the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women to be ratified by executive and legislative branch of government, and mobilized local non-government organizations to establish a child protection institute. He was also involved in UNICEF response to save severe malnourished children in Indonesia.
From 2002 through 2005, Aswin was an Emergency Specialist for UNICEF. When Indonesia was hit by a series of manmade and natural catastrophes, he was involved in the disaster responses, as well as peace education in emergency and psychological support.
In his four years in UNICEF West Java and Banten, he was involved mostly in programs to empower community on coping and preventing bird flu, and to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
“His approach is to empower the community and build the capacity of the stakeholders,” says Ibrahim Yunus, a consultant for Community Empowerment for West Java Regional Development Agency in the book Senja Berpelangi Indah (Dusk with Beautiful Rainbow). The book was published by Aswin’s colleagues and government and non-government counterparts in West Java and Banten to honor him.