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Central Java Joins School Campaign against Bird Flu

© UNICEF/2008/Suharya
I Made Sutama, UNICEF Central Java Field Office Chief presents an AI school kit to Central Java Province Head of Education, Kunto Nugroho and Blora District Head of Education, Eddy Mulyana during the launch.

SEMARANG, 14 February, 2008, – The Central Java Provincial Education Office and UNICEF has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of bird flu. Children and teachers from 10,000 elementary schools in Central Java's 35 districts received the kits that provide them with practical guidance on how to protect themselves from bird flu.

Central Java, a province with a population of over 32 million, faces a great challenge in dealing with bird flu virus. As of February 3rd 2008, Indonesia has recorded 128 human cases, 10 if the victims came from Central Java and 9 of them died. The most recent case is a 16 year old boy from Sragen in Solo.

UNICEF, with support from the National Avian Influenza Commission (KOMNAS FBPI), and funding from Japan and Canada developed the School Kit to help teachers raise awareness about the dangers of bird flu.  The program is being initiated in UNICEF supported CLCC (Creative Learning Communities for Children) schools around the country.  The kit contains a variety of educational tools including a cartoon that were especially developed using characters from a popular local TV series 'Bajaj Bajuri and Oneng's Salon'.

"I enjoyed watching the cartoon during the launch at school today, it is very entertaining and informative so I can be aware and understand the dangers of the bird flu virus," said Fitri, a fifth grader at SD Pekunden Elementary School in Semarang, Central Java.

Ten thousand teachers from 35 districts in Central Java are also learning how to integrate the information into regular class lessons like mathematics, biology and Indonesian.

The AI school kit is a perfect tool for us, it will be an interesting challenge to develop a strategy and integrate the key messages into regular school subjects", said Principal Tribudi.


© UNICEF/2008/Suharya
Children laughed and enjoyed the cartoon that is part of the AI School kit that aims to teach and entertain.

But the challenge is being met in provinces across the country and children are learning the three messages that can help prevent bird flu:

  1. Don't play with sick/dear poultry
  2. Always wash hands with soap
  3. Report sick/dead poultry to teachers/parents

 "We are committed to do everything we can to protect our children from bird flu, and teachers play a significant role in this," said Kunto Nugroho, Provincial Education Chief.  "We are training selected teachers from CLCC schools in 35 districts in Central Java so they can integrate the Kit into the regular school learning process. We will also conduct a drawing competition for elementary school children with themes related to the 3 key messages", he added.

A total of 50,000 kits will be sent to schools in Java, Bali and Sulawesi provinces. By the end of April, Central Java expects 10,000 schools and some three million children will have received these life saving messages,

"More than 40% of bird flu victims in the world are children, they can greatly reduce their chances of getting bird flu if they understand, apply and share what they learn with their family and friends. I am excited to work hand in hand with the local government to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus," said UNICEF Central Java Field Office Chief, I Made Sutama.




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