SEAMEO CECCEP Held Focus Group Discussion on HI-ECD Policy Brief Development in Bandung: Enhancing Access to Health Services, Welfare, Protection, and Care

SEAMEO CECCEP conducted a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to develop the Holistic Integrated Early Childhood Development (HI-ECD) Policy Brief: "Access to Health Services, Welfare, Protection, and Care." This FGD event was held from Sunday, June 23 to Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at Hotel deJava, Bandung. The purpose of this event was to gather input from each stakeholder in every HI-ECD service (Education, Health, Nutrition, Care, Protection, and Welfare) for the development process of the HI-ECD policy brief.

The FGD was attended by several participants, including Mr. Nugroho, Policy Analyst Junior Expert Assistant Deputy for Fulfillment of Children's Rights and Protection at the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs or (KEMENKO PMK), Ms. Yani Sinulingga, Coordinator of HI-ECD from the Directorate of Early Childhood Education, Mrs. Amaranti, First Expert Planner at the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection or (KPPPA) PUHA, Mrs. Ai Rahmayanti, Commissioner for Parenting and Alternative Family, Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), Mrs. Felly Lastiawati, Head of the Family Quality Improvement Division, Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Agency (DP3A) Bandung, and other notable figures.

The Director of SEAMEO CECCEP, Prof. Vina Adriany, PhD then delivered her warm welcome and thanked the speakers for their presence. In this FGD, four presentations were given by experts. The first presentation was delivered by Dr. dr. Brian Sriprahastuti on Access for Integrated Models and the Workforce. Dr. Brian emphasized that cross-stakeholder collaboration was essential. Effective cooperation between the community, government, and private sector/philanthropy was crucial. She also highlighted that human resource investment starting from pregnancy was fundamental for producing excellent human resources. To save 4.8 million children from stunting, the president initiated the National Stunting Prevention Movement and encouraged ministries and agencies to converge efforts to accelerate stunting prevention through activities such as providing balanced nutritious food, parenting support, and promoting handwashing with soap and proper sanitation.

The second presentation on father involvement in parenting was delivered by Idzma Mahayattika, an advocate for Ayah ASI. In his presentation, he stated that support from fathers could take the form of knowledge support, positive attitude support, practical support, emotional support, and involvement in decision-making. Knowledge support could include participation in childbirth preparation classes, breastfeeding and complementary feeding  or MP-ASI, consultations with experts, attending workshops or seminars, and talking to other experienced parents.

In practice, father involvement in parenting was still minimal due to several obstacles. One obstacle was policy barriers where there was a lack of flexibility in working hours at companies. Additionally, paternity leave was still limited to only 2-3 days in many places, and many child-rearing programs focused on mothers.

Several solutions were offered for the obstacles faced by fathers. These included providing paternity leave policies, flexibility in coming to the office to care for children and wives, providing safe and comfortable learning spaces for men, and trusting fathers to be involved while respecting their methods.

The third presentation by Ir. Yosi Diani Tresna from Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency of the Republic of Indonesia, discussing Best Practices and Challenges Regarding Access to Care, Protection, and Welfare Services. She talked about quality families, gender equality, and inclusive communities. According to her, fulfilling the rights and protection of children, women, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly through strengthening care and resilience, and protection against violence.

The last presentation was delivered by Mrs. Hani Yulindrasari, Ph.D on Critical Studies on Children's Rights. According to her, there were two approaches to children's rights: Protectionism and Liberalism. Protectionism viewed children as individuals who were not yet autonomous and could not decide what was best for themselves. Meanwhile, in Liberalism, children held rights and participated in decision-making.

After the presentation sessions, participants were divided into several groups to discuss and draft policy briefs on the presented topics. The results of these discussions were then presented the next day on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, by group representatives. The event was then closed by the Director of SEAMEO CECCEP.