Digital technology is fast becoming the core of life, work, culture and identity in Indonesia. Half of Indonesia’s 240 million people are aged under 30, so this means that today’s youth are the key to Indonesia’s future development. Indonesia’s youth are better educated and more linked into the global economy and culture than their parents. But fact is that this rapid advancement of internet communication is predominantly in urban areas. While the number of Indonesians using the internet has followed an upward global trend, increasing sevenfold from 8.1 million in 2005 to 56.6 million in 2015, Indonesia’s internet penetration remains only around 25 per cent, with around four-fifths of the country’s internet users located on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
Bridging the digital divide remains a huge challenge for Indonesia. Especially in rural areas, the lack of internet affordability, skills, awareness and cultural acceptance, as well as the lack of content and services in local languages, constitute considerable hurdles to digital literacy. Government top-down strategies focusing on material infrastructure are insufficient. To address the digital divide we need to go beyond infrastructure issues. Education, community as well as digital skills, are needed to make a change happen.
Next to these hurdles to digital literacy, there are also environmental challenges facing Indonesia’s youth in this time of rapid transformation. Indonesia is one of Earth’s most culturally and bio-diverse nations, but it’s in the midst of an environmental crisis, with serious local and global consequences. It has the World’s highest deforestation rate and terrestrial and marine ecosystems and biodiversity are declining rapidly through palm oil and mining companies taking over. Indonesia is the World’s 2nd largest marine polluter, sea level rise and natural disasters affect millions of Indonesians each year. A revolution in education is required to face these environmental challenges.
Faced with such circumstances, over the past 2 decades many local communities, formal and non-formal education institutions have established green education initiatives, and many innovative approaches to create more green leaders and environmental consciousness, sustainable mindset through environmental education practices. However, most of the initiators are working in isolation and have to deal with a significant geographical barrier which finally closed the opportunity to access to sharing knowledge, setting up collaborative initiatives, training, resources. From the above standpoints, bridging the digital divide, particularly in the context of developing countries like Indonesia, demands a new perspective beyond infrastructure or top-down and bottom-up strategies. So far there is no current technological system to help this matter, most initiatives are conventional and working in isolation, which leads to slow knowledge-mobility and a lack of collaboration. People living in rural areas or small towns don’t have the resources such as money to rent a house or logistics to study, but they have the power to learn, exchange and share.
With Indonesia G.R.E.E.N we are closing the gap by creating a digital 'Grass Roots Environmental Education Network' platform, set up with two features:
- Online course series: Capacity Building & Professional Development
incubator program that combines live sessions alongside Indonesian coaches with an online community of experts from around the world to engage in discussions and action. With provision of learning materials and resources enabling to record and reflect on experiences and obtain recognized qualifications. Follow up mentoring through live Q&As, summit events, environmental webinars to accelerate sustainable solutions at community level. All materials such as videos, pictures, audio or text are categorized in the system and are accessible at all times.
- Online co-working space: A collaborative online working space for the users where they have limitless access to a databank with up to date reports, researches and documentaries about sustainability. Through the personal profiles people know which person has what skills and which project they are working on. In this way people can connect and start discussions, exchange perspectives and collaborate on mutual interest projects with local partner organisations and a global network of experts. Co-creating allows an open space for users to work together in designing curriculum, lessons plan or creative teaching activities that can be replicated in other regions. Co-sharing allows the users to share their success and failure stories, which resources helped them and what inspired them, in this way people will inspire and motivate each other to accelerate sustainable solutions at community level.