Disaster Education with Magical Muppets

In 1999 Alam Santi co-founder Petra Schneider founded IDEP Foundation, a local NGO which responded to over 30 major disasters in Indonesia.

While at IDEP Foundation, over two decades, Petra and Alam Santi co-founder Gede Sugiartha lead the design and production of a huge suite of community education handbooks, comic books, and films designed for raising awareness of the early signs of natural disasters and the correct responses to them.

In 2006, IDEP collaborated with Trocaire, JRS, No Strings and Cordaid, resulting in the creation of films of multiple disaster scenarios which became commonly used in schools and community meetings throughout Indonesia. Kathy Mullen, one-time principal performer with the popular puppet based TV show The Muppet Show supported the program’s success as chief designer and creator of the films.

The Importance Of Early Sign Response

Idep focused the films on children, teaching them the common signs of eminent natural disasters and the correct response to them. This empowers local communities to be able to correctly respond if and when these tragedies occur. As a result of this work, a large number of casualties have been avoided.

The series of five short films covers: earthquake, tsunami, volcano, flood & landslide and social conflict resolution (the latter is entitled ‘Two gardens’.) The heroine of the films, ‘little girl’, demonstrates appropriate behavior whilst also encouraging a sense of responsibility and empowerment in young children, meanwhile “Badu” always does everything wrong, bringing humour into the story while providing key information about disaster prevention tactics. The films are available in four languages: Indonesian, Tetun, Acehnese and English.

The message quickly spread amongst families, communities and villages.

The Regenerative Nature Of This Educational Material

Head facilitators were taught how to use puppets to stimulate discussion and reinforce these messages using songs, puzzles and games, often with children and also with adult groups.

This is a simple way to spread correct disaster response, since the educational method is easily understood by everyone. Building up the capacity for communities to respond to disasters before they hit is a great way to reduce the need of intervening after disasters occur.

A Successful Educational Goal

When disasters hit remote communities outside help is slow to reach them when help is needed most. Educating the entire community in effective preventative measures can save many lives when disasters occur.

These educational films were successfully distributed to schools and communities in a range of high-risk areas of Indonesia. They have been screened for over 10,000 school children, and a further 5,000 people during other public showings.

Do you have a topic/project or program which is ready to get its message out to the public of Indonesia in a reliable and effective way? The Alam Santi team is here to offer campaign consultancy, as well as high impact educational media production.

Our team has years of expertise on media production, message profiling and media outreach, your message will reach far and wide.


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