Hendrik Bera, a 16 years student from Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, fell silent in his chair in the seminar room of Komunitas Salihara. The young man had just heard his hometown named as the most corrupt cities in Indonesia.

“From the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index survey, Kupang is considered the most corrupt city in Indonesia,” said Deputy Secretary General of Transparency International Indonesia Rezki Wibowo in a session of Indonesian Youth Conference (IYC), Komunitas Salihara, Sunday (4/7).

In a survey two years ago, Kupang only scored 2.97 in a 1-10 scale. It means that the majority of respondents rated Kupang as a city heavily polluted with corruption.

“I’m sad thinking of my beloved city as the most corrupt in our country. Why is it and how to make a better Kupang?” asked Hendrik, one of 33 youths from 30 provinces Indonesia who attended the IYC Forum.

Rezki explained, corruption was relatively more widespread in the provinces, because the supervision from the community as well as central government was less strict. But young people could certainly change the foul situation.

First of all, the youths should spread the awareness of anti-corruption movement. Around 65 million, or 30 percent of the total population of Indonesia, are youths. But not many youths care about the problems of this country, including corruption.

“If the ‘virus’ is transmitted, we can create a network with friends to control corruption in the neighborhood. Then we must make another network with the media, because they are important to shape public opinion. Now that’s a big capital to change our country,” said Rezki.

SPEAK (Suara Pemuda Anti Korupsi, or Youth Voice Against Corruption), a new youths organization formed by TI Indonesia for young people who are eager to fight corruption, also gave a presentation. They hoped to raise the youths who participated in the session, that together, they can shoo corruption out of Indonesia.

Met after the session, Hendrik initially confessed he’s been pessimist of the possibility of improving his city. But after hearing what Rezki and SPEAK said, Hendrik changed. “Now the government in Kupang may be corrupt and underestimate the youths. But I believe I can change it,” he said confidently.

Noor Intania Fitriani, a 20-years-old student from Padjadjaran University, agreed. “I was inspired, and realized we can fight corruption, we should not wait for the adults,” she said.

Intania herself claimed she encountered the corruption problem when enrolling into her college. As a taekwondo athlete achievers, she planned to enrol via the special track for gifted students. It should be free and cost her nothing. “But instead of helping, the Education Department confused me with bureaucracy and asked me to pay many millions,” she complained. Finally, she decided not to pay the illegal levies.

The anti-corruption session was just one of 16 sessions in IYC Festival that Sunday. There was also a series of panel sessions and workshops involving experts in various fields, including environment, education, health, poverty, nationalism, social entrepreneurship, information technology, creative industries, and media.

Unlike the IYC Forum held on July 1 to 3 which was limited for 33 participants, the Festival can be visited by anyone. However, participants of the Festival must purchase a ticket, priced Rp 50-75 thousand (around US$ 5-7.5). The tickets sold well. No less than 375 young people bought it and crowded the Komunitas Salihara.

IYC itself is an event initiated by Alanda Kariza, a 18 years old Bina Nusantara University student. Alanda thought there were many brilliant and creative young people in Indonesia who could provide fresh perspectives and solutions to the problems of this nation. Her proposal of the IYC event, which was meant as a place for youth to speak out, take her elected as one of the Global Changemakers, a youth activism program designed by the British Council.


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