Huw Hutchison AIYEP 2015 – 2016

Adviser at Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet

We went to West Kalimantan for our AIYEP exchange. We lived in Pontianak for the City Phase and Lumbang for the Regional Phase.

Both my host families made an extraordinary effort to make me and my buddy feel welcome. Through visits to local sights of interest, introductions to their friends and relatives, and patient conversation after a long day of work and travel, they always went out of their way to look after anything we needed. And, of course, I still miss the delicious food that I was treated to on a daily basis.

I worked on a team focused on environmental issues. Lumbang, like many places in Indonesia, did not have an effective way to manage garbage, which had proliferated in recent years. This meant that the streets, waterways and forests were strewn with litter. We tried to tackle this issue by running weekly trash collections, educating local residents on ways to manage garbage and developing a pilot composting scheme at the village’s primary schools. Happily, a number of these activities have continued on after our departure. It’s very satisfying to know that we had some role in improving the local environment.

More than anything, it affirmed my interest in the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship, and the huge potential that exists for greater mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries. Knowing that there are other young people working towards that shared vision is an enormously empowering thing to experience. I am sure that it will continue to guide my ambitions and interests well into the future.