TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Three out of four emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to humans. This prompted the Ministry of Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and USAID to stage a theatre performance which visualizes how the lives of animals and humans are dynamically intertwined, as they call it “frenemies”.
The three institutions aim to raise public awareness of the possibility of disease transmission from animals to humans. Animals play various roles in our lives as companion animals, sources of protein and farm helpers that support peoples’ livelihoods. Young Indonesian art performing group, Teater Pandora and its guest star, Rachel Amanda take part in this collaboration.
“Animals are often overlooked as the source of human diseases. We need greater public awareness and support to contain zoonotic animal diseases from infecting humans and disrupting food production in the livestock sector,” said I Ketut Diarmita, Director General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Ministry of Agriculture whose opening speech is delivered by Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rasa, Director of Animal Health (12/7).
In support of the government’s public awareness agenda, Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative in Indonesia stated, “We are pleased to present the achievements of the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO to strengthen food security by improving animal health through an awareness-raising theatre performance. Theatre can uniquely educate and entertain the public.”
Press Conference (left to right) FAO Representative Stephen Rudgard, Director of Animal Health Fadjar Sumping, Deputy Chief of Mission US embassy Ms Heather Variafa and Rachel Amanda. Credit: FAO Indonesia
Taking place at @America, the U.S. Embassy’s American cultural center in Jakarta, almost 300 public attendees were welcomed by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Ms. Heather Variava. “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-Indonesia diplomatic partnership. The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is proud to be the partner of choice in strengthening Indonesia’s capacity to control and prevent diseases as part of both countries’ commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda. ” said Variava.
In addition, Rachel Amanda, the guest actress who performs with the youth-led theatre group, Teater Pandora expressed her excitement to collaborate on the first theatre performance related to a UN Project in Indonesia.
“This collaboration allows us to creatively use our power as young artists to promote awareness on health issues that may affect our daily lives,” says Amanda who acted as a child of Pak Sun, a farmer who successfully recovered from avian influenza.
The drama depicts whether Pak Sun’s three children decide to continue farming, as they found it outdated compared to urban life. They are surprised to see how technical assistance from the MoA-FAO-USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2) project has significantly improved the health of livestock, thus making farming a more profitable business.