Seven years after graduating from the MasterinInternational Communications Management programme, Carly Scheffer is doing three jobs in her native Indonesia and still in contact with the network she built up at THU.
Carly Scheffer (35), from Jakarta in Indonesia, thoroughly enjoyed life as a student at THU. She graduated from THU’s Master in International Communications Management (MICM) in 2006. The programme gave her the chance to meet and work with international students from all over the world, as well as visit Spain on an intercultural trip. “The MICM was a good mix of working hard and playing hard,” she offers. “It certainly met my expectations, particularly thanks to that international component, which definitely helped it to live up to the ‘International’ part of its name.”
After graduating, Carly returned to Indonesia and the television company from which she’d taken a year’s leave. Six months later she joined a radio station where she worked for about three years, before starting up her own social entrepreneurship organisation in 2011. But this organization, LEADER ABC — an acronym for Learn English And Develop Empowered Region - Adolescent Broadcasting Community — is one of just three jobs Carly does. Essentially, it’s a programme combining learning English with radio skills for secondary school students.
In May this year Carly’s LEADER ABC schools initiative won her a place as one of 11 finalists in Women Entrepreneur BII (Bank International Indonesia) Sukma Award 2013. “I didn’t win but it was a personal achievement for me for people to acknowledge my work. The award ceremony was also attended by Indonesia’s Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection!”
In addition to LEADER ABC, since 2012 Carly has also been working on a part-time basis withan NGO called First Response Indonesia, a disaster response radio organisation. Her third job is as a part-time lecturer at a local university. There, depending on what’s needed per semester, she teaches marketing communications, PR and branding and radio skillsto university undergraduates.
The seeds were sown for Carly’s interest in social entrepreneurism when she was with the radio station. “We were given training in how radio broadcasts can save lives during a disaster and it struck me as so rewarding to be able to help people while doing your job.”Using radio for disaster response is a departure from its traditional role, she explains. “With First Response Indonesia,we set up a local radio station within a community affected by a disaster and provide critical information to the people in it.”
Carly’s responsibilities at First Response Indonesia include communication,such as promoting the organisation’s existence and services, along with certain administrative tasks. She also works as a trainer. “People need to know how to react during and after emergencies. I train volunteers and government and NGO workers in the role that radio can play during a disaster situation.”
Drug abuse and corruption
In the context of her secondary school initiative, Carly plans to use radio broadcasts to tackle what she sees as the growing problem in Indonesia of drug abuse and corruption. “I think social problems like drug abuse and corruption are largely due to a lack of character-building at school. We want to use radio broadcasts to engage with students as young as possible and teach them about morality and character. These broadcasts could take place at various times of the school day and include drama, community service announcements and inspirational tips that will help to influence students in a fun and entertaining way.”
The same, but different
While clearly all associated with communication, are these three jobs what Carly had in mind when she was doing the MICM? “Well, yes and no, but mostly yes. I’ve always had a passion for and worked in media and communications. The media I’m using now are just different, although I must admit I hadn’t seen myself as a teacher. What I learned on the MICM was a great help. During my thesis, for example I did research with Radio Nederland and that’s been really useful.”
The intercultural aspect is now also proving very advantageous. “In the humanitarian field, we collaborate extensively with United Nations communities and local and international NGOs. Thereis also a sizeable international community at the university in which I teach, with foreign lecturers and students coming from countries ranging from Korea and Taiwan to the Netherlands.” Appreciating and exploiting the exposure you get to different cultures is something Carly is keen to stress to current and future THU students. “They shouldn’t underestimate the value of what they can learn from this.”
As closing shots Carly advises THU students to achieve a good balance between studying and enjoying yourself, and to grasp the opportunity of doing an internship with both hands. “An internship and visits to companies are invaluable opportunities to increase your experience and start building your network. And don’t forget to include THU lecturers and professional guest lecturers in that network. I graduated seven years ago and I still have contact with them.”
(as written for The Hague University Newsletter September 2013)