MAMPU Discusses Child Marriage at the International Family Planning and Reproductive Health Conference in Yogyakarta

28 November 2019
Author: Amron Hamdi

In Indonesia, every hour 16 girls under the age of 18 are married. The percentage of child marriages increased from 14.18% in 2017 to 15.66% in 2018, meaning that Indonesia has the seventh highest rates of child marriages globally and the second highest rates of child marriage in ASEAN (UNICEF, 2016; BPS, 2018).

The MAMPU Program works to decrease numbers of child brides by positioning women as the central agents of transformative change and working with civil society organisations and government agencies through various initiatives. These initiatives are tailored to target child marriage in accordance with the unique conditions that prevail in the different regions in which they operate.

The unique conditions and lessons learned from MAMPU partners’ approach to tackling child marriage were discussed at the International Conference on Indonesia Family Planning Reproductive Health (ICIFPRH) held in Yogyakarta on 1 October. In a session titled “My Body, My Rights”, ‘Aisyiyah, the PERMAMPU Consortium, and the Women’s Health Institute (YKP) talked about their experiences, achievements, and challenges regarding preventing child marriage in various regions across Indonesia.

The PERMAMPU Consortium works in eight provinces across Sumatra and involves community leaders, religious leaders, and the broader community in their efforts to prevent child marriage. PERMAMPU Consortium Coordinator Dina Lumbantobing explained, “In our working areas, women’s status is determined by society, culture, and religion. Therefore, involving community figures is very strategic. For example, we worked with the church in Pakpak to produce a family education booklet, a sexual and reproductive health rights booklet, and a pre-marriage booklet, each contains a wealth of information related to marriage and women’s empowerment.”

Meanwhile, the approach taken by ‘Aisyiyah in Java and Sulawesi focuses on cooperation with village governments. One notable achievement in Sulawesi was the passage of the Pati’di Village Regulation on the Prevention of Child Marriage in Pati’di, Mamuju Regency, West Sulawesi.

YKP works to overcome child marriage by providing information about sexual and reproductive health to children and teenagers. “Information accessible to teenagers is very limited because it is considered taboo. Therefore, our work targets young adults to provide information and access to reproductive health services to ensure the youth understand the risks related to child marriage”, said Nanda Dwinta, Director of YKP.

In addition to these three MAMPU Partners, representatives from youth organisations in Yogyakarta and Aceh also shared their experiences of working with young people in their respective regions.