Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, much progress has been achieved in terms of population. However, the objective of ICPD to achieve a comprehensive service on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is still far from realization. The total number of youths in Asia-Pacific alone reaches half of the global population of youths. In Indonesia itself, one of five people is between 15-24 years old, or approximately 63 million lives (33% of the total Indonesian population), but Indonesia's policies and programs have yet to pay a sufficient attention to youths.
On one hand, Law on Health No. 36/2009 regulates the rights and responsibilities of health care and the government's responsibilities for the provision of health care, including providing the relevant resources to enable the health sector to provide health care for the people. On the other hand, the existing policies have not been translated into concrete programs to cater to youths' reproductive health needs. Moreover, Law No. 1/1974 which regulates the right for girls aged 16 and boys aged 19 to marry should also be reviewed as it is one of the factors that fosters early marriages. This subsequently results in pregnancies at a young age, when their reproductive systems have not yet developed enough, causing an increase in pregnancy risks leading to maternal deaths. As a result, maternal mortality in Indonesia happens to very young mothers. The 2012 SDKI data demonstrated the sharp increase of Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Indonesia which reached 359/100,000 live births. Therefore, Indonesian youths are still unprepared to face the challenges of reproductive health and the responsibilities they would face when they enter their reproductive years. Based on this condition, Women Research Institute (WRI) designed a program to enhance the access of reproductive health care for youths.
- To know the government's policies and programs to address the needs of youths, particularly in SRHR education
- To know the perspectives of non-governmental agencies on the condition and needs of adolescent SRHR
- To know youths' perspectives as the beneficiaries of SRHR education for youths
- To build a network with youth groups and/or create a new youth group to provide reproductive healthcare for youths, such as SRHR education for youths.
In commemoration of the Human Rights Day and in the effort to increase the access to reproductive health services for adolescents, the Women Research Institute (WRI) held a Seminar and Public Discussion under the theme “Sex Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for Youths.” This seminar was held on 18 December 2013 at the Grand Kemang Hotel, Jakarta.
In this seminar, WRI featured 4 speakers from various elements that are involved in the fulfilment of adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education, namely:
Mr. Roy Tjiong, Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Family Planning
Mr. Taufik Rahman, Provincial Department of Education, DKI Jakarta
Mrs. Maria Ulfa, Commissioner of the Indonesian Commission on Child Protection (KPAI)
Ms. Faiqoh, Chair of the Independent Youth Alliance (ARI)
The event was opened with WRI’s movie screening on the reproductive health rights for adolescents through a study case of adolescent reproductive health in Gunung Kidul, Central Java. This was followed with a presentation from the speakers.
Generally, adolescents need reproductive health education because in reality there are still many parties that consider reproductive health or sex education as subjects that are too taboo to be discussed and taught. As a result, many teenagers are too embarrassed to seek information from a more knowledgeable source, which may result in more dangerous impacts. The 2010 data from Statistics Indonesia illustrate that more than 128,000 children aged 10-14 have been married; and 3 from 10 girls experienced unplanned pregnancies. Violence, both physical and sexual, also occurred more in the family and school environments, whereas children do not understand how they should react when someone attempts sexual harassment or sexual abuse on them.
Therefore, sex education is greatly necessary to be taught as early as possible. Other than parents, the school and peer groups also have an important role in providing reproductive health education for students. Several parties that are considered responsible in this case are counseling teachers, school committees, health cadres for adolescents, and the students themselves. It is also important for schools to include this theme in the school curriculum. Moreover, stigmas towards teenagers who are curious about reproductive health should also be eliminated. The traditional approach, which only depends on moral and religious approaches, is also inadequate as it will only cause teenagers to be even more introvert and to experiment on their own.
Therefore, efforts from various parties are needed to help disseminate the importance of reproductive health for children and teenagers. Realising the importance of this issue, WRI held seminars in Jakarta and Bandung as part of WRI’s programmes and as a replicating form of the previous programmes in Gunung Kidul District, Central Java. For more information regarding this seminar, please download the report from the following attachment (PDF in Bahasa Indonesia).