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Governments of Indonesia, The Netherlands and UNICEF join forces to tackle HIV and AIDS in Papua and Papua Barat

© UNICEF/Harimawan
The signing of the agreement between the Dutch Embassy and UNICEF.

JAKARTA, 3 December 2009 – A new partnership between the Governments of Indonesia, the Netherlands and UNICEF in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat was signed today in a renewed effort to reduce the threat of HIV and AIDS.

The new agreement will see the Government of the Netherlands contribute US $5.6 million (52.6 billion Indonesian rupiahs) over the next four years in support of efforts to bring HIV and AIDS awareness and understanding to young people through the school system in the two provinces.

The initiative will increase the level of knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention amongst young people, and encourage safe behaviour that reduces the risk of contracting HIV. The funding will also help strengthen systems within education departments to raise the profile of HIV awareness in the school sector, through training of teachers, new educational materials and development of policy.

Welcoming the new partnership UNICEF Representative in Indonesia Ms. Angela Kearney said, “HIV and AIDS continue to be a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of Indonesian young people and it is only through effective education and understanding amongst young people that can we keep that threat under control.”

“No single agency can undertake this task alone, and so constructive partnerships such as this involving the governments of Indonesia and the Netherlands are critical to protecting young people from HIV,” she added. “Together we can bring our respective strengths to ensure that both policy and practice on HIV prevention deliver the best safeguards to young people who may be at risk.”

Ms. Kearney was represented by Deputy Representative Marcoluigi Corsi. The secretary of the National Aids Commission, Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, was also present at the signing.

Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Indonesia, Ms. J. G. M. (Anniemieke) Ruigrok, said: “This new partnership can bring fundamental change to Tanah Papua, and that can have a big impact on behavioural change of young people and on increased knowledge about HIV and Aids.”

© UNICEF/Harimawan
Tanah Papua officials, UNAIDS, KPAN, the Dutch Embassy and UNICEF present at the signing.

She added that, “Education and HIV and Aids are inextricably linked. On one hand, the chances of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All goals are severely threatened by HIV and AIDS. On the other hand, global commitments to strategies, policies and programmes that reduce the vulnerability of children and young people to HIV will not be met without the full contribution of the education sector.”

The new programme will emphasise the active participation of young people, and include activities beyond just formal schools – for example through the use of sports, performing arts, youth centres and even targeting local areas where young people congregate to bring home information about HIV, its dangers and its prevention. The collaborative approach will be the first of its kind in Indonesia – The Health Ministry’s Indonesia Demographic and Health Survey (2008) state that in Papua HIV prevalence rates are twenty times higher the national average among the general population, and are especially high amongst young people; one reason why the partners are focusing on these areas.

“It is important not only to help young people understand what HIV is, and why they should be concerned about AIDS, but also ensure they have the knowledge and information that will enable them to practice behaviours that protect themselves,” said Ms. Kearney. “As a result, a whole generation of Indonesians could benefit from this initiative.”

Ms. Ruigrok added, “The provincial and district governments in Tanah Papua have shown a strong commitment to mainstreaming HIV and Aids into their education planning and programme. This is key to the success of this new initiative.”

 

 
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