Canada joins hands with Bappenas, UNFPA and UNICEF to launch new initiative on reproductive health and gender equality in Indonesia

10 December 2018
Child Marriage
UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Jakarta, 10 December 2018 - Inequality between women and men and gender-based violence remain serious concerns in Indonesia. To help address this situation, a programme called “BERANI,” or Better Reproductive Health and Rights for All in Indonesia, is launched today by UNFPA and UNICEF in partnership with Bappenas and the Government of Canada. The name derives from the Indonesian word berani, which means courageous.  

The purpose of the BERANI programme is to support the Government of Indonesia to transform reproductive health and rights for women and young people in Indonesia. Through this project, the quality of skilled birth attendants will increase, thereby decreasing the maternal mortality rate. Young people will have increased access to reproductive health information and services through adolescent reproductive health education as well as private-sector youth-friendly health services (UNALA). The programme also aims to change attitudes around practices of child marriage and gender-based violence, through increased focus on advocacy, evidence generation, capacity building and partnerships.

Prominent speakers engaged in a public discussion marking the final day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence Campaign on important issues affecting the lives of women and girls – including Prof.  Sulistyowati Irianto from University of Indonesia, Ibu Werdiastuti, Assistant Deputy for the participation of Religious and Community Organizations at the Indonesian Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, a representative from a youth network, and a representative from the Indonesian Midwives’ Association.

Investing in women and girls is an important strategy toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Indonesia. They make up half the population but often do not receive the information and services they need to thrive. For example, one in nine girls is married before the age of 18 in Indonesia and then often leaves education unfinished to take part in married life, creating a cycle of poverty that continues to their children’s lives.[1]Eliminating child marriage would mean that girls complete their education, find jobs and contribute to the economy, and could increase GDP by more than 1.7%.[2]

BAPPENAS appreciated the initiative and emphasized that, “The BERANI programme is very strategic as it addresses the unfinished agenda within the country’s development framework and has a clear link with the current SDGs gaps that the country is addressing.” BAPPENAS noted that, “The BERANI programme is aligned with existing national programmes and hopes to facilitate appropriate strategies for sustainability of the programme,” said Mr. Subandi Sardjoko, Deputy Minister for Human and Societal Development and Cultural Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS).

The Government of Canada is pleased to be partnering with UNFPA and UNICEF to work on these issues through the BERANI programme. In June 2017, Canada launched its Feminist International Assistance Policy, which identifies gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as the foundation of its assistance. Canada recognizes this is the best way to reduce poverty. As part of Canada’s engagement on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, Canada committed $650 million globally over three years to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. “Canada believes that women and girls can change the world: if given equal opportunities to succeed, they can be powerful agents of change, which means, driving stronger economic growth, encouraging greater peace and cooperation, and improving the quality of life for their families and their communities,” remarked Peter MacArthur, Ambassador of Canada to Indonesia.

Canada’s new policy resonates with the mandates of UNFPA and UNICEF in Indonesia in the collective effort to achieve Agenda 2030, especially Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 3 on Good Health and Well-being.

The focus of the BERANI Programme is on addressing the right to access quality reproductive health care by all, especially marginalized and disadvantaged women and girls. Empowering women and girls, and meeting their needs for education and health, including reproductive health, are necessary for both individual advancement and equitable development. Advancing gender equality, eliminating violence against women and harmful practices as well as ensuring women have access to reproductive health services and information are cornerstones of a country’s development and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.” said UNFPA Representative in Indonesia, Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson.  

In Indonesia, one in six girls currently misses school every month due to menstruation and a lack of appropriate facilities at school. Furthermore, girls who marry before the age of 18 are four times less likely to complete secondary school than girls who marry later. The BERANI project aims to improve the well-being of girls by empowering them to stay in school, to make healthy decisions, and to thrive.

“Prioritizing girls’ education is a powerful strategy to ending child marriage and ensuring that girls are able to fulfil their potential. The longer a girl stays in school, the longer a marriage is delayed and the more time a girl has to develop her skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. We want to ensure that each and every girl has the right and ability to finish their education, to enter the formal workforce, and to contribute to society and the economy. By delaying marriage and pregnancy, girls will be better able to nourish and care for their children, leading to healthier families for generations,” said Debora Comini, UNICEF’s Representative in Indonesia.

UNFPA, UNICEF and the Government of Canada, in collaboration with BAPPENAS and line ministries (including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Ministry of Education and Culture), Indonesian Midwives Association, Yayasan Siklus Sehat Indonesia and Faith Based Organizations are committed to supporting women and girls in Indonesia so that they can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the development of their families and communities, in this way contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia.

Media contacts

Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842

About Bappenas

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