How does the GUSO programme benefit the youth in Indonesia and what is the role of Simavi in this?
“The GUSO programme aims to empower young people in Indonesia by providing them with comprehensive knowledge and skills about sexual and reproductive health, rights and services that fulfil their needs, as well as create a supportive social, culture and political environment so that they can exercise their rights.
In general, the GUSO programme in Indonesia and Simavi’s partner, IHAP, work together to empower young people in Kupang by building their capacity (in leadership, sexuality, and advocacy), facilitating them to establish a youth network and meaningfully involving them in the programme. We also ensure the provision of: information and education on comprehensive sexuality at schools and communities; youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services at Primary Health Care (Puskesmas) and private clinics. Finally, we create a supportive social and policy environment for young people to be able to access these services and exercise their SRHR.
In the future, I would like to see more collaborations between GUSO and Simavi Indonesia; for example, in areas that GUSO focuses on, like safe abortion, in exchange Simavi can work with GUSO on menstrual hygiene.”
What are the strategies you employ to engage the youth?
“In general, young people in Indonesia are very eager to learn and talk about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This topic is rarely discussed by their teachers or parents, so whenever they have a safe space to discuss SRHR they always have a lot of questions to ask.
On a structural level, we involve young people in different ways in every cycle of our programme: we provide opportunities and support for them to be meaningfully involved as board members, peer educators, facilitators, programme managers and volunteers. We also have young people in our Country Coordinating Mechanism, which is the highest decision making body of the programme, young people as officers in GUSO partners, young people in the PMEL working group, as well as young people in advocacy working groups in our intervention areas.”
What did you take away from the recent National Programme Coordinator’s meeting in the Netherlands - and what was the most interesting thing you saw?
“I learned that there are many different ways to engage young people meaningfully in a programme, as well as in strengthening and sustaining the SHRH alliance. I was also interested to see how national social, cultural, and political contexts are a significant influence on how a programme is designed and implemented. Our field visit (to an abortion clinic) was also very inspiring. It showed how a state fulfils and protects the rights of women, and that a woman’s decision regarding her body can be respected.”