TANAH PAPUA, Indonesia, 8 July 2015 - A pilot initiative to engage men and boys in Papua on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues and on the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) was launched in Jayapura on Wednesday by UNFPA Indonesia.
The Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise presented the keynote address and joined UNFPA Indonesia’s Representative Mr. Jose Ferraris to launch the initiative entitled Men Care Papua, which was developed in partnership with the non-profit organization Rutgers WPF (World Population Foundation) Indonesia.
“Evidence demonstrates that male engagement plays a core role in addressing gender inequality. By involving men in policy and programme discussions we can confront the underlying gender norms and values that lead to discriminatory behaviours,” explained Mr. Ferraris during his opening address.
“We can challenge the structures that reinforce male advantage, and strengthen those that support gender equality. By engaging men we learn that when it comes to encouraging family planning, the reproductive health of women, decreasing the rates of violence against women and changing old conceptions about masculinity – men matter.”
Under the direction of the Men Care Papua initiative, men are encouraged to play an equal role as caregivers to improve child and maternal health and promote sexual and reproductive health. The approach also encourages men to take responsibility for an equal division of labour in their households in order to encourage them to interact with their partners with an attitude of mutual respect, promoting relationships that are equitable, healthy and free from violence.
Despite significant improvements in national health outcomes over the years, Papua’s maternal health continues to lag behind other parts of Indonesia.
In Papua, 16 percent of women begin childbearing between the ages of 15-19 years – a figure that is twice as high as the national figure. Health providers in Papua are not trained to deal with adolescent reproductive health issues, and hospitals and community health centres are generally unable to provide youth-friendly health services.
Family planning is also not common practice in Papua, with the use of any modern methods of contraceptives among married couples very low. The contraceptive prevalence rate in Papua is only 24.5 percent – which is quite low compared to the national coverage at 61 percent.
The province also suffers from a generalized HIV epidemic, with an HIV prevalence rate of 2.4 percent amongst 15-49 year olds. This is triggered mainly by unsafe sexual behaviour. Violence against women and children (VAWC) is also high. According to the National Socio Economic Survey on VAWC in 2006, Papua had the highest prevalence of VAWC in Indonesia.
“It is statistics like these, indicating pervasive gender inequality, which led to Papua being selected as the pilot location for the new male engagement initiative,” explained Mr. Ferraris, during his speech in Papua’s capital city on Wednesday.
“A second reason was because the Government and civil society organizations in Papua are truly committed to working to address these challenges.”
During the launch, the Rutgers WPF Director Ms. Monique Soesman and the Men Care Papua Programme Manager Ms. Siska Noya also shared success stories and the achievements of the same programme from Lampung, East Java, Yogyakarta and Jakarta.
UNFPA Indonesia will continue its work on engaging men and boys as part of its Eighth Country Programme – which ends at the end of this year. Having already rolled out a module to engage men and boys on SRH and GBV nationally, the Men Care Papua initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders at a local level.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Samidjo, National Programme Officer for Advocacy, UNFPA Indonesia
+62 812 106 8328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Sandra Siagian, Media and Communications Consultant, UNFPA Indonesia
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