Strategic Partnership with Muslim Religious Leaders In Family Planning

25 April 2017

Speech of the UNFPA Representative at the Opening Ceremony of SSTC Training on Strategic Partnership with Muslim Religious Leaders in Family Planning

Yogyakarta, 25 April 2017


Dr.Sanjoyo – Deputy for Training, Research and Development, BKKBN
Mr SetyaUtama – Secretary, Ministry of State Secretariat
Mr. Mukhtar Bakti – Director, Center for International Training and Collaboration, BKKBN
Assistant Secretary of the Government of Yogyakarta
Mr. AanJumhanaMulyana – Chairperson of Yogyakarta Provincial BKKBN
Distinguished Trainers/Facilitators;
Distinguished Participants from six countries: Chad, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan.
Ladies and Gentlemen


Good Morning, SelamatPagi

I am really delighted to be here today to represent UNFPA in welcoming you to the Fifth International Training on Strategic Partnerships with Muslim Religious Leaders in Family Planning in Yogyakarta this week. Exactly one year ago, on 25 April 2016, we opened the Fourth Training which was attended by 25 participants from 10 countries.

UNFPA is ever so proud to be partnering with Government on this critical leading programme. Our sincere appreciation goes to the Ministry of State Secretariat and BKKBN – the National Population and Family Planning Board – for supporting this initiative.

I am confident that you have significant experience in your countries in this area and will be able to share this with other participants and those facilitating this meeting during the next few days.

You will be stimulated to discuss and observe the family planning programme from Islamic perspectives. You will discuss what are the roles of human beings in Islam, how Islam sees family planning, what are the approaches to involve the Muslim Religious Leaders in family planning, what are their roles in the family planning. You will also be exposed to the roles of some Islamic organizations such as NahdatulUlama and Muhammadiyah in the family planning programme. For several days, you will also observe also family planning activities that are done by Muslim organizations. I really hope you enjoy these activities and take the opportunity to share with each other your own successes from your own countries.

In this programme you will also learn that in Indonesia, the roles of Muslim religious leaders in family planning were recognized since the beginning of the Family Planning programme in the late 1960s. These roles of  Muslim religious leaders were not  only limited to endorsement of the family planning through fatwas, religious decisions that guide Muslim followers to adopt family planning and use contraception, but also topreaching and providing information and education related to family planning to the people they served;

The two biggest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, NahdatulUlama and Muhammadiyah, endorsed fatwas supporting family planning programme in 1968-1969. The Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI) in 1970-1980s also endorsed several fatwas related to contraceptive methods;

NahdatulUlama, the first biggest Muslim organization also provides support to family planning programme through preaching their followers, and spreading knowledge and information to students in their thousands of Islamic boarding schools;

Muhammadiyah as the second biggest organization has hundreds of hospitals and clinics that provide family planning services. In addition, Muhammadiyah also has thousands of schools and universities that provide family planning information to their students;

Without the support of the Muslim religious leaders, the family planning programme in Indonesia could not have been successful in contributing to the decline in the total fertility rate from 5.6 at the beginning of the programme to 2.3 now

It should be noted, however, that not all Muslim Religious Leaders support the family planning programme. There are groups of Muslim Religious Leaders who are against family planning. Research is being undertaken by Islamic academics to better understand the positions of this opposition and justification is being developed to help them have a better understanding based on the Koran, Hadiths and Islamic teachings.

Other countries have come and learned from Indonesia about the success of family planning programme which was made possible also because of the support of Muslim religious leaders.

Since 2011 the South-South Triangular Cooperation on Strategic Partnership with Muslim Religious Leaders has been shared to other developing countries. To date, more than104 Muslim Religious Leaders from 16 countries have attended this programme of BKKBN.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have worked as UNFPA Representative in two Muslim countries: Afghanistan and Indonesia (right now), and strongly supported a programme for the involvement of Muslim Religious Leaders.

I know that the goal of family planning which is to ensure the health and the welfare of the family is in-line with Islamic teachings. References in the Qur’an to the family planning relate to the health of the mothers, the health of the children and wellbeing of the family. Ensuring births are not too close, too frequent, to women who are not too old, or not too young is critical and can be facilitated through family planning.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

You among us, who are religious leaders, are critical to individuals, families and communities.

You among us, who are religious leaders, hold the key to life for many families. Religious leaders shape individual and community behaviour. Religious leaders are at the juncture where religion, science, technology, culture, morality and human behaviour intersect, including around maternal health, reproductive health and family planning.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I encourage you to go beyond information sharing in this workshop. I hope you will question, challenge, discuss, reflect and share religious perspectives. Ialso hope you will be inspired by Indonesia’s experience. I hope this will become for you a game changer to improving family planning information and services in your communities by discussing issues with likeminded persons, and with the extremely committed and well researched facilitators who hold a wealth of knowledge and experience. Dr Risman Musa and Dr Fuqon al Faried, who have written books on this subject, will be facilitating this workshop. In fact they have studied and written about Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Gender from Islamic perspectives. Their books have been provided to you in your reading package.

I would like to encourage you to develop plans of action to which you hold yourselves accountable – with specific deliverables that you would like to have happen as a result of the experience shared this week.

By connecting to the alumni network you can yourselves connect with each other when you are back home and continue to share experiences, questions andperspectives.

UNFPA will work closely together with the Government of Indonesia especially BKKBN, Ministry of State Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Coordination Team for South-South and Triangular Cooperation to communicate with you when you return home and provide continuing support to you in your respective activities.

I hope that this meeting will further inspire you to do more and become that beacon that your countries so need to improve the lives of mothers, children and families.

Thank you, Terimakasih.