Woman at a radio station (Photo by Jeroen van Loon)

Indonesia: First app launched containing SRHR information for young people

Recently Rutgers Indonesia, in cooperation with all eight partners of the ASK programme, launched a smartphone app ‘Sobat Ask’, which translates to ‘Ask your friend’. It is the first app for Indonesian young people that allows them to gain access to accurate, reliable, non-judgemental and youth-friendly information regarding a range of subjects relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sobat Ask app snippetYoung people in Indonesia have broad access to the Internet. They are vulnerable to become victims of violence on the Internet. Cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and also fraud often experienced by adolescents in the absence of prevention efforts. Therefore, an availability ofinternet services which are youth-friendly and accessible is highly needed.

Links to health care

Until now Indonesia was lacking in the provision of accurate, reliable, non-judgemental and youth-friendly SRH information for young people on the Internet. That is why the app ‘Sobat Ask’ was developed. And apart from providing SRH information, the app also links to high quality healthcare facilities which are available and accessible for young people in Indonesia.

Sensitive issues

Young people can access ‘Sobat Ask’ individually on their smartphone. No one sees what kind of information they are looking at. The app also provides information on sensitive issues such as the risk of drugs, (symptoms of) STIs , violence, (cyber)bullying and sexual diversity like homosexuality.

Online course

Besides the ‘Sobat Ask’ app, there is also an online course which complements the various modules of SRH education for children and adolescents used in Indonesian schools. In Indonesia sexuality education is compulsory at all levels of education. The online course or e-course is rooted in its rights-based approach. In the process of making the course teachers and education experts were involved. 

Background

Devloping the app and the online course is part of the ASK programme. This international programme aims to improve the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of young people (10-24). By provision of SRHR information to young people in a youth-friendly way, by creating an environment that enables them to effectuate those rights, and by support and provision of for example contraceptives, condoms and family planning consultations, their uptake of SRH services is expected to increase.

Operational research, a cross-cutting component of the ASK programme to inform interventions, was conducted to ensure that both tools, the e-course and the app where relevant and applicable for young people, and that information was provided in a youth-friendly way.

Rutgers Indonesia along with partners during 2014 did research on adolescents' access to information on sexuality and reproductive health in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and East Java. As a result, even though internet penetration rate in Indonesia is very high, the access is still uneven. In addition, although the information is widely available on the Internet, it is still difficult to find information that is credible and youth-friendly such as the risk of drugs, sexually transmitted infections, violence, bullying and sexual diversity.

 

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