Local networks have been set up in three places in Indonesia under the name KPAD (Kelompok Perlingdungan Anak Desa). These networks, or committees, are a result of the collaboration between various Indonesian organisations and the Yes I Do Alliance. The objective is to protect children and youngsters and inform them about their rights, their bodies and the choices they can make in their lives.
The Yes I Do Alliance started up in 2016 and comprises Plan International Nederland, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Rutgers and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In six countries the Yes I Do Alliance is jointly tackling issues underlying girls’ circumcision, child marriages and teenage pregnancies by amongst other teaching young people about sexuality and their rights and by providing economic opportunities to girls and young women. The programme is being implemented in Indonesia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Control over a girl’s body
In Indonesia, as soon as a girl gets married she often has to stop school and her husband takes control. More often than not, she becomes the (too-)young mother of a child born into a new generation, destined to grow up in poverty. Alongside poverty, the taboo associated with premarital sex is a major driver of the high number of child marriages in Indonesia. It is known there as zina, which means illicit sex, or fornication. A sexual relationship endorsed by a wedding ring, however, is permitted (even if the couple themselves are still children).
Ida’s mother also married young, as did her grandmother and her great-grandmother. Neither of them had reached the age of 18. And that is also the fate of one in nine girls in Indonesia. Time might seem to stand still in Ida’s village, surrounded as it is by lush green hills and picturesque waterfalls. But behind the façade – just like on other Indonesian islands – a bitter struggle ensues over a woman’s body.