Tulodo appointed by UNICEF Indonesia to help prevent child marriage and improve menstrual health

A mother and her son in Welado, Ajangale, Bone, South Sulawesi

Tulodo is pleased to announce our appointment by UNICEF Indonesia to support their work to prevent child marriage and improve menstrual health. Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest child population, which means we have the potential to impact more than 80 million children. UNICEF and Tulodo take this responsibility seriously and are committed to ensuring that children and adolescents – the building blocks of Indonesia’s future – have an equal chance in life.

According to UNICEF, marriage before the age of 18 years is a fundamental violation of human rights. Many factors interact to place a child at risk of marriage, including poverty, the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’, family honor, social norms, customary or religious laws that condone the practice, an inadequate legislative framework and the state of a country’s civil registration system. While the practice is more common among girls than boys, it is a violation of rights regardless of gender.

According to Indonesia’s Marriage Law No.1 of 1974, a marriage is considered legal if the female is already aged 16 years (19 years for men). However, the 1974 Law also allows marriages to be considered legal for younger people if they are agreed by parents and done in accordance with religious belief, known as nikah siri. Marriages recognized by religious courts or officials are often then later officially recognized by the government. Many people are also satisfied with merely fulfilling religious or traditional requirements for marriage. 

The rising number of child marriages had reached “emergency” status as stated by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection in 2018. The 2016 National Social and Economic Survey (SUSENAS) revealed that one out of nine girls was married for the first time before they turned 18. UNICEF data ranks Indonesia seventh in the world and second highest in Southeast Asia in terms of the percentage of marriages in which at least one of the spouses is under 18 years.

Child marriage often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence. Marriage may similarly place boys in an adult role for which they are unprepared, and may place economic pressures on them and curtail their opportunities for further education or career advancement.

IMG-20190711-WA0007Data collection for baseline research related to child marriage with parents who have children aged 13-15 years, in Bone, South Sulawesi

A quality high-school education can transform a girl’s future, yet many adolescent girls miss school or even drop out altogether for another reason: menstruation. Schools often lack the supplies and sanitation facilities girls need for managing their periods. Girls without adequate health care may feel discomfort or pain. Shame, stigma and misinformation may discourage girls from attending school while menstruating and prevent schools from teaching healthy attitudes about menstruation. Many girls stay home to avoid being teased. UNICEF and partners are working around the world to support menstruating girls by providing sanitation facilities and educational resources and encouraging the community support girls need to stay in school and to feel good about their bodies and themselves.

Combining the two issues of child marriage and menstrual health is effective, as one of the reasons for child marriage is pregnancy. And one of the reasons for pregnancy is a lack of knowledge about the menstrual cycle among girls and boys. For this pilot project in Bone, South Sulawesi, Tulodo will conduct formative research and a baseline study. Then we will conduct an assessment and capacity building plan with UNICEF partners. Following this, Tulodo will develop a theory of change, monitoring and evaluation framework, behavior change strategy, and communication materials. The strategy will include advocacy for adolescent girl-centered policies, curricula and IEC materials at national level with government and other partners, focusing on child marriage prevention and menstrual health.

The UNICEF – Child Marriage project is supported by Global Affairs Canada which is funded by the Government of Canada.  

About UNICEF Indonesia

UNICEF Indonesia’s country programme (2016–2020) is based on equity. It works to realize the rights for children – especially for the most deprived and excluded – as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and articulated in Indonesia’s National Medium-Term Development Plan. UNICEF supports the Government to put children first and invest in children’s survival, development and protection. UNICEF assists partners to monitor and measure progress against these rights via the child-focused Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable children. UNICEF’s interventions are rights-based, cut across different sectors, respond to the specific needs of girls and boys and address the vulnerabilities and strengths of children. UNICEF has a strong on-the-ground presence in Indonesia, with seven regional and sub-regional offices. These are primarily in areas with the greatest disparities and service gaps. They complement UNICEF’s high-level policy and programme advice with practical support for planning, financing and service delivery, especially to advocate for quality, equity and sustainability.

Contact: jakarta@unicef.com

Website: www.unicef.org/indonesia

About Tulodo

Tulodo is a consulting, project management and incubation agency specializing in social and behavior change. We help clients to solve environment, health, governance, education, technology, human rights, microfinance, water, safety and many other issues. We provide services in research, strategy, design and development, management, capacity building, marketing and communications, evaluation and fundraising. Tulodo is a different kind of organization. We have the client service, results focus and creativity of a marketing agency. We provide the expertise, research and capability development of a university. And we bring the social focus, community and passion of a non-profit organization. We’re as capable with mobile solutions, big data and user centred design as we are with community mobilization, capacity building and partnership. Tulodo has a presence in Indonesia, Australia and Timor-Leste, as well as partners throughout the Asia Pacific region and globally. We believe that government, community, business, non-profit, industry and multilateral organisations should have access to proven expertise, no matter what the project size. 

Contact: admin@tulodo.com

Website: www.tulodo.com

Published by

Nicholas Goodwin

Behaviour change and international development guy.

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