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Empowering Youth through Health and Reproductive Rights Education

By: Widiyasri Lodu, EBPP EMpower Facilitator 

On April 3rd, we started the health and reproductive rights education module as part of our EMpower extracurricular youth empowerment program which is crucial for teenagers who are already experiencing  puberty. It's essential for them to fully understand these changes, both biologically and psychologically. We're not just imparting knowledge; we're also empowering children to make informed decisions about their health and reproductive rights.

The lessons on reproductive health and rights are particularly crucial, especially in the six villages that are part of the EBPP program, where child marriage remains a significant concern. Child marriage is closely intertwined with health and reproductive rights. When children marry at a young age, they are often not physically or mentally prepared to manage aspects of reproductive health adequately. Furthermore, children's reproductive rights are frequently compromised in early marriages. They may lack sufficient access to information about reproductive health, safe healthcare services, or control over their bodies and sexual lives.

One student said, "My friend, who got married at a young age, can no longer enjoy recreation time like me, and she often faces challenging issues."

Therefore, it's crucial to advocate for delaying marriage until they reach a more mature age – at least 19 in accordance with Indonesian government laws - ensuring children have equal access to comprehensive sexual education and safe reproductive healthcare services; and fighting for children's rights to make informed decisions based on their own knowledge and autonomy regarding their bodies and reproduction. Thus, we can promote the creation of a healthier and more empowered future for the younger generation.

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