Stickers containing campaigns on child protection affixed to a door of one of the residents of Menoro village, Rembang, Central Java, April 19, 2017. (JG Photo / Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

No Means No: Putting a Stop to Child Marriage and Teen Pregnancy

APRIL 20, 2017

More than half of women aged between 15 and 24 years old in Rembang, Central Java, get pregnant before they reach the age of 20 — revealing the worrying fact that child marriage and teenage pregnancy remain to be major problems in Indonesia.

The data came from a survey conducted by an NGO called CREDOS in the villages of Woro and Sendangmulyo in Rembang, Central Java.


The survey was part of the "Yes I Do" program managed by Rutgers WPF Indonesia, the Independent Youth Alliance (ARI) and Plan International Indonesia.

The study conducted by CREDOS Institution shows that there is a tendency to decrease the marriage age of children in Rembang. Nevertheless, on average, the marriage rate of children in these two sub-districts is still far above the national average age of marriage age.

"Around 33 percent of women in the area get married of before the age of 18. The national figure is closer to 25 percent, and in Central Java it's an even lower 20 percent," said Yes I Do Project Manager Amrullah said.

According to Amrullah, the main causes of child marriage are poverty, getting pregnant before marriage, lack of understanding of reproductive health and other sociocultural aspects.

"One in four women who were forced into child marriage said they did so at the request of their parents," he said

The study recommends training and educating children so they are more equipped for life before they get married. Especially, young women need to be taught about reproductive health so they can prevent unwanted pregnancy.

To that end, Plan International Indonesia in partnership with Rutgers WPF Indonesia and ARI have been conducting the Yes I Do program in three areas in Indonesia: Rembang, Lombok and Sukabumi.

A young woman minds her daughter in Menoro, a village in Rembang, Central Java, on April 19, 2017. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Notice boards are used in Menoro to educate residents about the problems of child marriage and teen pregnancy. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Volunteers attend a 'Yes I Do' meeting in Menoro on April 19, 2017. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

A child protection sticker on the door of a house in Menoro. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

A young mother takes her daughter to school on a motorcycle in Menoro on April 19, 2017. Child marriage is one of the main causes of school dropouts in the area. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

A resident walks past a 'Stop violence against children' poster in Rembang, Central Java, on April 19, 2017. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

A wooden sign marks the house of a local midwife in Menoro. Lack of understanding of reproductive health is one of the major causes of teen pregnancy in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)