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Stories

Latest stories from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Story

Frontlines of Progress: Spotlight on Regional Initiatives in Cervical Cancer Elimination

Our Member Associations in the region are dedicated to preventing, treating, and eliminating cervical cancer.

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| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

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story

| 18 October 2023

Convergence For Change 2023: IPPF ESEAOR Regional Gathering and Youth Forum Highlights

In a remarkable show of unity and dedication, 95 dynamic delegates and youth leaders representing 24 Member Associations from the East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania Region convened in Bali, Indonesia, from October 16-18. This gathering, "Convergence For Change: Regional Meeting and Youth Forum," was a transformative platform for engaging presentations, insightful panel discussions, and a rich exchange of ideas. To be impactful in a changing world, IPPF must also evolve. This is the essence of Strategy 2028: The transformation of IPPF to effectively champion Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for those who have been marginalised or excluded, with a strong focus on people-centred care, advancing the sexuality agenda, fostering solidarity for change, and nurturing the federation.  Tomoko Fukuda, IPPF ESEAOR Regional Director, set the tone for this momentous occasion with a resounding call to "bring the power together" and embark on a bold, forward-looking journey to address new challenges and opposition head-on. Strategy 2028 sets a new course that may be more challenging but ultimately leads to the same clear destination.

group photo
story

| 18 October 2023

Convergence For Change 2023: IPPF ESEAOR Regional Gathering and Youth Forum Highlights

In a remarkable show of unity and dedication, 95 dynamic delegates and youth leaders representing 24 Member Associations from the East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania Region convened in Bali, Indonesia, from October 16-18. This gathering, "Convergence For Change: Regional Meeting and Youth Forum," was a transformative platform for engaging presentations, insightful panel discussions, and a rich exchange of ideas. To be impactful in a changing world, IPPF must also evolve. This is the essence of Strategy 2028: The transformation of IPPF to effectively champion Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for those who have been marginalised or excluded, with a strong focus on people-centred care, advancing the sexuality agenda, fostering solidarity for change, and nurturing the federation.  Tomoko Fukuda, IPPF ESEAOR Regional Director, set the tone for this momentous occasion with a resounding call to "bring the power together" and embark on a bold, forward-looking journey to address new challenges and opposition head-on. Strategy 2028 sets a new course that may be more challenging but ultimately leads to the same clear destination.

A picture of Talia
story

| 29 June 2023

Trans & Proud: Being Transgender in the Cook Islands

It’s a scene like many others around the world: a loving family pour over childhood photos, giggling and reminiscing about the memories. This particular scene takes place amongst the swaying palm trees and soft breeze rolling over the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and the child they are cooing over – then named Nathanial – is now a beautiful transgender woman, Natalia.   Born in New Zealand to Cook Islanders parents, 36-year-old Natalia (Talia) Lajpold, says she has always known she was female. Talia grew up in Australia and began her transitioning process at the age of 15. In the last year of her schooling, Talia decided to wear the girl’s uniform to school but was met with disapproval from the school authorities.   "A lot of people think [being transgender] is a choice but if I had a choice, I would choose for things to be normal, the way I was born. Because it’s really hard. High school was hard."   Being bullied by her peers as well as facing disapproval from teachers made school the primary source of rejection Talia faced as a young transgender girl. Throughout her childhood, she was criticised for her personality, interests and behaviour for being ‘too feminine.’  “Tutors and teachers would express concern. All her friends are girls and they thought something was wrong with her. They knew what it was, but they just didn’t want to name it or acknowledge it. Interestingly, we took her to an Anglican counselling service and the counsellor admitted that there’s nothing wrong with her,” shared Talia’s mother, Carolyn.  Despite the rejection Talia faced, she received immense love and support from her family and local LGBTQIA+ friendly organisations.   “I want to be a girl,” Talia once said to her mom. She also decided to write a letter to her dad.  Although Talia was initially worried about her father’s response about her desire to transition, Talia’s father assured her of his unconditional love. “You’re my child, why would I not support you? It doesn’t matter what you want to be, you just be yourself,” said Talia’s father, Jodef.  When the school didn’t approve of her transitioning, Talia’s family transferred her to a beauty school, where she started working as a young woman.  Now living in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, Talia receives services from IPPF’s Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), including a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. She has also recently undergone gender-affirming surgery in Bangkok.  Since moving to the Cook Islands, Talia has seen immense support and acceptance towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride flags are on display throughout the island to endorse the recent decriminalization of homosexuality in April. Despite the Act never having never been applied, its symbolic nature meant that LGBTQIA+ people felt victimised and discriminated against as the law propagates a message of intolerance.  The rainbow community are integral to Cook Island’s culture. Known as Akava'ine, transgender women in the Cook Islands’ Māori culture hold cultural and societal significance where they are upheld as holders of knowledge, culture, compositions, and choreography. Talia has embraced the word Akava’ine as inspiration for the name of her homemade jewellery line.  Valery Wichman, the President of Te Tiare Association (TTA), one of the three main rainbow associations in the Cook Islands credited with advocating for the passing of the bill, explained: “Culturally and socially, we are accepted. We contribute to our community. We are considered masters of an art. It is a privileged position to have in our culture.”   Similarly, Dean Tangata, who is the Humanitarian Focal Point for CIFWA, added the significant role trans women have in the Cook Islands culture. According to Dean, “As soon as there is any event, the first people you seek out are the transgender community. You have to book them early as they are the costume makers. That's the position they hold in our cultural society - and it is a high status.”  Talia’s parents say they often receive questions about their child’s transitioning process, and they emphasise the importance of education about gender fluidity and the need to normalize LGBTQIA+ people and cultures within our communities. Talia, like many others, believes that this bill is an important milestone in reaching a brighter and more inclusive future.    Post uploaded on: ippf.org

A picture of Talia
story

| 29 June 2023

Trans & Proud: Being Transgender in the Cook Islands

It’s a scene like many others around the world: a loving family pour over childhood photos, giggling and reminiscing about the memories. This particular scene takes place amongst the swaying palm trees and soft breeze rolling over the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and the child they are cooing over – then named Nathanial – is now a beautiful transgender woman, Natalia.   Born in New Zealand to Cook Islanders parents, 36-year-old Natalia (Talia) Lajpold, says she has always known she was female. Talia grew up in Australia and began her transitioning process at the age of 15. In the last year of her schooling, Talia decided to wear the girl’s uniform to school but was met with disapproval from the school authorities.   "A lot of people think [being transgender] is a choice but if I had a choice, I would choose for things to be normal, the way I was born. Because it’s really hard. High school was hard."   Being bullied by her peers as well as facing disapproval from teachers made school the primary source of rejection Talia faced as a young transgender girl. Throughout her childhood, she was criticised for her personality, interests and behaviour for being ‘too feminine.’  “Tutors and teachers would express concern. All her friends are girls and they thought something was wrong with her. They knew what it was, but they just didn’t want to name it or acknowledge it. Interestingly, we took her to an Anglican counselling service and the counsellor admitted that there’s nothing wrong with her,” shared Talia’s mother, Carolyn.  Despite the rejection Talia faced, she received immense love and support from her family and local LGBTQIA+ friendly organisations.   “I want to be a girl,” Talia once said to her mom. She also decided to write a letter to her dad.  Although Talia was initially worried about her father’s response about her desire to transition, Talia’s father assured her of his unconditional love. “You’re my child, why would I not support you? It doesn’t matter what you want to be, you just be yourself,” said Talia’s father, Jodef.  When the school didn’t approve of her transitioning, Talia’s family transferred her to a beauty school, where she started working as a young woman.  Now living in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, Talia receives services from IPPF’s Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), including a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. She has also recently undergone gender-affirming surgery in Bangkok.  Since moving to the Cook Islands, Talia has seen immense support and acceptance towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride flags are on display throughout the island to endorse the recent decriminalization of homosexuality in April. Despite the Act never having never been applied, its symbolic nature meant that LGBTQIA+ people felt victimised and discriminated against as the law propagates a message of intolerance.  The rainbow community are integral to Cook Island’s culture. Known as Akava'ine, transgender women in the Cook Islands’ Māori culture hold cultural and societal significance where they are upheld as holders of knowledge, culture, compositions, and choreography. Talia has embraced the word Akava’ine as inspiration for the name of her homemade jewellery line.  Valery Wichman, the President of Te Tiare Association (TTA), one of the three main rainbow associations in the Cook Islands credited with advocating for the passing of the bill, explained: “Culturally and socially, we are accepted. We contribute to our community. We are considered masters of an art. It is a privileged position to have in our culture.”   Similarly, Dean Tangata, who is the Humanitarian Focal Point for CIFWA, added the significant role trans women have in the Cook Islands culture. According to Dean, “As soon as there is any event, the first people you seek out are the transgender community. You have to book them early as they are the costume makers. That's the position they hold in our cultural society - and it is a high status.”  Talia’s parents say they often receive questions about their child’s transitioning process, and they emphasise the importance of education about gender fluidity and the need to normalize LGBTQIA+ people and cultures within our communities. Talia, like many others, believes that this bill is an important milestone in reaching a brighter and more inclusive future.    Post uploaded on: ippf.org

A photo of women seeking medical help in the Medical Camp for Refugees
story

| 19 June 2023

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Medical Camps in Pakistan

In the scorching heat of the Khazana refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan, women are lining up, waiting for their turn to receive medical care. Among them are women who have walked long distances, carrying their children to reach the campsite. The medical camp, run by the Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan (R-FPAP), a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), provides a range of services, including general health check-ups and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.  Shazia was among the many women waiting in line at the mobile medical camp. When she learned about RFPAP's community awareness sessions, she decided to overcome fear and cultural taboo and attend. "My previous short-term family planning method didn't work for me, and it resulted in an unintended pregnancy. The community awareness session in a women-friendly space convinced me to consult with the medical team and choose a long-term family-planning option," she explains.  Sadia, a 28-year-old mother of four who had fled her home in Afghanistan, had no access to family planning services since leaving her country. "With four children, providing for them is becoming extremely challenging, I cannot afford to have any more. The mobile medical camps have enabled me to access a long-term family planning method and other needed services," she says.  Pakistan is home to 1.4 million Afghan refugees displaced by decades of war. Women in refugee camps face significant challenges in accessing essential healthcare services, including SRH, putting them at greater risk of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions. To address these issues, R-FPAP provides SRH services through mobile medical camps in four districts in Balochistan. Between August 2022 and January 2023, R-FPAP organised 247 medical camps to cater to the SRH needs of Afghan refugees, successfully providing a total of 140,545 SRH services to 13,303 individuals.  Supported by the Australian Government-funded RESPOND project, the medical camps primarily serve women and girls, who comprise more than 90% of their clients. Most women are married with children. They require SRH services such as obstetric, gynaecological, and antenatal care, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) support. Women in refugee camps in Pakistan face a higher risk of SGBV, leading to physical and psychological harm, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Stigma surrounding SRH issues in many communities exacerbates this problem, making it challenging for women to seek support. There is a critical need for accessible, affordable SRH services in Pakistan, especially for women facing cultural and societal barriers to healthcare.  "The RESPOND project has taken a crucial step in the right direction by providing safe spaces for Afghan refugee survivors of GBV, where they can feel safe and receive the support they need. Long-standing inequities have perpetuated harm and left survivors feeling isolated. However, we are making progress by increasing awareness and offering confidential and specialised services,” says Dr Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP.  The program's impact is evident, with over 18,000 survivors of GBV receiving support and referrals to specialist services. The medical camps are instrumental in providing essential SRH services to Afghan refugees, women and girls, helping to improve their overall health and well-being. As the women leave the camp, they do so with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, knowing they have the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communications, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF [email protected] Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP. [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A photo of women seeking medical help in the Medical Camp for Refugees
story

| 19 June 2023

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Medical Camps in Pakistan

In the scorching heat of the Khazana refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan, women are lining up, waiting for their turn to receive medical care. Among them are women who have walked long distances, carrying their children to reach the campsite. The medical camp, run by the Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan (R-FPAP), a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), provides a range of services, including general health check-ups and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.  Shazia was among the many women waiting in line at the mobile medical camp. When she learned about RFPAP's community awareness sessions, she decided to overcome fear and cultural taboo and attend. "My previous short-term family planning method didn't work for me, and it resulted in an unintended pregnancy. The community awareness session in a women-friendly space convinced me to consult with the medical team and choose a long-term family-planning option," she explains.  Sadia, a 28-year-old mother of four who had fled her home in Afghanistan, had no access to family planning services since leaving her country. "With four children, providing for them is becoming extremely challenging, I cannot afford to have any more. The mobile medical camps have enabled me to access a long-term family planning method and other needed services," she says.  Pakistan is home to 1.4 million Afghan refugees displaced by decades of war. Women in refugee camps face significant challenges in accessing essential healthcare services, including SRH, putting them at greater risk of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions. To address these issues, R-FPAP provides SRH services through mobile medical camps in four districts in Balochistan. Between August 2022 and January 2023, R-FPAP organised 247 medical camps to cater to the SRH needs of Afghan refugees, successfully providing a total of 140,545 SRH services to 13,303 individuals.  Supported by the Australian Government-funded RESPOND project, the medical camps primarily serve women and girls, who comprise more than 90% of their clients. Most women are married with children. They require SRH services such as obstetric, gynaecological, and antenatal care, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) support. Women in refugee camps in Pakistan face a higher risk of SGBV, leading to physical and psychological harm, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Stigma surrounding SRH issues in many communities exacerbates this problem, making it challenging for women to seek support. There is a critical need for accessible, affordable SRH services in Pakistan, especially for women facing cultural and societal barriers to healthcare.  "The RESPOND project has taken a crucial step in the right direction by providing safe spaces for Afghan refugee survivors of GBV, where they can feel safe and receive the support they need. Long-standing inequities have perpetuated harm and left survivors feeling isolated. However, we are making progress by increasing awareness and offering confidential and specialised services,” says Dr Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP.  The program's impact is evident, with over 18,000 survivors of GBV receiving support and referrals to specialist services. The medical camps are instrumental in providing essential SRH services to Afghan refugees, women and girls, helping to improve their overall health and well-being. As the women leave the camp, they do so with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, knowing they have the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communications, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF [email protected] Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP. [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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story

| 25 May 2023

Promoting Menstrual Hygiene and SRH to End Stigma in Indonesia

Aulia, a 15-year-old student from East Java, Indonesia, struggles to manage her menstrual hygiene while attending school, resulting in missed classes and reluctance to seek help from teachers or peers due to shame and stigma. Aulia's experience is typical for many adolescent girls worldwide, depriving them of opportunities to reach their full potential.      A recent survey in Indonesia conducted by the United Nations revealed that 1 in 5 adolescent girls encounter obstacles in accessing sanitary products due to high costs or limited mobility, while 1 in 10 feel ashamed or lack privacy when managing menstruation. To tackle these issues, the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), a Member Association of IPPF, and UNICEF have joined forces to implement a program to raise awareness among young people about menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health. The project seeks to provide extensive information on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management, promote open communication between stakeholders and young people, advocate for better school sanitation facilities, and equip adolescents with the necessary resources to manage their menstrual hygiene confidently. The joint initiative between IPPA and UNICEF aims to educate 100,000 youths on menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health while encouraging 50,000 adolescents to use the Oky app. With the support of the Australian-funded Indo-Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights COVID-19 Response (C-Surge) program, the Oky Application will be scaled up as part of the initiative. The digital tool is designed to provide youth-friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and help adolescents confidently manage their periods while supporting informed decision-making.      Aulia, who started using the app recently, shared her experience "I used to feel embarrassed talking about my period or asking questions about my body, but the Oky app has taught me so much about reproductive health in a way that is easy to understand. I feel more empowered and informed now." Meanwhile, Niken Takoy, 14, from East Nusa Tenggara, said that “the app's informative encyclopedia feature and easy-to-recognize icons have made the learning experience enjoyable and accessible.”  The joint initiative includes online workshops and sensitisation campaigns through youth centres and schools. It will be implemented across ten provinces in Indonesia: Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Riau, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, and Riau Islands. The program also features peer-to-peer learning models to facilitate knowledge sharing among young people. "Through a youth-centred approach free from fear, discrimination, and stigma, IPPA and UNICEF are determined to promote knowledge and open communication on the significance of menstrual hygiene management and the implementation of reproductive health rights in schools,” Eko Maryadi, Executive Director, IPPA.   Through empowering adolescent girls like Aulia and Niken to manage their menstrual hygiene and access crucial information, the joint initiative is making a profound impact on the lives of young people in Indonesia, enabling them to break free from shame and stigma and reach their full potential. To download the app click here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oky.id Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communication, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF ESEAOR [email protected] & Halimah Irna, National Program Coordinator, Oky, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

plain blue background image
story

| 25 May 2023

Promoting Menstrual Hygiene and SRH to End Stigma in Indonesia

Aulia, a 15-year-old student from East Java, Indonesia, struggles to manage her menstrual hygiene while attending school, resulting in missed classes and reluctance to seek help from teachers or peers due to shame and stigma. Aulia's experience is typical for many adolescent girls worldwide, depriving them of opportunities to reach their full potential.      A recent survey in Indonesia conducted by the United Nations revealed that 1 in 5 adolescent girls encounter obstacles in accessing sanitary products due to high costs or limited mobility, while 1 in 10 feel ashamed or lack privacy when managing menstruation. To tackle these issues, the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), a Member Association of IPPF, and UNICEF have joined forces to implement a program to raise awareness among young people about menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health. The project seeks to provide extensive information on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management, promote open communication between stakeholders and young people, advocate for better school sanitation facilities, and equip adolescents with the necessary resources to manage their menstrual hygiene confidently. The joint initiative between IPPA and UNICEF aims to educate 100,000 youths on menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health while encouraging 50,000 adolescents to use the Oky app. With the support of the Australian-funded Indo-Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights COVID-19 Response (C-Surge) program, the Oky Application will be scaled up as part of the initiative. The digital tool is designed to provide youth-friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and help adolescents confidently manage their periods while supporting informed decision-making.      Aulia, who started using the app recently, shared her experience "I used to feel embarrassed talking about my period or asking questions about my body, but the Oky app has taught me so much about reproductive health in a way that is easy to understand. I feel more empowered and informed now." Meanwhile, Niken Takoy, 14, from East Nusa Tenggara, said that “the app's informative encyclopedia feature and easy-to-recognize icons have made the learning experience enjoyable and accessible.”  The joint initiative includes online workshops and sensitisation campaigns through youth centres and schools. It will be implemented across ten provinces in Indonesia: Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Riau, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, and Riau Islands. The program also features peer-to-peer learning models to facilitate knowledge sharing among young people. "Through a youth-centred approach free from fear, discrimination, and stigma, IPPA and UNICEF are determined to promote knowledge and open communication on the significance of menstrual hygiene management and the implementation of reproductive health rights in schools,” Eko Maryadi, Executive Director, IPPA.   Through empowering adolescent girls like Aulia and Niken to manage their menstrual hygiene and access crucial information, the joint initiative is making a profound impact on the lives of young people in Indonesia, enabling them to break free from shame and stigma and reach their full potential. To download the app click here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oky.id Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communication, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF ESEAOR [email protected] & Halimah Irna, National Program Coordinator, Oky, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Picture of a rainbow/LGBT flag
story

| 19 April 2023

In Pictures: The activists who helped win LGBTI+ rights in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands has removed a law that criminalizes homosexuality, in a huge victory for the local LGBTI+ community.  Our local Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), has been integral to the advocacy around this law reform, which has faced many hurdles since the movement kicked off in 2017. Staff and volunteers at CIFWA have worked in step with Pride Cook Islands and the Te Tiare Association (TTA), two of the biggest LGBTI+ advocacy organizations in the country, to end discrimination and promote human rights. Meet some of the inspiring people behind this historic movement.

Picture of a rainbow/LGBT flag
story

| 18 April 2023

In Pictures: The activists who helped win LGBTI+ rights in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands has removed a law that criminalizes homosexuality, in a huge victory for the local LGBTI+ community.  Our local Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), has been integral to the advocacy around this law reform, which has faced many hurdles since the movement kicked off in 2017. Staff and volunteers at CIFWA have worked in step with Pride Cook Islands and the Te Tiare Association (TTA), two of the biggest LGBTI+ advocacy organizations in the country, to end discrimination and promote human rights. Meet some of the inspiring people behind this historic movement.

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

group photo
story

| 20 October 2023

Regional Policy Dialogue Convenes over 100 Delegates to Address Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF, PLAN International, and Organon, convened a pivotal Regional Policy Dialogue on Unintended Pregnancies in Southeast Asia. This two-day event, held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19-20, brought together over 100 key stakeholders, including youth leaders, youth networks, government representatives, development partners and private institutions. The discussions during the two-day event were multifaceted, encompassing topics such as analysing data and trends related to unintended pregnancy among adolescents in Southeast Asia, exploring evidence-based approaches to tackle this challenge, and evaluating existing policies while identifying gaps and opportunities. All of this was done through a youth-oriented and intergenerational lens. The event aimed to foster collaboration, partnerships, and greater accountability among stakeholders to collectively address adolescent pregnancy, recognising the importance of a unified effort in ensuring the well-being of young individuals in the region. Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East, Southeast Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), emphasised unwavering commitment to addressing the sexual and reproductive health challenges young people face in the region. She stated, "Our focus goes beyond mere statistics; it's about ensuring every girl has the choice, the right, and the support she needs. Unintended pregnancies are a stark reminder of broader systemic gaps, and we are dedicated to addressing them. Anjali Sen, Country Representative, UNFPA Indonesia, said, “Adolescent pregnancy is a global concern, but its impact is profoundly felt in Southeast Asia. It is a challenge that affects not only the health and well-being of young girls but also the socio-economic development of our nations.”   Adolescent pregnancy, particularly adolescent girls, significantly affects young individuals' health and well-being. It often leads to reduced educational opportunities and limited employment and economic advancement prospects. This perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, inequality, poverty, and adverse health outcomes that impact young girls, their families, and their communities. 

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| 18 October 2023

Convergence For Change 2023: IPPF ESEAOR Regional Gathering and Youth Forum Highlights

In a remarkable show of unity and dedication, 95 dynamic delegates and youth leaders representing 24 Member Associations from the East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania Region convened in Bali, Indonesia, from October 16-18. This gathering, "Convergence For Change: Regional Meeting and Youth Forum," was a transformative platform for engaging presentations, insightful panel discussions, and a rich exchange of ideas. To be impactful in a changing world, IPPF must also evolve. This is the essence of Strategy 2028: The transformation of IPPF to effectively champion Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for those who have been marginalised or excluded, with a strong focus on people-centred care, advancing the sexuality agenda, fostering solidarity for change, and nurturing the federation.  Tomoko Fukuda, IPPF ESEAOR Regional Director, set the tone for this momentous occasion with a resounding call to "bring the power together" and embark on a bold, forward-looking journey to address new challenges and opposition head-on. Strategy 2028 sets a new course that may be more challenging but ultimately leads to the same clear destination.

group photo
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| 18 October 2023

Convergence For Change 2023: IPPF ESEAOR Regional Gathering and Youth Forum Highlights

In a remarkable show of unity and dedication, 95 dynamic delegates and youth leaders representing 24 Member Associations from the East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania Region convened in Bali, Indonesia, from October 16-18. This gathering, "Convergence For Change: Regional Meeting and Youth Forum," was a transformative platform for engaging presentations, insightful panel discussions, and a rich exchange of ideas. To be impactful in a changing world, IPPF must also evolve. This is the essence of Strategy 2028: The transformation of IPPF to effectively champion Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for those who have been marginalised or excluded, with a strong focus on people-centred care, advancing the sexuality agenda, fostering solidarity for change, and nurturing the federation.  Tomoko Fukuda, IPPF ESEAOR Regional Director, set the tone for this momentous occasion with a resounding call to "bring the power together" and embark on a bold, forward-looking journey to address new challenges and opposition head-on. Strategy 2028 sets a new course that may be more challenging but ultimately leads to the same clear destination.

A picture of Talia
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| 29 June 2023

Trans & Proud: Being Transgender in the Cook Islands

It’s a scene like many others around the world: a loving family pour over childhood photos, giggling and reminiscing about the memories. This particular scene takes place amongst the swaying palm trees and soft breeze rolling over the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and the child they are cooing over – then named Nathanial – is now a beautiful transgender woman, Natalia.   Born in New Zealand to Cook Islanders parents, 36-year-old Natalia (Talia) Lajpold, says she has always known she was female. Talia grew up in Australia and began her transitioning process at the age of 15. In the last year of her schooling, Talia decided to wear the girl’s uniform to school but was met with disapproval from the school authorities.   "A lot of people think [being transgender] is a choice but if I had a choice, I would choose for things to be normal, the way I was born. Because it’s really hard. High school was hard."   Being bullied by her peers as well as facing disapproval from teachers made school the primary source of rejection Talia faced as a young transgender girl. Throughout her childhood, she was criticised for her personality, interests and behaviour for being ‘too feminine.’  “Tutors and teachers would express concern. All her friends are girls and they thought something was wrong with her. They knew what it was, but they just didn’t want to name it or acknowledge it. Interestingly, we took her to an Anglican counselling service and the counsellor admitted that there’s nothing wrong with her,” shared Talia’s mother, Carolyn.  Despite the rejection Talia faced, she received immense love and support from her family and local LGBTQIA+ friendly organisations.   “I want to be a girl,” Talia once said to her mom. She also decided to write a letter to her dad.  Although Talia was initially worried about her father’s response about her desire to transition, Talia’s father assured her of his unconditional love. “You’re my child, why would I not support you? It doesn’t matter what you want to be, you just be yourself,” said Talia’s father, Jodef.  When the school didn’t approve of her transitioning, Talia’s family transferred her to a beauty school, where she started working as a young woman.  Now living in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, Talia receives services from IPPF’s Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), including a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. She has also recently undergone gender-affirming surgery in Bangkok.  Since moving to the Cook Islands, Talia has seen immense support and acceptance towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride flags are on display throughout the island to endorse the recent decriminalization of homosexuality in April. Despite the Act never having never been applied, its symbolic nature meant that LGBTQIA+ people felt victimised and discriminated against as the law propagates a message of intolerance.  The rainbow community are integral to Cook Island’s culture. Known as Akava'ine, transgender women in the Cook Islands’ Māori culture hold cultural and societal significance where they are upheld as holders of knowledge, culture, compositions, and choreography. Talia has embraced the word Akava’ine as inspiration for the name of her homemade jewellery line.  Valery Wichman, the President of Te Tiare Association (TTA), one of the three main rainbow associations in the Cook Islands credited with advocating for the passing of the bill, explained: “Culturally and socially, we are accepted. We contribute to our community. We are considered masters of an art. It is a privileged position to have in our culture.”   Similarly, Dean Tangata, who is the Humanitarian Focal Point for CIFWA, added the significant role trans women have in the Cook Islands culture. According to Dean, “As soon as there is any event, the first people you seek out are the transgender community. You have to book them early as they are the costume makers. That's the position they hold in our cultural society - and it is a high status.”  Talia’s parents say they often receive questions about their child’s transitioning process, and they emphasise the importance of education about gender fluidity and the need to normalize LGBTQIA+ people and cultures within our communities. Talia, like many others, believes that this bill is an important milestone in reaching a brighter and more inclusive future.    Post uploaded on: ippf.org

A picture of Talia
story

| 29 June 2023

Trans & Proud: Being Transgender in the Cook Islands

It’s a scene like many others around the world: a loving family pour over childhood photos, giggling and reminiscing about the memories. This particular scene takes place amongst the swaying palm trees and soft breeze rolling over the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and the child they are cooing over – then named Nathanial – is now a beautiful transgender woman, Natalia.   Born in New Zealand to Cook Islanders parents, 36-year-old Natalia (Talia) Lajpold, says she has always known she was female. Talia grew up in Australia and began her transitioning process at the age of 15. In the last year of her schooling, Talia decided to wear the girl’s uniform to school but was met with disapproval from the school authorities.   "A lot of people think [being transgender] is a choice but if I had a choice, I would choose for things to be normal, the way I was born. Because it’s really hard. High school was hard."   Being bullied by her peers as well as facing disapproval from teachers made school the primary source of rejection Talia faced as a young transgender girl. Throughout her childhood, she was criticised for her personality, interests and behaviour for being ‘too feminine.’  “Tutors and teachers would express concern. All her friends are girls and they thought something was wrong with her. They knew what it was, but they just didn’t want to name it or acknowledge it. Interestingly, we took her to an Anglican counselling service and the counsellor admitted that there’s nothing wrong with her,” shared Talia’s mother, Carolyn.  Despite the rejection Talia faced, she received immense love and support from her family and local LGBTQIA+ friendly organisations.   “I want to be a girl,” Talia once said to her mom. She also decided to write a letter to her dad.  Although Talia was initially worried about her father’s response about her desire to transition, Talia’s father assured her of his unconditional love. “You’re my child, why would I not support you? It doesn’t matter what you want to be, you just be yourself,” said Talia’s father, Jodef.  When the school didn’t approve of her transitioning, Talia’s family transferred her to a beauty school, where she started working as a young woman.  Now living in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, Talia receives services from IPPF’s Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), including a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. She has also recently undergone gender-affirming surgery in Bangkok.  Since moving to the Cook Islands, Talia has seen immense support and acceptance towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride flags are on display throughout the island to endorse the recent decriminalization of homosexuality in April. Despite the Act never having never been applied, its symbolic nature meant that LGBTQIA+ people felt victimised and discriminated against as the law propagates a message of intolerance.  The rainbow community are integral to Cook Island’s culture. Known as Akava'ine, transgender women in the Cook Islands’ Māori culture hold cultural and societal significance where they are upheld as holders of knowledge, culture, compositions, and choreography. Talia has embraced the word Akava’ine as inspiration for the name of her homemade jewellery line.  Valery Wichman, the President of Te Tiare Association (TTA), one of the three main rainbow associations in the Cook Islands credited with advocating for the passing of the bill, explained: “Culturally and socially, we are accepted. We contribute to our community. We are considered masters of an art. It is a privileged position to have in our culture.”   Similarly, Dean Tangata, who is the Humanitarian Focal Point for CIFWA, added the significant role trans women have in the Cook Islands culture. According to Dean, “As soon as there is any event, the first people you seek out are the transgender community. You have to book them early as they are the costume makers. That's the position they hold in our cultural society - and it is a high status.”  Talia’s parents say they often receive questions about their child’s transitioning process, and they emphasise the importance of education about gender fluidity and the need to normalize LGBTQIA+ people and cultures within our communities. Talia, like many others, believes that this bill is an important milestone in reaching a brighter and more inclusive future.    Post uploaded on: ippf.org

A photo of women seeking medical help in the Medical Camp for Refugees
story

| 19 June 2023

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Medical Camps in Pakistan

In the scorching heat of the Khazana refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan, women are lining up, waiting for their turn to receive medical care. Among them are women who have walked long distances, carrying their children to reach the campsite. The medical camp, run by the Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan (R-FPAP), a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), provides a range of services, including general health check-ups and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.  Shazia was among the many women waiting in line at the mobile medical camp. When she learned about RFPAP's community awareness sessions, she decided to overcome fear and cultural taboo and attend. "My previous short-term family planning method didn't work for me, and it resulted in an unintended pregnancy. The community awareness session in a women-friendly space convinced me to consult with the medical team and choose a long-term family-planning option," she explains.  Sadia, a 28-year-old mother of four who had fled her home in Afghanistan, had no access to family planning services since leaving her country. "With four children, providing for them is becoming extremely challenging, I cannot afford to have any more. The mobile medical camps have enabled me to access a long-term family planning method and other needed services," she says.  Pakistan is home to 1.4 million Afghan refugees displaced by decades of war. Women in refugee camps face significant challenges in accessing essential healthcare services, including SRH, putting them at greater risk of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions. To address these issues, R-FPAP provides SRH services through mobile medical camps in four districts in Balochistan. Between August 2022 and January 2023, R-FPAP organised 247 medical camps to cater to the SRH needs of Afghan refugees, successfully providing a total of 140,545 SRH services to 13,303 individuals.  Supported by the Australian Government-funded RESPOND project, the medical camps primarily serve women and girls, who comprise more than 90% of their clients. Most women are married with children. They require SRH services such as obstetric, gynaecological, and antenatal care, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) support. Women in refugee camps in Pakistan face a higher risk of SGBV, leading to physical and psychological harm, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Stigma surrounding SRH issues in many communities exacerbates this problem, making it challenging for women to seek support. There is a critical need for accessible, affordable SRH services in Pakistan, especially for women facing cultural and societal barriers to healthcare.  "The RESPOND project has taken a crucial step in the right direction by providing safe spaces for Afghan refugee survivors of GBV, where they can feel safe and receive the support they need. Long-standing inequities have perpetuated harm and left survivors feeling isolated. However, we are making progress by increasing awareness and offering confidential and specialised services,” says Dr Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP.  The program's impact is evident, with over 18,000 survivors of GBV receiving support and referrals to specialist services. The medical camps are instrumental in providing essential SRH services to Afghan refugees, women and girls, helping to improve their overall health and well-being. As the women leave the camp, they do so with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, knowing they have the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communications, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF [email protected] Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP. [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A photo of women seeking medical help in the Medical Camp for Refugees
story

| 19 June 2023

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Medical Camps in Pakistan

In the scorching heat of the Khazana refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan, women are lining up, waiting for their turn to receive medical care. Among them are women who have walked long distances, carrying their children to reach the campsite. The medical camp, run by the Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan (R-FPAP), a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), provides a range of services, including general health check-ups and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.  Shazia was among the many women waiting in line at the mobile medical camp. When she learned about RFPAP's community awareness sessions, she decided to overcome fear and cultural taboo and attend. "My previous short-term family planning method didn't work for me, and it resulted in an unintended pregnancy. The community awareness session in a women-friendly space convinced me to consult with the medical team and choose a long-term family-planning option," she explains.  Sadia, a 28-year-old mother of four who had fled her home in Afghanistan, had no access to family planning services since leaving her country. "With four children, providing for them is becoming extremely challenging, I cannot afford to have any more. The mobile medical camps have enabled me to access a long-term family planning method and other needed services," she says.  Pakistan is home to 1.4 million Afghan refugees displaced by decades of war. Women in refugee camps face significant challenges in accessing essential healthcare services, including SRH, putting them at greater risk of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions. To address these issues, R-FPAP provides SRH services through mobile medical camps in four districts in Balochistan. Between August 2022 and January 2023, R-FPAP organised 247 medical camps to cater to the SRH needs of Afghan refugees, successfully providing a total of 140,545 SRH services to 13,303 individuals.  Supported by the Australian Government-funded RESPOND project, the medical camps primarily serve women and girls, who comprise more than 90% of their clients. Most women are married with children. They require SRH services such as obstetric, gynaecological, and antenatal care, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) support. Women in refugee camps in Pakistan face a higher risk of SGBV, leading to physical and psychological harm, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Stigma surrounding SRH issues in many communities exacerbates this problem, making it challenging for women to seek support. There is a critical need for accessible, affordable SRH services in Pakistan, especially for women facing cultural and societal barriers to healthcare.  "The RESPOND project has taken a crucial step in the right direction by providing safe spaces for Afghan refugee survivors of GBV, where they can feel safe and receive the support they need. Long-standing inequities have perpetuated harm and left survivors feeling isolated. However, we are making progress by increasing awareness and offering confidential and specialised services,” says Dr Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP.  The program's impact is evident, with over 18,000 survivors of GBV receiving support and referrals to specialist services. The medical camps are instrumental in providing essential SRH services to Afghan refugees, women and girls, helping to improve their overall health and well-being. As the women leave the camp, they do so with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, knowing they have the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communications, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF [email protected] Anjum Rizvi, Director Program Management Division, R-FPAP. [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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| 25 May 2023

Promoting Menstrual Hygiene and SRH to End Stigma in Indonesia

Aulia, a 15-year-old student from East Java, Indonesia, struggles to manage her menstrual hygiene while attending school, resulting in missed classes and reluctance to seek help from teachers or peers due to shame and stigma. Aulia's experience is typical for many adolescent girls worldwide, depriving them of opportunities to reach their full potential.      A recent survey in Indonesia conducted by the United Nations revealed that 1 in 5 adolescent girls encounter obstacles in accessing sanitary products due to high costs or limited mobility, while 1 in 10 feel ashamed or lack privacy when managing menstruation. To tackle these issues, the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), a Member Association of IPPF, and UNICEF have joined forces to implement a program to raise awareness among young people about menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health. The project seeks to provide extensive information on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management, promote open communication between stakeholders and young people, advocate for better school sanitation facilities, and equip adolescents with the necessary resources to manage their menstrual hygiene confidently. The joint initiative between IPPA and UNICEF aims to educate 100,000 youths on menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health while encouraging 50,000 adolescents to use the Oky app. With the support of the Australian-funded Indo-Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights COVID-19 Response (C-Surge) program, the Oky Application will be scaled up as part of the initiative. The digital tool is designed to provide youth-friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and help adolescents confidently manage their periods while supporting informed decision-making.      Aulia, who started using the app recently, shared her experience "I used to feel embarrassed talking about my period or asking questions about my body, but the Oky app has taught me so much about reproductive health in a way that is easy to understand. I feel more empowered and informed now." Meanwhile, Niken Takoy, 14, from East Nusa Tenggara, said that “the app's informative encyclopedia feature and easy-to-recognize icons have made the learning experience enjoyable and accessible.”  The joint initiative includes online workshops and sensitisation campaigns through youth centres and schools. It will be implemented across ten provinces in Indonesia: Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Riau, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, and Riau Islands. The program also features peer-to-peer learning models to facilitate knowledge sharing among young people. "Through a youth-centred approach free from fear, discrimination, and stigma, IPPA and UNICEF are determined to promote knowledge and open communication on the significance of menstrual hygiene management and the implementation of reproductive health rights in schools,” Eko Maryadi, Executive Director, IPPA.   Through empowering adolescent girls like Aulia and Niken to manage their menstrual hygiene and access crucial information, the joint initiative is making a profound impact on the lives of young people in Indonesia, enabling them to break free from shame and stigma and reach their full potential. To download the app click here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oky.id Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communication, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF ESEAOR [email protected] & Halimah Irna, National Program Coordinator, Oky, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

plain blue background image
story

| 25 May 2023

Promoting Menstrual Hygiene and SRH to End Stigma in Indonesia

Aulia, a 15-year-old student from East Java, Indonesia, struggles to manage her menstrual hygiene while attending school, resulting in missed classes and reluctance to seek help from teachers or peers due to shame and stigma. Aulia's experience is typical for many adolescent girls worldwide, depriving them of opportunities to reach their full potential.      A recent survey in Indonesia conducted by the United Nations revealed that 1 in 5 adolescent girls encounter obstacles in accessing sanitary products due to high costs or limited mobility, while 1 in 10 feel ashamed or lack privacy when managing menstruation. To tackle these issues, the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), a Member Association of IPPF, and UNICEF have joined forces to implement a program to raise awareness among young people about menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health. The project seeks to provide extensive information on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management, promote open communication between stakeholders and young people, advocate for better school sanitation facilities, and equip adolescents with the necessary resources to manage their menstrual hygiene confidently. The joint initiative between IPPA and UNICEF aims to educate 100,000 youths on menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health while encouraging 50,000 adolescents to use the Oky app. With the support of the Australian-funded Indo-Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights COVID-19 Response (C-Surge) program, the Oky Application will be scaled up as part of the initiative. The digital tool is designed to provide youth-friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and help adolescents confidently manage their periods while supporting informed decision-making.      Aulia, who started using the app recently, shared her experience "I used to feel embarrassed talking about my period or asking questions about my body, but the Oky app has taught me so much about reproductive health in a way that is easy to understand. I feel more empowered and informed now." Meanwhile, Niken Takoy, 14, from East Nusa Tenggara, said that “the app's informative encyclopedia feature and easy-to-recognize icons have made the learning experience enjoyable and accessible.”  The joint initiative includes online workshops and sensitisation campaigns through youth centres and schools. It will be implemented across ten provinces in Indonesia: Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Riau, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, and Riau Islands. The program also features peer-to-peer learning models to facilitate knowledge sharing among young people. "Through a youth-centred approach free from fear, discrimination, and stigma, IPPA and UNICEF are determined to promote knowledge and open communication on the significance of menstrual hygiene management and the implementation of reproductive health rights in schools,” Eko Maryadi, Executive Director, IPPA.   Through empowering adolescent girls like Aulia and Niken to manage their menstrual hygiene and access crucial information, the joint initiative is making a profound impact on the lives of young people in Indonesia, enabling them to break free from shame and stigma and reach their full potential. To download the app click here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oky.id Story by: Malarvili Meganathan, Communication, Voice and Media Advisor, IPPF ESEAOR [email protected] & Halimah Irna, National Program Coordinator, Oky, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) [email protected] For more updates on our work, follow IPPF ESEAOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Picture of a rainbow/LGBT flag
story

| 19 April 2023

In Pictures: The activists who helped win LGBTI+ rights in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands has removed a law that criminalizes homosexuality, in a huge victory for the local LGBTI+ community.  Our local Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), has been integral to the advocacy around this law reform, which has faced many hurdles since the movement kicked off in 2017. Staff and volunteers at CIFWA have worked in step with Pride Cook Islands and the Te Tiare Association (TTA), two of the biggest LGBTI+ advocacy organizations in the country, to end discrimination and promote human rights. Meet some of the inspiring people behind this historic movement.

Picture of a rainbow/LGBT flag
story

| 18 April 2023

In Pictures: The activists who helped win LGBTI+ rights in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands has removed a law that criminalizes homosexuality, in a huge victory for the local LGBTI+ community.  Our local Member Association, the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association (CIFWA), has been integral to the advocacy around this law reform, which has faced many hurdles since the movement kicked off in 2017. Staff and volunteers at CIFWA have worked in step with Pride Cook Islands and the Te Tiare Association (TTA), two of the biggest LGBTI+ advocacy organizations in the country, to end discrimination and promote human rights. Meet some of the inspiring people behind this historic movement.