Connecting local responses around the world
In mid-November I attended the Festival of Learning organized by the Asian-South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Learning (ASPBAE) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Unfortunately no member from the IndoCompetence team could participate in the event.
During the Festival of Learning, I had an opportunity to join an exchange visit to a local NGO, Lentera Sahaja – Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia (PKBI), which was the Youth Service Center of Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA). For me, it was a SALT visit :-) After the visit, I wrote the following blog for ASPBAE:
A team of 8 ASPBAE delegates and partners (from India, Indonesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and the U.K.) conducted a learning exchange to PKBI, where they met with 7 PKBI staff and volunteers working in different units.
IPPA was established originally in Jakarta in December 1957, and established PKBI in Yogyakarta in 1967. PKBI is engaged in a wide range of activities to promote sexual and reproductive health/ rights, maternal and child health, and reproductive health education among young people in schools/universities/ communities, marginalized and vulnerable populations, including unmarried mothers, GLBT, male and female sex workers, and women with unwanted pregnancies. Their activities include training and awareness-raising, information provision through website and radio programmes, documentation and media production, advocacy and campaigns, outreach, counseling (including couples counseling and voluntary counseling and testing for sexually-transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS), health clinic, and youth clinic. While they have received some funding for specific short-term projects from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, HIVOS, and the government, PKBI staff also do fundraising and hope to be self-supported in the future.
After presentation from PKBI’s staff members, there was a lively question-and-answer session and discussion about various aspects of their work, including challenges faced by the PKBI such as existing stigma and taboo against GLBT, sex before marriage, talking about sex and condoms, and even threats and physical violence against people with different sexual identities.
However, when asked what they were proud of most about their work and what they thought were their greatest strengths, the staff shared interesting and inspiring responses, i.e.
“I am the youngest sibling and always regarded as the kid in the family, but working here I now know life better. I’ve learned we are all human.”
“We serve.. we face stigma but we strongly believe that women have a choice regarding their own pregnancy.”
“It’s difficult to find correct information about reproductive health, even from the internet. But here I can get the information I need, which I can also share with my siblings.”
“I learn to value life and see people as people, not as Christians or Muslims. etc. I also learn that money is not everything.”
“This is my comfort and safety zone. Here I have many friends of same sexual orientation. I find comfort and safety that I cannot get anywhere else, not even at home or in society”.
At the end of the session, Usa Duongsaa from Thailand shared some experience of the AIDS Education Programme of Chiangmai University and the Constellation for AIDS Competence in building NGO capacities on the Community Life Competence Process for use in their work on HIV/AIDS and other related issues. Peter-Clinton Isaac Foaese from New Zealand facilitated some fun exercises and also shared his experience of Vibe’s work with young people.