Reproductive health problems and unintended pregnancies are a major challenge for young people in Indonesia. Today, 1.7 million women in Indonesia under the age of 24 become mothers, and almost half a million of them are teenagers. Many young people lack the basic knowledge and information on how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. At the same time, fear of stigmatisation can prevent or discourage young people from using reproductive health services.
“In our part of the world, it is natural that young people acquire knowledge about sexual and reproductive health. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many young people in other parts of the world, including Indonesia, which has consequences for the health of young people as well as their future prospects. This applies particularly to young girls. An unwanted teenage pregnancy can be harmful for the health, but it can also mean a sudden end to the prospects of education and access to a job − and thus an income later in life”, says HRH Crown Princess Mary.
The UNALA project, initiated by UNFPA, aims to help young people create a better future by providing them with information about sexual and reproductive health. At the same time, UNALA works with private sector clinics to offer young people free access to health services, including physical examination, counselling and treatment. In this cooperation, UNALA strives especially to meet the young people without prejudice and stigma.
“I had the pleasure of visiting the UNALA project during a recent visit to Indonesia, and I was impressed with their work and the difference they make to young people in Indonesia. By giving young people access to essential information and health services, UNALA provides them with the opportunity to make informed choices and thus better prerequi sites for doing well – as knowledge is their key to a better future. We have therefore chosen to support the UNALA project in Indonesia because it offers young people the education they need”, says HRH Crown Princess Mary.
UNALA intends to use the donation of 50.000 USD, among other things, to strengthen and improve the knowledge and skills of UNALA health care providers, to reach out to young people by means of social media and to support young people with special needs. UNFPA, who initiated the UNALA project, express their gratitude for Crown Princess Mary’s dedication to the project and the donation of The Mary Foundation.
”I would like to extend my appreciation to Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark and The Mary Foundation for her dedication to young people and contribution to invest in Indonesia’s young people and provide a better common future for us all”, says a UNFPA representative.
Also one of the young users of UNALA services appreciates The Mary Foundation’s donation and Crown Princess Mary’s support to young people in Indonesia.
”I met directly with HRH Crown Princess Mary during UNALA’s Youth Gathering. I would also like to thank The Crown Princess for her appreciation and support for youth-friendly reproductive health services in Yogyakarta. The Crown Princess has also empowered young people by encouraging us to say no and make our own decisions”, says Venita, a 20-year-old woman.