In Kebumen, a rural part of Indonesia’s Java province, early and forced marriage has been a problem for many years.
Pulled out of school to start a family, girls in the community are often denied opportunities to get an education and fulfil their potential.
“One of the big issues for children here is child marriage,” says one man, Sukirman. “It’s because it is a tradition. Families feel pride when their daughter gets married first.”
Plan is supporting a youth radio initiative in order to help combat child marriage in Kebumen. Run by the local youth group, the dedicated radio station is giving young people a chance to speak out about the issues that are most important to them and influence decision-making.
Making a difference
17 year-old Nur is the leader of the youth group and is passionate about its aim to achieve greater equality for girls.
“It’s hard being a girl sometimes,” she says. “Parents set tougher rules for girls.”
By using local radio to raise awareness of the detrimental effect of child marriage on young people, Nur has been helping to change attitudes towards gender roles in her community.
Today in Kebumen, families are starting to work together to prevent early and forced marriages in the community. Ensuring that girls complete their education is becoming a priority and more girls are now being encouraged to wait until they are older before getting married.
The youth group’s broadcasting endeavours continue to be a force for change and form part of a long-term effort to achieve greater gender equality in the community.
Like many young women in Kebumen, Nur has big plans for the future.
“I want to be a TV presenter,” says Nur. She hopes to build upon the media work she has done with the youth group.
By harnessing the passion of young people like Nur and her friends, Plan is helping communities to take the lead in creating lasting change. Across Indonesia, Plan-supported youth forums are working to ensure that young people understand their rights and can make a difference.
In the time it has taken to read this article 21 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds
Find out more about Plan's work in Indonesia.