Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) stated that solving the problem of extreme poverty can help reduce the likelihood of child marriage.

"From the population survey of BPS (Indonesia Statistics), the marriage of children aged 15-19 years is still very high," BKKBN's Deputy for Population Control Bonivasius Prasetya Ichtiarto stated here on Thursday.

Ichtiarto noted that according to the Indonesian government's regulation, the minimum age to qualify for marriage is 21 years for women and 25 years for men.

However, he expressed regret over the fact that child marriage still occurred in some regions, especially in areas that are underdeveloped or experiencing economic difficulties, such as in Karawang and Indramayu, West Java.

Under such economic conditions, he explained that children will be used as an "asset" to support the family's economy. The perception of children as assets increases the number of child marriages every year, he pointed out.

Apart from being an asset, the deputy noted that several families married off their children to reduce the burden of living.

According to Ichtiarto, both perceptions arose due to poverty, which cut poor people's access to knowledge, education, or even health.

The National Socioeconomic Survey in March 2021 showed that as many as 27.54 million, or 10.14 percent of the Indonesian population, experienced extreme poverty. However, the number declined to 26.50 million people in September 2021 and dropped again to 26.16 million in March 2022.

"We have to change the socio-cultural approach to prevent child marriage, so it is related to two aspects, socioeconomics and socio-culture," Ichtiarto stated.

Meanwhile, under the efforts to disseminate education, the BKKBN, along with the family assistance team, Family Planning Information Officer (PKB), and Family Planning Field Officer (PLKB) continue to disseminate information about the dangers of child marriage, reproductive health, and stunting in families living in the outermost, underdeveloped, and frontier (3T) areas.

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Translator: Hreeloita S, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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