Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government targeted to reduce child marriage prevalence to 8.74 percent in 2024 and 6.94 percent in 2030, the head of the Sub-Directorate for Family Development of the Religious Affairs Ministry, Agus Suryo Suripto said.

"We are targeting the child marriage rate to drop to 8.74 percent in 2024 and 6.94 percent in 2030," he noted in a statement on Sunday.

In order to achieve the target, the Ministry has run a Guidance for School Age Adolescents (BRUS) program to socialize family planning education for teenagers.

"We hope this program can bring an impact to the nation's progress," he remarked.

Suripto mentioned that child marriage is a serious issue with negative impacts on children's health, education, and welfare. In the long term it can also cause stunting, school dropout, and domestic violence cases.

He hopes that this program can also provide understanding to teenagers about the importance of getting married at the right time and maintaining reproductive health.

Related news: BKKBN teams up with NU to raise awareness against child marriage

Based on a socio-economic survey from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the number of child marriages in Indonesia is recorded at 1.2 million cases. Of this number, the proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married before the age of 18 was 11.21 percent of the total number of children.

This means, around 1 in 9 women aged 20-24 years were married while still as children. This number is in contrast to men, where only 1 in 100 men aged 20-24 years were married as children.

The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) also rejects the notion saying that early marriage is better than free sex since there is still such an assumption among society.

"We have deployed family planning instructors and family planning cadres in the field and activity groups, such as Toddler Family Development (BKB) and Teenagers Family Development (BKR), to be the spearhead to socialize family development education and instilling the principle of eight family functions," BKKBN's Deputy for Families Prosperity and Empowerment Nopian said.

Nopian said that efforts to avoid child marriage and free sex at early age is more effective and strategic to be carried out from upstream with the involvement of all parties, including the media and the society, to disseminate information regarding the risk of such lifestyles.

Related news: Banning child marriage could help prevent stunting: BKKBN

Related news: Minister spotlights child marriage issue at National Children's Forum

Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2023