In the district of Banjarnegara, Mitra Wacana WRC runs the Strengthening Society for the Abolition of Sexual Violence Against Children with the support of AWO International for the period 2014-2016. The program is aimed at the elimination of sexual violence against children at the village level, through the strengthening of women and children’s groups.
Intervention programs are built in two spheres. First, education is critical to a community of women and children as the heart of strengthening civil society at the village level. Second, the village government is expected to have the knowledge and awareness of gender, and a commitment to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children. It is hoped this will result in changes in the community through leading village reform. As for policy, it is hoped the village government will create equality for women and children.
Mitra Wacana WRC’s program operates in two villages in two districts, namely Karangjati and Berta in Susukan district and Bondolharjo and Petuguran in Punggelan district. Within one year, each village has formed the Learning Center for Women and Children (P3A). Women’s groups have been formed, namely Women Care (WOCA) in Karangjati, Lantern Heart (LH) in Berta, United Bondolharjo Care (lovebirds) and Pelita Women Bondolharjo Petuguran (PWP) in Petuguran.
Mitra Chatting: Mansur – Community Organiser, Banjarnegara
Mitra Wacana WRC is staffed by passionate activists for women and children’s rights. They’re working at the grass-roots level to strengthen women and children’s rights in Indonesia. Throughout our Mitra Chatting series, I’ll interview each activist, and share their stories and opinions with our followers (#sobatmitrawacana).
On Monday (13 June 2016), I had a chat to one of Mitra Wacana’s community organisers, Muhammad Mansur.
Sophia: Thanks for joining me. Please introduce yourself.
Mansur: My name is Muhammad Mansur, usually my friends call me Mansur. My position at Mitra Wacana is as a coordinating community organiser (CO), in Banjarnegara district.
I have worked as a CO for almost two years, and I have been appointed as coordinator this month to formulate the program.
Sophia: What inspired you to become a Mitra Wacana activist?
Mansur: Since I was a university student, I’ve really enjoyed community activities, especially activities that involved the public. So I feel this is suits my style.
As a student, I was active in several organisations including the student press organisation and also the Islamic student movement.
Sophia: One of Mitra Wacana’s key issues is gender equality (kesetaraan gender). Can you explain what it means to you?
Mansur: In Banjarnegara, we are also educating the community about gender equality. It means equal division of roles between women and men, in both public and private life. They have to share the work, there are gradual changes that are made between women and men. We are giving them the capacity to understand gender.
Sophia: What is Mitra Wacana’s program in Banjarnegara?
Mansur: Our focus, since our first year, has been sexual violence against children in Banjarnegara, because it’s comparatively high. Our activities there focus on strengthening the community, working with target groups there, and teaching the community how to help victims of sexual violence.
I’m working in a village called Berta, in Susukan subdistrict. It’s quite a hilly area, and there have been several cases of sexual violence. One such case was last year in 2015. It was a case of harassment (pelecehan) by a teacher towards school students. This occurred in the village. There have also been various kinds of domestic violence (kekerasan dalam rumah tangga). There is still lots of work to do there; there’s still a lack of public knowledge.
Sophia: So how can NGOs and governments help children and victims of sexual violence?
Mansur: We [NGOs] need the community and the village government. We have worked with the community to establish groups called P3A (which is short for Pusat Pembelajaran Perempuan dan Anak – Learning Centres for Women and Children). Their function is to provide guidance to victims of violence, including women and children.
Besides this, for the government’s part, we have established cooperation at the village, subdistrict and the district levels. At the village level, we are working with the village government to investigate several cases [of sexual violence]. At the subdistrict level, we’re working with an organisation called PTT (Pusat Pelayanan Terpadu or Integrated Service Centres). At the district level, we’re working P2A (Perlindungan Perempuan dan Anak or Protection of Women and Children), a unit of the police.
Sophia: Thanks very much for sharing your views and experiences with me today Mansur.
Keep an eye out next week for another edition of Mitra Chatting.
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