In Papua, Indonesia, violence prevention programmes are transforming communities one person at a time
Franky Reumy speaks at a workshop for facilitators of the Reimay programme
© Anna Maria Gracia Agusta Temongmere/Partners for Prevention
Franky Reumy is a community facilitator in the Reimay Programme, which aims to prevent violence against women and girls. Since November 2016, when he started volunteering for the programme, Franky has been working with 18 adolescents to discuss issues related to gender and violence in the community. As he notices changes in the adolescents, Franky realizes that he, too, has changed.
At 25, Franky is the oldest brother in a family of seven children in Papua province, Indonesia. In his culture, the oldest son often assumes a lot of responsibility in the family. Like many men in Papua, he was raised to be tough and to equate masculinity with aggression.
Franky’s life took a different turn when he joined the Reimay programme at the encouragement of Kelompok Kerja Wanita, a women’s working group in his church that advocates ending violence against women and girls in Papua. The Reimay programme is a violence against women and girls prevention intervention implemented by the International Planned Parenthood Federation of Papua, UN Population Fund, UN Women and UN Volunteers, with support from Partners for Prevention (P4P).
The programme engages adolescent girls and boys aged 13-15, their parents and influential community members in participatory group sessions. It aims to promote gender-equitable attitudes and behaviours amongst adolescents and improve relationships between them and their caregivers. The participatory component of the programme, combined with an active promotion of volunteerism, are key factors in its effectiveness- participants are motivated to develop their own violence prevention advocacy projects in their community in order to ensure the sustainability of the results after the finalisation of the programme.
Violence has indeed been a hindrance to Papua’s social development. In research carried out in Papua province, 60% of men interviewed reported perpetration of sexual and/or physical violence against a partner within their lifetime. The same research also found that men who experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse as children, or who witnessed the abuse of their mothers, are at greater risk of perpetrating intimate partner violence. In Nendali, the village where Franky volunteers, adolescent boys and girls often receive physical punishments from their caregivers, and in qualitative interviews, boys report getting hit more often, usually with objects such as brooms, both by their parents and their teachers.
In November 2016, Franky joined 34 other facilitators selected from the communities to participate in 10 days of intensive training sessions on gender equality, violence prevention, and participatory facilitation to prepare them to lead groups of adolescents and caregivers focusing on prevention of violence and gender equality.
The transformation is palpable. “Last year’s training had such a huge impact on me. I can still remember how I used to behave a year ago,” said Franky.
“As the oldest brother, I was forced to be more disciplined and strict towards my younger brothers and sisters. If one of my brothers got home after 9pm, I wouldn’t accept any excuse, I would just punch or kick them. After last year’s training, I understand the impact of my actions on my siblings, and I have changed. Now I have become closer to them, and surprisingly, my brothers’ attitudes have also changed.”
Violence used to be a regular occurrence in Franky’s household as it was the accepted method of resolving conflicts. Having completed the training and become a facilitator, he has realized that he does not need to resort to aggression in order to settle problems with his siblings. Moreover, thanks to P4P’s focus on primary prevention, Franky now understands the importance of allowing young people to grow up in equitable, non-violent environments, and providing them with positive, healthy models of masculinities. This ensures that when they grow up, they too will be less likely to use violence against women and girls.
Having worked closely with the adolescents, Franky has developed a strong bond with them, and noted the positive changes in them. “Many young girls are more confident to talk and share their thoughts, and the boys are responding to them in a positive way,” he shared.
“I think this could be a sign that boys are starting to understand and respect girls’ opinions,” he added.
These encouraging results have greatly motivated Franky, who is also studying to become a doctor. Seven months ago when he volunteered to join Reimay, little did he expect that he would become an important agent of social change in his family and his community. “I am now committed to running the programme and sharing the knowledge I received from the programme with my peers.”
About Partners for Prevention
Partners for Prevention (P4P) is a United Nations (UN) joint programme working to prevent violence against women and girls in Asia and the Pacific at the regional level. Based on its groundbreaking research, the UN Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, P4P promotes and supports violence prevention initiatives and policies. Combining the strengths of four UN agencies – UN Development Programme, UN Population Fund, UN Women and UN Volunteers – with governments, civil society, and support from the Australian government, P4P transforms social norms and practices to prevent violence before it occurs. P4P’s work supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by 2030.
 Munro, J. and Tevay, V. (2017). P4P Reimay Baseline Field Notes.