Volunteering to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence in Aceh, Indonesia

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PULIH Aceh collaborated with the New Men’s Alliance, Rifka Annisa and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to initiate the project, Working with Men and Boys to Prevent Violence Against Women in Indonesia. It is supported by Partners for Prevention, which is a regional joint programme on the prevention of gender-based violence for Asia and the Pacific implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

The banner says "Laki-laki sejati tidak melakukan kekerasan" or "Real men don't commit violence". (Photo: UNV)

PULIH Aceh collaborated with the New Men’s Alliance, Rifka Annisa and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to initiate the project, Working with Men and Boys to Prevent Violence Against Women in Indonesia. It is supported by Partners for Prevention, which is a regional joint programme on the prevention of gender-based violence for Asia and the Pacific implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

The project’s goal is to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence and to strengthen the involvement of men in the gender justice agenda.  Through this project, speech contests for high school students are held and a peaceful rally against violence was organized with the Community Alliance Against Violence.

Speech contests for students have become a way to build and strengthen partnerships with educational institutions and increase the awareness of students on gender-based violence.  Now more students participate in activities on gender equality.

A peaceful rally reinforced the voluntary participation and contribution of men in promoting gender equality. As a result, the spirit of community involvement in gender equality and women's rights issues was awakened.

Marwan Idris, a national UN Volunteer deployed at UN Women Aceh as a UNV Project Associate, has been supporting this collaborative project. Marwan incorporates and promotes the spirit of volunteerism into its activities.

As a result of this project, the personal commitment and voluntary spirit of gender activists is strengthened. The knowledge, skills and understanding of young men are enhanced through information sharing and training sessions, which empowers them to become more involved in preventing and eliminating violence against women. A bi-monthly discussion forum among all gender equality activists in Aceh has been created.

In Aceh, people express the spirit of volunteerism through a tradition called “meusaraya” or mutual aid. This voluntary tradition based on reciprocity has become a social-cultural identity of the Acehnese society. This form of mutual self-help creates collaborative and mutually supportive communities. Communities organize themselves and build on solidarity and empathy to form the foundation for solving public affairs, supporting community progress, and sustaining societal harmony.

Women’s rights activists have established women’s organizations and put the elimination of gender-based violence on the agenda and men are gradually joining the women’s rights movement. (Male) volunteers continue to play an important role in promoting women’s rights and assisting gender activists and organizations in implementing programmes to end gender-based violence and achieve gender equality.