Our Sex and Health Awareness impacts children in every region of Bali, providing essential knowledge on sex, health and protection.
Growing Problems in Bali
Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and AIDS, unplanned pregnancies, drug abuse, sexual abuse, prostitution, AIDS babies – all of these things are rapidly increasing in Bali.
Government figures in 2013 suggested the problem is growing exponentially, with more than 100 new HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed every month (and more undiagnosed), in comparison to 50 per month the previous year (2012) – a 100% rise. [i] Latest figures in July 2015 suggested this figure has reached 150-180 new cases each month.[ii]
In April 2013, estimated cases of HIV/AIDS were 7,400 [iii]. By December 2014 this figure has increased to 10,371. Officials estimate the real figure could be up to 26,000. [iv]
The most at risk individuals have been highlighted as heterosexual youngsters between 20-29. The Australian reports children are “bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Bali”.[v]
Latest government reports show there was a total number of 18,673 confirmed cases of HIV and AIDS in Bali – it’s the latest figure in a worrying rising trend.
The latest Bali Government figures show something very worrying. From April 2016 to April to 2017, cases of HIV/AIDS rose from 13,774 to 17,099 – a 24.1% rise in just one year[vi].
Figures and statistics aside, there is a real taboo surrounding sexual education in Bali. The lack of sexual education is a real issue that schools are struggling to convey to their students.
Decisions Affect Lives
One thing many schools do not have access to is sexual education – meaning teenagers grow into adults who are not well equipped to make informed choices.
It’s highlighted by the recent rise in HIV-AIDS in Bali, with a jump of 24% in confirmed cases between 2016 and 2017.
This statistic doesn’t tell the whole story; more identified cases doesn’t necessarily mean a huge increase – it could also be better standards of testing.
What doesn’t change is the fact that a shocking number of people are now living with HIV-AIDS in Bali, with most recent reports suggesting over 17,000 people identified (and more unidentified).
Juliani (name changed for privacy, picture blurred), is now a 17 year old from Karengasem, east Bali lost her father when she was 13. At the time, her family thought it was through ‘illness’. Juliiani’s father was never diagnosed or medicated.
It shook her whole family. Juliani’s mother started to get sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive.
Juliani’s results were negative. Not only did Juliani lose her father, her mother remarried and was unable to bring Juliani to her new home. It set off a terrible series of event for Juliani, who has struggled coming from a family torn apart.
The whole series of events could have been prevented if Juliani’s father had benefited from sexual education as a teenager.
Informed Decision Making
The real fact behind all of this is that these are all cases that could have been prevented – if adults had learned about health education as teenagers.
With traditional sex education workshops reaching out to over 10,000 individual students directly, technology gives us the chance to go a step further.
Capacity building is now the main focus of this long running program. Giving schools the ability to teach themselves and their communities is the real goal.
The workshops have been carefully designed by Opy and the Bali Children’s Project Team to provide maximum effectiveness.
Lasting 3 hours per workshop, the team runs two workshops each day in any one school. Per year, our team visits over 45 schools and directly reaches over 10,000 students.
The structure includes opening speeches from health officials, teachers and local government, followed by fun ‘brain training’. A mix of videos, group work and class discussions engage students in learning about issues including sexual disease transmission, drug usage and reproduction.
Condom simulations get huge laughs but also give a serious insight in how to effectively use them. First hand stories are also given from our friends who tell students their experiences living with HIV / AIDS.
Our before and after multiple choice tests show correct answers jumping from an average of 50% up to 86%. It’s knowledge that will change the course of their lives.
Technology and Capacity Building
With technology an ever constant presence in every day lives of Balinese teenagers, we are also presented with the challenge to adapt our approach.
Most teenagers in Bali now have access to a phone and social media.
With each school obliged to have a ‘KSPAN’ club (a HIV-AIDS awareness group), there is already a great structure for disseminating health information. However, these student led groups often find themselves unable to deliver any meaningful programs.
Enter the Bali Children’s Project KSPAN Awards. Each year, we run a competition amongst KSPAN clubs, having given each of them guidance and support along the way. Although a great basic structure for disseminating health information, these student led groups often find themselves unable to deliver any meaningful programs.
Clubs are awarded trophies based on their progress, inventiveness, ideas and activity.
Social Media and the Age of Phones
To give these clubs all they need, they are supplied with booklets, materials and a specially developed mobile phone application. The materials include information, quizzes and all a school needs to disseminate their own information.
With a mobile phone application launched, clubs have a new resource that can be downloaded completely free, to an unlimited number of students.
From special awareness days, to regular school speaker announcements, the clubs are taking on the challenge and doing very well. Each club is posting their activities to Instagram to help drive a community effort as well as show the difference they are making.
The groups all become part of our competition, providing an extra incentive for them to achieve their goals over the year. The competition culminates in awards being given at the end of the year for a range of categories (such as ‘biggest improvement’, ‘most inventive, etc.).
The competition engages over 50 groups each year and is growing rapidly.
It’s all part of encouraging schools and clubs to be proud of their own efforts to educate.
Bali Children’s Project is constantly seeking support to ensure the long term future of this project, which currently relies on grants and time-limited local funding. Please contact us if you can help.
The current program is all possible thanks to support from funders The Mel Wolf Foundation, Lucky Number 9, Three Monkeys Cafes and Canggu Community School.
We are currently searching for sustained future funding for 2019 and onwards.