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Learning and Reflecting Together: A transformative SRHR Forum from South-East Asia

Posted 28 June 2024 in EMpower News, Grantee Partner News   |   Share

“Together we are here for an in-person engagement of the AwareNest Community of Practice. It’s going to be all about exchanging stories and building a community”. - stated by Nabila Auliani Ruray, Facilitator, AwareNest Community of Practice (CoP).

Recently, the AwareNest Community of Practice (CoP) met for the first time in the vibrant Tulamben Village, Bali, for an enriching two-day in-person engagement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) especially in relation to adolescents and young people. This was the first-of-its-kind, partner-led, in-person regional exchange for EMpower in East and Southeast Asia (ESEA). The event provided a fantastic opportunity for organisations across ESEA to come together, share insights, and collaborate on solutions to common challenges.

2023 marked the beginning of the AwareNest CoP, a regular forum led by Pamflet and supported by EMpower that meets regularly and serves as a platform for a group of practitioners in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) to enrich each other. 

The two-day engagement provided partners with space for reflection on their work and cultivated a sense of community among SRHR practitioners. It featured various activities such as knowledge-sharing sessions, plenary discussions, open space sessions led by participants, and a field visit; all aimed at fostering an inclusive and collaborative environment. 

Focusing on empowering participants to take ownership of the forum, we built a collaborative atmosphere of discussion for everyone to share their expertise and insights. “These two days turned out to be very interesting. There are lots of experiences from my young friends here, learnings from outside that can be adopted as interventions in our region”, stated Letsa, a participant from Indonesia. 

Two organisations signed up to facilitate open sessions for the rest of the group. The first one on “Legal Literacy for Human Rights” was facilitated by Connie Samsona and Jason Gerona from Roots of Health, and the second one on “Consent and Clean Language” was conducted by  Jeza Rodriques and Maria Landingin from Lunas Collective. It was positively overwhelming to see Lunas Collective carry their learnings from an earlier tailor-made offering--arranged by EMpower--into the room. 

The openness of discussion was the culmination of a year-long journey, including 11 months of online meetings. It underscored the participants' eagerness to share expertise, openness to new perspectives, and enthusiasm for building connections within the diverse SRHR practitioner community.

A highlight of the forum was the visit to a Sekolah Ekoturin in Ban Village–a school run by the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP). This is also one of the sites for EBPP’s collaborative project together with Photovoices International (PVI), using photography to empower young girls.

“Today we gather at EBPP school, precisely at Sekolah Ekoturin. We will do several activities here, namely a presentation from Ekoturin students related to reproductive health, followed by a game from Pamflet, namely the Berdaya card game,” explained I Gede Sudarma, a teacher at Sekolah Ekoturin. Gede was one of the participants at the in-person engagement.

“I love the students. They are so smart, professional and enthusiastic. I appreciate the hard work that EBPP put in for our visit. I feel their warmth and commitment to students and their families also”, said Hana from VANGO.  This hands-on activity provided a meaningful opportunity to see the impact of community-based SRHR initiatives in action.

This two-day forum was more than just an event; it was a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when we come together. We’re excited to continue building on this momentum and fostering deeper connections within the AwareNest Community of Practice.

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