SERAC-Bangladesh in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Right Here Right Now, IYAFP, Partners in Population and Development, organized the Bangladesh 2nd National Youth Conference on Family Planning on 11 – 12 October 2017, Tuesday at Biswa Sahitya Kendra, Bangla Motor, Dhaka.
Four plenary sessions and multiple concurrent capacity-building workshops were discussed in two days. The Chief Guest of the opening ceremony was Dr. Dipu Moni and the closing ceremony was Arif Khan Joy. Other guests were Country Representative of EngenderHealth Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel, SERAC Executive Director S M Shaikat, Dr. Joe Thomas, Executive Director, Partners in Population and Development (PPD), Dr. Lori Kato, Representative A.i UNFPA Bangladesh Director (MCH) Dr. Mohammad Sharif, Dr. AFM Matiur Rahman, ED, FPAB, Mr. Shale Ahmed, Executive Director, Bandhu Dr. Kallol Chowdhury, Dr.Mohammad Sharif, Director (MCRAH), DGFP, Abu Jamil Faisal, ED, Engenderhealth Bangladesh, Mrs. Jannatul Ferdoush Peya, Actress & model, Dr. Mohammad Abdus Sabur, Faculty, University of Dhaka & North South University, Dr. Halida Akhter, Country Coordinator Pathfinder international. Plenaries were moderated by Editor of News Hour Dr. Tareq Salahuddin, Manik Miazee, Staff Reporter, Dhaka Tribune, Dr. Abu Sayed Mohammad Hasan, UNFPA Bangladesh.
The Hon’ble Chairperson Dr. Dipu Moni said, “the government is committed to providing sexual and reproductive health services to youth and adolescents, and in its next five years plan the DGFP will introduce free of cost sanitary pads to all adolescent girls”. Sharmin Akter, a third-year student of Accounting & information Systems at Jahangirnagar University, who attended the event as a delegate, said, ‘I have been embarrassed to talk about sexual health for a long time. But at this event, everyone opened up to discuss issues like sex education and family planning, which are usually considered `inappropriate’ for normal conversation. From now on, I would no longer shy away from talking about these things. Sex education should be discussed in public for our betterment.’
Shakib said, ‘I had no clear idea about family planning. Then I knew about this event through social media and joined it. I came all the way from Sylhet and it was worth it. I will learn more about sexual health and also try to create awareness among others.’
Shompa Kayanath, a transgender said, ‘I am lucky enough to tell that by this program, we get respect from the youth and live independently now for their help.’ She also thanked all participants, the organizer, and last but not the least, the executive director of SERAC, S M Shaikat. In addition EngenderHealth, Ipas Bangladesh, BRAC JPG SPH, YCMC, Plan International, Health21, SERAC-Bangladesh organized several capacity development workshops with 200 hundred young national youth delegates joined the conference from across the country. Speakers stressed including young people at the heart of every discussion around policies and programs on sexual and reproductive health and rights and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals on reproductive health and gender equality in Bangladesh.
This conference has a background of organizing the youth pre-conference at Bangladesh 1st National Youth Conference on Family Planning in September-2016, and Bangladesh National Summit on Universal Health Coverage in December-2016 in Dhaka.