Many young people in Bangladesh do not have access to adequate information about their sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) because of a strong social and cultural taboo around the issue which causes a pervasive silence. As a result, most adolescents enter into marriage and pregnancy without any adequate preparation. The current national school curriculum contains only minimum information about SRHR and often teachers are reluctant to teach even this. This situation is acute when it comes to the slum living communities. According to a research by the Population Council, ‘more than half of the pregnancies (57%) among the married adolescent girls in urban slums were unintended. The prevalence of UP was more than twice higher among married adolescent girls in the slums than among a similar group of adolescent girls in all urban or rural areas of Bangladesh (22% and 24% of the births to married adolescent girls in these setting were unintended). Among many points, the research recommended to conduct health education on family planning among married adolescent girls to promote awareness and consistent use of effective contraceptives for birth spacing among this segment of the population with the goal of reducing high levels of unintended pregnancy.
It is a matter of concern that, if an integrated approach of SRHR education and advocacy for birth spacing using effective contraceptives among youth and adolescents, and access to reproductive health commodities for youths is ensured, the unmet goals in population control can be approached in a more effective way, and it is only possible if youth led advocacy efforts amplify the information at community level.
To ensure this, SERAC-Bangladesh along with PAI Organized a residential consultation with 18 youth on 2-3 November 2018 near Dhaka.
S M Shaikat, Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh, moderated a slide show presentation which had done by some participants who were interested to give presentation on that slide. It was about Family Planning, contraceptive methods, myths and misconceptions about contraception and family planning, importance of youth access to family planning etc.
These youth participants also shared their knowledge about Sexual Rights and Reproductive Health (SRHR), youth rights about family planning access and knowledge. They also shared their previous obstacles that they have faced in their advocacy field work.
After the discussion of the gantt chart all the participants of the four group decided who will take the lead on their own activity. Then they discussed, these four activity leaders will seat with their own team to make the tasks by the first week of December 2018 and will compile the distribution of tasks by the end of this December.
At the end of the consultation, the organizers of SERAC-Bangladesh thanked to the participant to make the event successful. The Executive Director S M Shaikat said,
“It would be impossible to make a long term planning of the objectives if the participants wont so much interested, potential and helpful.”
Participants also showed their gratitude to bring them in this nice place and enlightening them about this essential issues. They also made the commitment that they will work together by this time frame.