First projects on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights granted

10 July 2015

NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development has recently awarded funding to five projects within the research programme Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). About 2,5 million euros will be invested in research that aims aim to generate insights in and a better understanding of processes that determine and strengthen the sexual and reproductive health of people, as well as their ability to claim their sexual and reproductive rights.

Picture: Eduardo Lopez /

The first call within this research programme has been developed in close collaboration with the Knowledge Platform Share-Net International and solicited proposals for research to be carried out in Bangladesh or Burundi. Consortia with researchers and practitioners from Bangladesh and Burundi and their partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, Cameroon, France and the United States aim to generate new knowledge and insights on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) that will contribute to improved policies and practices, focusing especially on young people’s SRHR.

A description of the research projects, together with the project leader and consortium members can be found below.

Sexual and Reproductive Health of youth and adults with disabilities in Bujumbura - Burundi (HANDI-SSR)

Consortium leader is Prof. G.B. Beninguisse (Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques – IFORD in Cameroon). The other consortium members are University of Burundi (Burundi), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement – IRD (France), and Nouvelle Espérance (Burundi).

This study will highlight potential mechanisms and identify sociocultural barriers and facilitators on reaching out-of-school Young People with Disability (YPWD), how to include (Y)PWD in SRH programmes, as well as designing Women and Men Right-based programmes. The need for reliable data to help protect the rights of PWD/YPWD and achieve a better inclusion of disability in policies and practices, was recognised by Burundian SRH authorities. This project will address that knowledge gap. It will be part of a large research project in Sub-Saharan Africa, that will result in more comprehensive recommendations at Sub-Saharan Africa level.

Combating sexual violence in Burundi: a community and evidence-based approach

Consortium leader is Prof. C.C.J.H. Bijleveld (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement – NSCR - in the Netherlands). The other consortium members are University of Burundi (Burundi), Centre Seruka (Burundi) and University Gent (Belgium).

This project will integrate evidence-based recommendations on prevailing sexual violence into (existing) training and sensitisation activities. Amongst others, it will identify obstacles, gaps and recommendations at community and structural level to optimal interventions and share this knowledge with relevant actors. The project also aims at sensitising young people and their communities to the findings regarding sexual health and rights.

Breaking the shame. Towards improving SRHR education for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh

Consortium leader is Prof. W.H.M. Jansen (Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Gender Studies in the Netherlands). The other consortium members are BRAC University (Bangladesh), BRAC Institute of Global Health (Bangladesh) and Bangladesh SRHR alliance (Bangladesh).

In Bangladesh, youngster's realities are heavily influenced by religious or other cultural norms and by social relations with peers, parents, and teachers, besides potential partners. This projects aims at getting an insight in the varied understandings of sexuality of these young people and how they build their relationships, in order to make interventions such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) more effective. This research is highly relevant to build a better future together with young people, with more resistance to sexual harassment, improved communication about sexual and relational problems and improved recognition of and ability to deal with sexual diversity.

Young Burundians tactical agency regarding sexual relations and decision making: From participatory research to evidence-based and practically relevant sexuality education

Consortium leader is Prof. R. Reis (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research – AISSR - in the Netherlands). The other consortium members are Makerere University Business School (Uganda), CARE International in Burundi (Burundi) and Rutgers WPF (the Netherlands).

This project aims to generate in-depth knowledge on how young people are able to bring into practice the knowledge they receive through the new Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) manual for schools in Burundi. It will also gain detailed knowledge of how they navigate sexuality in intimate relations, and are supported or obstructed by (f)actors on various levels and to translate the findings into strategies strengthening (the evidence base of) current interventions.

Empowering young women in Bujumbura to improve their sexual and reproductive health and rights and claim to their rights

Consortium leader is Dr J.E. Finlay (Harvard University in the United States of America). The other consortium members are University of Burundi (Burundi) and PSI-Burundi (Burundi).

The project aims at empowering young women in Bujumbura to improve their sexual and reproductive health and rights and claim to their rights. Knowledge generated will contribute to improved understanding of realities, enabling factors and barriers especially for young women; improved access to information and to quality health services for young women, especially those most vulnerable to early marriage; and to informed choices and decision-making processes related to SRHR. The project will strengthen capacity of senior academics, local staff, and youth involved in the participatory action research.

Source: NWO