Three cases on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights online

10 February 2019

Three projects from the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights research programme showed their results in cases, two Bangladesh-focused and one from Burundi.

The Campus Hero Cafe

Violence against women and girls is pervasive throughout Bangladeshi society and takes many forms. The Campus Hero Café project of Dr Gary Barker and with Dr Syed Saikh Imtiaz aims to initiate social change to prevent such violence. The project aspires to trigger this change by making male adolescents reflect critically on what it implies to be a man.

That is where the title ‘Campus Hero’ comes from: the objective to de- and reconstruct the cultural notion of the male ‘hero’. A real hero, is the project team’s message, is brave enough to speak out when he witnesses acts of violence against women or girls. Critical and honest self-reflection is part and parcel of the SRHR education that the project aims to promote in Bangladesh.

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Creating access to sexual and reproductive health services

Many mothers in Burundi are nursing their first child when they are still adolescents. That this is very common doesn’t mean it is what the girls want. Early childbearing often has devastating effects on the girls’ lives. The young mothers often drop out of school and are abandoned by their families, which makes escaping poverty even more unlikely. Maternal mortality, moreover, is the number one cause of death for young women in Sub-Saharan Africa – and Burundi is no exception.

The research project of dr Jocelyn E. Finlay looked into the barriers and solutions to early pregnancies in Burundi. The researchers came up with recommendations for the design of effective and sustainable SRH programmes for Burundian youth to prevent these pregnancies. The project took a twin-track approach. The core of the research revolved around the active participation of girls and young women to understand the issues at stake from their personal perspective. In addition, the team interviewed 46 key informants from the Ministry of Health, NGOs and health clinic workers about the structural constraints for accessing SRH services.

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Introducing psychodrama in Dhaka slums

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world. It is also one of the most densely populated areas globally. Of Dhaka’s estimated population of 8.5 million people, as many as 3.5 million women, men and children live in the city’s sprawling and overcrowded slums. The knowledge on sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of slum dwellers in Bangladesh is very low. Therefore, they are likely to be confronted with risky sexual behaviour. For men especially, there is virtually no programme to support them in understanding the key issues concerning their sexual and reproductive health.

The project of Dr G.M. van Heteren and with Prof. Malabika Sarker has spent two years working with young adult men in one of Dhaka’s slums. The objective of the project was, firstly, to identify the risks and health issues affecting the young men, especially related to their sexual and reproductive health, and secondly, to gain proof of concept for the use of psychodrama as a method to avoid risky sexual behaviour.

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The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) research programme

The SRHR research programme aims 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. The programme strives to contribute to improving and innovating SRHR policies and practices, with a special focus on empowering young people and key populations.

Source: NWO