The Campus Hero Café: Engaging Young Men and Boys in the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the Prevention of Violence in Bangladesh


Coordinator: Dr Gary Barker, Promoundo-US

Consortium members

  • Promundo-US, Center for Men and Masculinity Studies (CMMS)
  • Department of Women and Gender Studies (DWGS) at the University of Dhaka
  • United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB) 

Summary of progress

The Campus Hero Café project explores the linkages between enactment of different forms of masculinities and violence against women and girls (VAWG) and seeks to engage young men and boys (aged 14-21) on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and preventing VAWG through self-reflexive dialogue, community activism, and media engagement. The research and programming targets young men and boys at schools and universities to question harmful gender norms and practices based upon rigid notions of masculinity. The Campus Hero Café is a safe learning space for students set up by trained university students where young men can raise their questions regarding SRHR in a friendly, non-judgmental environment. Simultaneously, teachers and civil society organizations are trained to facilitate dialogues using self-reflexive tools such as the BraveMen Diary and encourage student-led activism to prevent VAWG. Additionally, a mobile app “Challenger Mamu” was developed wherein young men and boys can anonymously ask SRHR questions to experts, and an 11-episode television reality show documents the Campus Hero Café activities and demonstrates positive male role models and their engagement in SRHR and prevention of VAWG.



The proposed research project aims at engaging young men and boys (age 14-21) to educate them on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) while also contributing to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG). To this aim, young men at different universities in Dhaka, and boys in secondary schools (grade 9-10) in Pabna, Sirajganj, Natore, Rangpur and Coxsbazar districts, will be mobilized through community activism aimed at questioning harmful gender norms, practices and rigid notions of masculinities. To evaluate the intervention, participatory action research will be carried out using Self Reflexive Diaries, a research tool tested during a previous pilot initiative, the Brave Men Campaign.
During the first phase of this project, the Campus Hero Café ? a safe learning space for students - will be set up to train selected university students on SRHR. Simultaneously, school teachers and community organizations? volunteers will also be trained on how to facilitate dialogues using the Diaries and mobilize community support for student-led activism to prevent VAWG. In the second phase, the school teachers will facilitate SRHR learning using Diaries in their schools while the community mobilizers will support them to initiate community activism on violence prevention. Finally, selected clippings of the community activism - titled the ?Campus Heroes? - will be telecasted on a Satellite Television Channel and on social network. In the third and final phase, the learning of the initiative will be shared at different levels (local, national, regional and global) with special policy recommendations.


Professional publication

Publication meant for a broad audience

Publications for the general public


Project number

W 08.560.006

Main applicant

Dr. G.T. Barker

Affiliated with


Team members

Dr. G.T. Barker, R. Boriskin, U.S. Chowdhury, A.F. Fried, Dr. S. Imtiaz, A. Islam, I.J. Khan Barsha, Dr. G Lauro, r Levtov, M. Miah MD, T. Rahman, F.F. Sheela, K. Syfullah