Digital Sister for Urban Youth: Using New Technology For Effective SRHR Communication for Urban Youth of Bangladesh

Popular title: Digital Sister. Technology in SRHR Communication with Urban Youth

Coordinator of the project: Anita Hardon, Professor, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Consortium partners:

  • Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean & Professor, James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh
  • Ivy Huq Russell, Founder, Mayalogy Pvt. Ltd., Bangladesh

Popular summary

This project aims to understand SRHR needs of middle class youth (15-24 years of age) living in urban areas in Bangladesh, identify knowledge and skills gaps among the SRHR service providers, and develop digital SRHR behavior change communication tools. workers and counsellors) to gain insights about available services, gaps and information needs. Content analyses of SRHR training curricula and existing communication tools are being conducted. The study findings will provide critical insights into the current landscape of Bangladeshi urban youth and will be the inputs for developing digital SRHR behavior change communication tools to be used by urban youth and practitioners.

One of the consortium partners is Maya.com.bd who operates an online information sharing platform known as ‘Maya Apa’ through its web-site and android-based mobile app. The team is analyzing the database of Maya Apa to understand the type of information urban youths are looking for and the responses given online. Preliminary data shared in the local kick-off meeting in June 2016, already generated a greater interest among the stakeholders working in the SRHR and ICT sectors. Planned in year-2 first quarter are a series of interviews and focus group discussions with the youth and SRHR service providers (doctors, social workers and counsellors) to gain insights about available services, gaps and information needs. Content analyses of SRHR training curricula and existing communication tools are being conducted. The study findings will provide critical insights into the current landscape of Bangladeshi urban youth and will be the inputs for developing digital SRHR behavior change communication tools to be used by urban youth and practitioners.

Summary

Bangladesh is fast urbanizing with an estimated 35% to be now considered inhibiting major cities and tertiary towns. Youth population of over 30 million is leading internal migration for work and education bringing about monumental socio-economic changes in the country. The established development paradigm prioritized rural development, focusing on poor youth population and their limited to no access to health, legal, and social services. Urban middle-class are under-served, falling through the cracks between interventions exclusively for the poor and non-accessible high-cost private services. A number of assumptions and myths surround the growing urban middle class youth and their social safety needs. There is limited understanding of what this population want and how they are accessing services given strong stigmatization and general lack of information on especially issues of sexuality, sex education, and reproductive health and well-being.

The Maya platform creates a unique space whereby for the first time this digitally and in many instances, economically empowered yet socially limited urban youth have a platform to place their questions anonymously, without the fear of being judged for their decisions and choices. These questions indicate that young people across the socio-economic spectrum face similar challenges when accessing SRHR information and services, yet urban middle-income youth are completely missing from the equation. By using the anonymous and non-judgmental Maya platform, we can better access on the ground burning questions and issues that is affecting the lives of urban youth in Bangladesh.

Products

Publication meant for a broad audience

Publical information

  • S. Siddiqui(2016): Poster Digital sister for Urban Youth
  • S. Siddiqui(2016): Poster Digital Sister for Urban Youth

Details

Project number

W 08.560.009

Main applicant

Prof. A.P. Hardon

Affiliated with

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen, Sociologie en Antropologie

Team members

S.I. Ahmed, R. Akhter, R. Akter, R. Azmi, T. Biswas, K. Fatama, Prof. A.P. Hardon, R. Hossain, M.J. Hossain, Dr. W. Koster, Dr. S.F. Rashid, Dr. T. Roy, G. Sakir, N. Shakiba, S. Shano, S.S. Siddiqui MSc, A. Zafar