Adolescents Come to the Rescue

Usually adolescents are the ones who face the harmful consequences of wrong decisions taken by their parents and elders. One of the biggest evils that parents knowingly or unknowingly commit is  pushing their children into marriage before they turn 18 years. In such instances, it is important for adolescents to know and understand their rights, and to know how to negotiate for themselves. 

‘Shahana’ is a cartoon series produced by UNFPA where the protagonist, Shahana, looks for ways to deal with harmful social norms along with her friends. The cartoon highlights and addresses the issues of child marriage, sexual harassment, reproductive health, puberty, gender diversity and much more. Shahana and her friends deal with these sensitive issues with the help of responsible adults. In the first episode, they teach a lesson to the local ‘ghotok’ (marriage fixer) to make sure he doesn’t arrange marriages for girls below 18 years old. In another episode, Shahana finds a solution for an  adolescent girl who suffers from obstetric fistula. The characters inspire adolescents who wish to make a change in their own homes and communities. Each episode carries a simple message which everyone in the households of Bangladesh can relate to.

Television and internet serve as useful means of conveying messages within households. This cartoon series is an effective tool to communicate with individuals and families to reach a wide audience with the right messages. Shahana Cartoon was first aired on television, and it is currently available on YouTube. ‘Shahana’ is a part of UNFPA’s Generation Breakthrough Project.

Generation Breakthrough Project

Generation Breakthrough is UNFPA’s flagship project on adolescents, and focuses on those aged 10-19 years with the overarching objective of developing them into responsible adults who respect the dignity of others and are non-violent. The project also raises awareness on key gender based violence (GBV) and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues.  Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the project is implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) and Plan International Bangladesh. Since 2012, the Generation Breakthrough Project has been implemented in 350 schools and madrasahs and 150 adolescent clubs in both urban and rural areas throughout the country. With over a third of the population, 52 million, being adolescents and youth, Generation Breakthrough is reaching young people today so they can build better, healthier, fulfilling futures for themselves and for Bangladesh. The GB project has impacted a total of 158,550 adolescents since its initiation. 


Watch the cartoon series ‘Shahana’:

Shahana Ep. 1:

Shahana Ep. 2:

Shahana Ep. 3:

Shahana Ep. 4:

Shahana Ep. 5:

Shahana Ep. 6:

Shahana Ep. 7:

Shahana Ep. 8:

Shahana Ep. 9:

Shahana Ep. 10:

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