Comprehensive Sexuality Education for Adolescents in Bangladesh : Progress made but challenges remain
Authors : Mamunur Rashid , BRAC IED, Sharmin Farhat Ubaid , UBR BD Alliance , Md. Salauddin Sarker Tuhin , FPAB, Abu Sadat MD. Shayem, PSTC, Joynal Abedin, RHSTEP, Faruque Ahmed , BAPSA. Richard Collin Deuri, BNPS, Matiur Rahman, DSK
Young people in Bangladesh have limited access to quality information on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR). This is caused by multitude of factors such as poverty, socio-cultural beliefs and norms, and weak policy implementation. As a result, rates of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortion are high and there is the potential for HIV/AIDS and STIs to spread.
With this in mind, The Unite for Body Rights (UBR) programme in Bangladesh has successfully focused on improving SRHR knowledge and access to services, by providing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in and out of school, improving health providers’ capacity to provide YFSRH services, and working with communities to create a more supportive environment in which young people can exercise their SRH rights.
A study has been carried out to know the conception and perception of the adolescent boys and girls in schools through the sexuality education. Objective of the study are
- To explore the knowledge level of students on selected topics of sexuality education
- To findout the changes among students after getting the sexuality education
The sample were selected from different geographic locations representing semi urban, haor and hilly areas considering the different socio-economic and cultural condition.
A mixed method approach of qualitative and quantitative data collection has been followed for the study. Boys, girls and parents were sample group of the study . Survey through questionnaire and FGD were followed to understand their knowledge and attitudes after undertaking comprehensive sexuality education in last two years. Some case studies were conducted to showcase the changes brought through CSE.
Results and Discussion:
Conception regarding SRHR
Most of the students are being informed that physical changes is a biological phenomenon. They know about consequences of early marriage, dowry, and types of GBV. They mentioned that they have misconceptions about menstruation and wet dreams, however a few of them still did not have proper knowledge after receiving the information in same manner.
Perception and attitude regarding SRHR and gender role
The respondents are more confident enough to provide suggestions to their peers which makes them different from others. They do not hesitate to go to health facilities for seeking health services though the facilities for them are not adequate. Majority of the group mentioned the necessity of CSE lessons before marriage .
They expressed that they are able to take decision about their marriage or future plan by convincing their parents. They can protect themselves from bad touch and take steps in preventing early marriage or domestic violence. On the other hand good number of respondents believe that dress up of girls’ is the reason of sexual harassment and some of the boys feel insecure to protect girls from gender based violence. A significant number of the respondent think women are responsible for children’s care though most of the respondents of the same group do not agree that men are the decision maker of the family.
SRHR practice at home
One of the major target beneficiaries of the program is parents, Participants in the FGD with parents shared that they have friendly relationship but not discussed about SRHR issues/physical changes. The result showed that majority of the respondents are comfortable with teachers and mothers after friend. However there is no respondent mentioned about their father. All of the fathers agreed that to protect the children from misuse of technology (pornography), they need to support them at adolescent period. One of the mothers expressed that.” Though my daughter is comfortable and share her issues but my son might be in vulnerable situation because he is not open with me or his father.”
Students should not simply be taught the facts and figures about sexuality knowledge; they need practical application of what they are learning and how they should act in these situations. Comprehensive Sexuality Education can help to develop life skills by breaking traditional attitude related gender norms and SRHR issues as it is not only based on the sexual knowledge.
Schools are the better place for CSE and teachers could play the important role. The Community mobilization includes sensitizing key adult gatekeepers to SRH issues specially father or male members of the family as they are the role model and decision makers.
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To know more about the research, contact:
Sharmin Farhat Ubaid
UBR Bangladesh Alliance
House 1060, Road 07, Avenue 8
Mirpur DOHS, Dhaka 1216, Bangladesh
Phone: +8802 58071041-2, Ext: 102
Fax : +8802 58071043