From Knowledge to Action: Shukhi Jibon’s AYSRHR Odyssey in Bangladesh

For the last six years, a groundbreaking initiative named Shukhi Jibon has been transforming the landscape of sexual and reproductive health for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh. Since 2018, this USAID-backed project, officially known as the Accelerating Universal Access to Family Planning Project, has been a beacon of change, reaching an impressive 1.3 million young individuals aged 10-19 across four divisions of the country. Shukhi Jibon is not just a project; it’s a movement working tirelessly to improve access to youth-responsive services in communities throughout Bangladesh.

Shukhi Jibon’s success lies in its collaborative efforts with six experienced local partners, namely Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO), Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB), Light House, Partners in Health & Development (PHD), SERAC Bangladesh, and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA). Together, they have undertaken innovative community-based initiatives that empower young people to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

One of the key strategies employed by Shukhi Jibon is the strengthening of frontline workers and peer educators. Through local NGO partners, the project has trained community facilitators and youth volunteers who have conducted over 15,000 sessions with adolescents, young couples, parents, and influential gatekeepers. These sessions cover crucial topics like voluntary family planning, menstrual hygiene management, and sexually transmitted infection services. The result? A remarkable 183,148 young people have participated in counseling or informational sessions between 2021 and 2023.

Moreover, Shukhi Jibon has successfully brought adolescent- and youth-responsive services closer to hard-to-reach communities. By establishing essential points of care, including satellite clinics and structured courtyard meetings, the project has ensured that quality services reach the doorsteps of young people. Over 1,094 first-time parents and recently married adolescents have benefited from these efforts.

The project hasn’t overlooked ethnic communities either. In the challenging terrains of Chittagong Hill Tracts districts, YPSA and FPAB recruited youth volunteers who conducted sessions in local languages like Chakma, Marma, and Tripura. Additionally, ESDO trained 66 young women as Community Sales Agents to distribute essential commodities during flood seasons when conventional service outlets may be inaccessible.

Bridging the gaps between communities and facilities is another milestone achieved by Shukhi Jibon. Through collaboration with government representatives and facility providers, the project ensures a continuum of care from young people’s homes to nearby health facilities. Regular meetings and joint monitoring visits with management committees of Union Health and Family Welfare Clinics contribute to identifying and addressing gaps in the provision of adolescent- and youth-friendly health services.

What makes Shukhi Jibon stand out is its commitment to a whole-site approach, ensuring that everyone in a health facility is ready to provide youth-friendly services. The project conducts orientation sessions for clinical and non-clinical staff to equip them with the skills needed to cater to the unique needs of young people.

Embracing the digital age, Shukhi Jibon’s local NGO partners have leveraged technology to improve access to adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) services. Tele-counseling sessions organized by PHD, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), have reached 3,507 adolescents and young couples, providing crucial information and referrals for quality AYFHS.

The project has also extended its influence into the educational realm, recognizing schools as valuable platforms for reaching adolescents. By partnering with local NGOs, DGFP, DGHS, and DSHE, Shukhi Jibon has enhanced coordination to strengthen school health programs. Over 46,000 young people, including very young adolescents, have participated in school-based outreach activities, gaining vital information on AYSRHR and access to AYFHS at nearby clinics.

Reflecting on its achievements, Shukhi Jibon remains committed to working at a systems level, ensuring the delivery of youth-responsive services at facilities and in communities. As it moves forward, the project aims to further expand its impact, building on the successes of the past and addressing the evolving needs of Bangladesh’s youth. Shukhi Jibon’s journey continues, fostering a healthier, more informed future for the nation’s adolescents and youth.

Download Shukhi Jibon Program Brief from Pathfinder

 

 

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