Student-NGO Meeting held at ULAB

Share-Net Bangladesh, along with World Academy for the Future of Women, organised a meeting between students and NGOs at ULAB (University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh) on the topic ‘Talking to Adolescents openly about Menstruation, Nocturnal Emissions, Masturbation and Sex’ on 2nd May. Distinguished guests from RedOrange Media and Communications, Plan International, Action Aid, Wreetu, James P Grant School of Public Health (Brac University), UBR Bangladesh Alliance and Center for Men and Masculinity Studies represented the work of their organisations. The aim of the meeting was to create a platform where students and NGOs can learn, interact and establish networks with each other.

Shramin Kabir, Founder, Wreetu, said that news and reports about unhygienic menstrual practices, especially in rural areas lead her to initiate her project. She dreams of a day when young girls will celebrate their periods instead of being ashamed of it. Dr. Ikhtiar Uddin Khandekar, Head of Health Programme, Plan International, enlightened the students about the key figures related to child marriage in Bangladesh, such as the rates of girls married before 18 and rates of unplanned pregnancy. He also spoke about the National Family Planning Programme and the National Strategy for Adolescent Health.

Farhana Alam, Coordinator, James P Grant School of Public Health, Brac University, spoke about the issues of feminity, masculinity, masturbation, sex and sexually explicit content. She presented the students with slides in the form of comic cartoons which the students found very interesting. Dr Farhana Huq, Action Aid, Bangladesh, spoke about menstruation and various menstrual facts, such as adolescence being a period of maturity, and a point of physical, emotional, social and psychological change. She also addressed various myths that are common in Bangladesh, such as women being considered impure when she is in her menses.

Sharmin Farhat Ubaid, Programme Coordinator, UBR Alliance Bangladesh, gave a glimpse of the current SRHR situation in Bangladesh and spoke about the challenges that have to be faced to meet the SDGs. She also spoke about the importance of Comprehensive Sexuality Education among adolescents in schools. Dr Sayed Saikh Imtiaz, Chairperson (Honorary), Center for Men and Masculinity Studies, interacted with the students and enlightened them on of exposure of mobile phones and internet among adolescents in rural areas of Bangladesh.

Special Guest, Mushfiqua Zaman Satiar, Senior Policy Adviser, SRHR and Gender, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, concluded the meeting by thanking Share-Net Bangladesh and World Academy for the Future of Women for organising the meeting where students can learn from organisations who are working extensively on SRHR.

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