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How one youth volunteer is promoting public discussion of sexual and reproductive health in her community

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How one youth volunteer is promoting public discussion of sexual and reproductive health in her community

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It is challenging for adolescents living in certain areas of Dhaka to discuss sexual, reproductive health and rights (SRHR) topics freely, largely due to the social norms and lack of sexuality education. Beli is a 17-year-old girl living in Dhaka who was selected as one of 1000 youth volunteers for the Improving SRHR in Dhaka project and is also a member of a Community Action Group (CAG). With her mother and aunt being the only exception, she has found it difficult to discuss SRHR. She has stated,

We are not allowed to talk about our health issues openly, especially about menstrual problems. I still remember that once one of my cousins shared her problems in front of other cousins and she was asked not to talk about this issue in front of others very rudely”.

Group photo of volunteers and facilitators

Beli is among one of the volunteers who received training on SRHR and gender-based violence from the partner organisation SERAC Bangladesh. She has already used the new skills and knowledge to bring about positive changes in her community. She is working with other adolescents to form a group in her area to conduct awareness-raising and sensitization sessions. She is referring women and girls in need of assistance to the local GP. She is now more confident in her knowledge of SRHR and her ability to speak publicly about these issues. She says,

The misconception [and] misinformation that I used to know about pubertal changes, family planning methods, and menstrual regulation has been cleared up in the orientation training. It has reduced my shyness and boosted up my confidence to speak up for myself and for others as well. Now I know how to access the right information and services; and can refer others when needed”.

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