As part of the Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Dhaka project, youth volunteers will help address SRHR issues in their communities through improving awareness and supporting access to local health providers specially trained to deliver SRH services.
Our partner SERAC Bangladesh has selected 100 volunteers from 10 areas of Dhaka North and South City Corporations to work alongside general practitioners and other community members. To date, the first 8 batches of volunteers have participated in the orientation where they were given an overview of the project and trained on SRHR issues by project partners. The training also included skill-building sessions to improve their communication, networking, and social media skills, which will be valuable as they engage in discussions on sensitive SRHR subjects with their peers and community members. By next year, SERAC aims to recruit and train 1000 youth volunteers as part of the project.
The training sessions led to greater empathy and understanding among volunteers for women and youth in need of care. Already, the volunteers created a more positive and supportive environment to discuss SRHR topics. Community mobilization is increased, as there is a sense of eagerness and enthusiasm from the volunteers. There is also an increase in network building, especially via social media, as the volunteers are planning the development of social media spaces to reach community members. The volunteers also celebrated International Women’s Day this year with successful events held in several locations in Dhaka.
Despite the project being in its early stages, it is clear the volunteers are ready to play an important role in community mobilization and social and behaviour change. As one youth volunteer highlighted:
“Volunteerism is a human act that gives us a sense of fulfillment by allowing us to contribute to the progress of our community. Volunteering may be in many forms, even the small things we do in the community on a daily basis can make a great impact, such as, assisting someone with her health, accessing resources, and so on. Volunteerism makes us humble; it helps us to make a real impact and bring positive changes in our personal lives as well as develops some interpersonal skills.”