Share-Net Bangladesh has embarked on a Community of Practice (CoP) regarding Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in order to create a collaboration with different government and non-government stakeholders.
This CoP aims to document the current ongoing works on CSE that are being implemented by the government, the gaps remaining, and recommendations on the way forward at the national level. This mapping will be an additional resource, that can be used by the CoP, and updated as necessary. It can also be used to think of Share-Net Bangladesh’s way forward if it continues to delve further into the theme of CSE, and establish partnerships at a regional as well as national level.
As of 2023, the issue of CSE in Bangladesh remains significant in the context of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. The National Adolescent Strategy, formulated in 2020, recognises that adolescent girls often learn about menstruation from their older female family members. However, it also acknowledges that this traditional method of information dissemination can expose them to health risks and social stigmatisation.
CSE is considered crucial to providing quality and appropriate information to adolescents. Research, such as a study conducted by UNESCO in 2015, has shown that CSE has a positive impact on improving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes among adolescents. Furthermore, CSE has been found to contribute to the development of communication, negotiation, relationship skills, and positive gender attitudes, which not only affect SRH but also mental health (National Strategy for Adolescent Health, 2017–2030).
Despite the recognition of the importance of SRH for adolescents in the National Adolescent Strategy, comprehensive sexuality education is not addressed adequately. This omission is seen as a gap that needs to be addressed, as ensuring SRH rights for adolescents would be incomplete without incorporating CSE in schools and educational institutions. It is emphasised that CSE should align with international standards while being adapted to the specific context of Bangladesh.
To address this gap and promote a broader CSE movement, Share-Net Bangladesh has undertaken a comprehensive mapping exercise with expertise from SERAC Bangladesh. The aim is to identify and map existing and proposed CSE programmes and activities within the country. This mapping exercise will provide valuable insights for policy reform processes and the inclusion of comprehensive information on SRH and CSE in textbooks.
Efforts are being made to bring about positive changes in the field of CSE in Bangladesh. However, as of 2023, CSE has yet to receive adequate attention and implementation in line with the recognised importance of SRH rights for adolescents. Ongoing initiatives, such as the mapping exercise conducted by SERAC Bangladesh, are crucial in building momentum and advocating for policy reforms that promote the inclusion of CSE in educational settings.
Overall, CSE in Bangladesh is seen as a crucial component of adolescent health and well-being, and efforts are being made to ensure its incorporation into educational institutions and policy frameworks.
Liaising with the international CoP’s of Share-Net International on a regular basis;
Identifying the main information sources, literature and key experts in the country;
Identifying policymakers or others who can influence the uptake of products from the conference;
Discussing and reviewing the selected SRHR topic:
Reviewing what is known in the country (evidence);
What the key challenges in addressing the topic are;
What sub-topics within ‘Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)’ should be prioritised at country-level; and
What is already available in terms of interventions, tools and strategies for that topic;
Identifying potential key users of the products to be developed;
A key publication from the CoP is the research report Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Mapping For Adolescent People In Bangladesh
SM Shaikat (Executive Director, SERAC-Bangladesh)
Tasnia Ahmed (Programme Manager, SERAC-Bangladesh)
To read more about Share-Net Bangladesh’s CoP on Comprehensive Sexuality Education, please visit their main CoP information page.
The CoP was launched in August 2022
For more information about the CoP, please contact Jannatul Munia, Share-Net Bangladesh Country Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org