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Breaking the Shame. Towards improving SRHR education for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh.

Radboud Gender & Diversity Studies is partner in two NUFFIC/NICHE projects and has the lead in an NWO WOTRO project in Bangladesh:

These projects are financed by NUFFIC in the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE).
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  • 2015-2019: Breaking the Shame. Towards improving SRHR education for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh.

This projects is financed by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development.


Breaking the Shame. Towards improving SRHR education for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh.


Project outputs

Short description:

Organisations who run comprehensive sexual education programmes for young people in Bangladesh experience a gap between their aims and the actual effect of their efforts. They express a need for more insight in young people's varied understandings of sexuality and for better tools to both elicit such understandings as well as to improve young people's interactional competence in issues concerning sexuality, including sexual harassment, early marriage, divergent sexualities, rights and health. Moreover, a theoretical reflection is needed on what programmatic aims of SRHR education, e. g. 'sexual interactive competence', mean in the cultural context of Bangladesh where youngster's realities are heavily influenced by religious or other cultural norms and in social relations with peers, parents, and teachers, besides potential partners. We therefore ask how we can break the shame and silences around young people's sexuality to better understand their needs and to increase their relational competence. This project critically reflects on theoretical concepts dominant in sexual education programmes by confronting them with data gathered qualitatively, and partly checked quantitatively, on the lived reality of young people, their needs,experiences and wishes in the sexual and relational domain. Further, it will develop and test different tools of elicitation to better obtain an emic view of young people on various sexual issues and to identify factors that may hinder or promote competence building. It will also develop and test new or refined tools of competence building, going beyond acquisition of knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).


The main objective is to create the much needed understanding of young people's lived realities and the enabling factors and barriers with regard to the development of their socio-sexual relational competence, which is a key influence on their sexual and reproductive health and their ability to claim their SRH rights.

Three research projects will contribute to a specific aspect of this objective.

  1. Gaining insight into the sexual culture of different groups of young people (both boys and girls, including sexual minorities) in Bangladesh and in the applicability of the concept of'socio-sexual relational competence' in this specific cultural context.

  2. To study, develop, refine and test improved methods of elicitation that enable in-depth disclosures of youngsters on sexual issues relevant to them, and on the factors that hinder or enable them in building socio-sexual interactional competence, in the context of Bangladesh's gendered and prescriptive sexual domain.

  3. To study, develop, test, and refine various methods of promoting SRHR among young people, using effective and replicable strategies to build socio-sexual relational competence, applicable to the culture and the lived realities of young people, so they can make informed choices with regard to their SRH and claim their SRH rights. To develop an action plan for a SRHR competence promotional campaign with relevant stakeholders to further the impact of the project. Disseminate the project's findings and recommendations in ways accessible to all relevant stakeholders and young people.


The consortium consists of four organisations: Radboud Gender & Diversity Studies, James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) of BRAC University, Unite for Body Rights! (UBR) and BRAC Gender, Justice and Diversity Programme. The requesting organisation is Radboud Gender & Diversiyt Studies of Radboud University Nijmegen.