In Bangladesh, adolescents have limited access to accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Simultaneously, they are exposed to content in the media that perpetuate certain gender roles, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviours, information that they do not have the knowledge to question critically. There is significant resistance to including comprehensive sexual education (CSE) in the curriculum.
The Right Here Right Now (RHRN) initiative in Bangladesh aims to create a conducive policy environment through multi-level advocacy drives so that youth and adolescent clusters have improved access to youth-friendly services in public health facilities and meaningful participation in SRHR interventions to address the knowledge gaps. In doing so, the struggle members face bureaucratic obstacles as well as direct opposition from community leaders and parents.
The RHRN coalition has member organisations from gender diverse groups who particularly focus on the sexual agency of adolescents from diverse gender identity and sexual orientation populations. This group has to continue their work in a more subtle way than other member organisations as they fear physical violence from extremist groups. Given their past experiences of killings, physical violence and police arrests, their pre-emptive strategies include working in smaller groups, building regional and national alliances with selective organisations and not being directly involved in advocacy with the state. While this helps them to continue their work, it restricts inclusivity and excludes certain issues from the broader CSE struggle.
For RHRN, working across different districts allow them to strategize across the map, and working through a youth-adult partnership allows vertical strategizing as well. Pre-emptive, preventive, and responsive strategies are seen.