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Bangladesh society is conservative, concerning gender inequality. Talking about reproductive health or sexuality is embarrassing for most people. A culture of silence exists in Bangladesh – both at home and at the policy level — that inhibits open discussion regarding sexuality and sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues. In order to prepare adolescents & young people for a healthy sexual life and for healthy relationship, they should be provided with accurate information for greater awareness and clarification for any misperceptions.

An important lesson from the implementation of the UBR programme was that having trained teachers to include SRHR issues as a regular part of their lesson plan is a critical success factor in ensuring SRHR lessons are implemented in Educational Institutes (EDIs) and Madrasahs. Initially, UBR staff would implement lessons following a peer handbook.

The impact of UBR is found in the inclusion of SRHR lessons in Regular Lesson Plans, the inclusion of questions on SRHR in school exams and the active participation of teachers in coordination meetings of the programme. It was observed that our approach has resulted in a broader impact, since headmasters are now initiating the installation of Menstrual Hygiene Management-friendly Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, providing sanitary napkins, and are more sensitive to the changes that young people’s experience when going through puberty.

MMW does not only provide fact-based information on sexual reproductive health, but also provides young people with new skills. The fact based, non-judgmental information provided in the MMW curriculum is an effective way to combat and clarify misconceptions. Even in Madrasahs, where students were perceived to be conservative, the implementation of the UBR programme led to changed attitudes and improved skills.

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