About Safe

Growing Up Safe and Healthy (SAFE): Addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Violence against Women and Girls in Urban Bangladesh

Growing Up Safe and Healthy (SAFE) is testing out an intervention for promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Dhaka slums, Bangladesh. It seeks in particular to foreground women’s and girls’ rights to choice and consent with regard to marriage, sex and childbearing. It seeks to provide context-specific strategies to build social and health assets for vulnerable adolescent girls and young women, with the eventual goal of improving their lifelong functional capabilities and well-being. The SAFE project, being implemented by a consortium of five partners-BLAST, Marie Stopes Bangladesh, Nari Maitree (We Can campaign), Population Council and icddr,b and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN).

SAFE aims to improve sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in particular by their rights through

    • Disseminating messages on preventing violence against women and girls, focusing on the right to bodily integrity and intimate decision-making. Issues of choice and consent are highlighted as essential elements to help women and girls realize their rights to health and freedom from violence.
    • Providing a comprehensive package of skills and services through SAFE One-Stop Service Centers (OSC) near slums. Here information is offered to women and girls on how to protect themselves against sexual and reproductive health risks and gender-based violence and how to cope with and mitigate their impact. These services seek to implement recent reforms giving all citizens the opportunity to obtain birth registration and national identity cards as critical tools for promoting rights and accessing services.
    • Increasing access to available remedies directly and through referrals and by implementation of the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010, emphasizing education about relevant rules and procedures.
    • Research: The SAFE project involves both quantitative and qualitative research. A cluster randomized design will allow comparison of changes attributable to the program. The Project will measure young people’s vulnerability, social capital, and specific reproductive health knowledge and skills, and preventive behaviors. In addition, qualitative research will offer rich data to inform all phases of program implementation and analysis of outcomes

The intervention activities are being carried out in slums of three areas of Dhaka; i.e. Mohakhali, Jatrabari, Mohammadpur. The slums included in this project are located within 2 km radius of a Marie Stopes Clinic identified using real time Geographical Information System (GIS). The target groups are:

    • Adolescent girls and young women aged 10-29 in the project areas
    • Young men aged 18-35 from the project areas
    • Community leaders from the project areas
    • Different stakeholders in Dhaka (e.g., judiciary, parliamentarians, police, NGOs, etc).

In SAFE project, Marie Stopes Bangladesh provides SRHR awareness education and access to health services. Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) provides education on rights and legal provisions along with legal aid and support services. Services are provided by Marie Stopes and BLAST through the One-Stop Service Centers located near slums. Nari Maitree in collaboration with We Can Campaign carries out community mobilization and campaign activities to create an enabling environment for young women and girls to live a violence-free life through information, education and communication on the exercise of choice and consent as integral to decision making. icddr,b and and the Population Council are conducting the research using a cluster randomized design involving the baseline and endline surveys. In addition, icddr,b is carrying out qualitative research to inform the intervention design and reflect upon the findings generated by the project.