Who We Are

SAFE is a consortium, involving five partners, with a multidisciplinary approach to their combined interventions on securing women’s rights, in particular sexual and reproductive health rights, through providing services, undertaking advocacy and enabling effective monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.

It includes two international research organizations and three national organizations that focus on legal service provision to secure rights and further access to justice, reproductive and sexual health service provision and national and regional advocacy on women’s rights to freedom from violence.

Partners

Lead Partner: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)

icddr,b is a highly reputable international research institution located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It addresses some of the most critical health concerns facing the world today, including neonatal survival, maternal and child health, chronic diseases, ecteric diseases, malnutrition and violence against women (VAW) using innovative, evidence-based and cost-effective public health solutions.

Since late 70s icddr,b is well-known for its ground breaking research on gender in child mortality, morbidity and nutrition, women’s empowerment, family planning etc. Sporadic gender research initiated in the late 70s at icddr,b culminated into systematic enquery into gender and health in 2007 as Gender, Health and Human Rights program. icddr,b led the Bangladesh component of the WHO_multi-country study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women and the UN multi-country study of men conducted in Asia and the Pacific on male attitudes, perceptions and practices regarding gender, gender equality and VAW. Being a member of the coalition known as the Citizen’s Initiative against Domestic Violence (CIDV) icddr,b played a critical role in drafting the bill on prevention of and protection of women from domestic violence with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. The bill was approved in 2010 by the Cabinet. While icddr,b has a track record of key research on gender issues, SAFE project will particularly benefit from its cutting edge research expertise in violence against women. It will bring to the SAFE project its strong quantitative and qualitative research skills.

Research partner: Population Council

The Population Council is a leading international population and health research organization with a strong program on intervention research on adolescents. It is currently conducting projects worldwide to prevent child marriage, promoting sexual and reproductive health, and developing strategies for violence prevention across a range of projects on transitions to adulthood. The Council is currently involved in a multi-country study on health sector responses to gender based violence in Africa; and carried out multi-country studies to improve sexual and reproductive health rights for adolescents and youth.

The Council has pilot tested the first reproductive health curriculum for in-school and out-of-school adolescents in Bangladesh by using a quasi-experimental design to show that reproductive health education improves adolescents’ access to knowledge and services. This curriculum was later scaled up for the Government of Bangladesh’s Department of Youth Development’s youth training centers and the learning was fed into the government-led HIV/AIDS program. The SAFE project benefits from the Council’s expertise in working on sexual, reproductive health and rights issues with both adolescents and men in bringing about attitudinal changes towards gender equality and violence against women in different countries of the world.

Implementing partners

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST)

BLAST is the largest specialized non-governmental legal services organization in Bangladesh, working locally in 19 districts in Bangladesh and nationally at the Supreme Court. It provides a full range of services including alternative dispute resolution, legal advice, assistance and representation in the courts, including constitutional protection of fundamental rights. It also undertakes advocacy to secure rights, including through public interest litigation (focusing among others on women’s rights and on discrimination and equality). It aims to make the legal system – formal and informal – accessible to poor and disadvantaged women, men and children and in particular to marginalized or excluded communities. BLAST uniquely provides representation at every level of the legal system, from the front lines (including Village Courts, Family Courts and Special Tribunals on Violence against Women and Children) to the highest court. BLAST’s main legal aid beneficiaries are poor women in family disputes or facing violence. BLAST has been closely involved in law and policy reform campaigns on furthering access to justice, including drafting of the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010 and the related Rules of 2013, as part of the Drafting Committee of the Citizen’s Initiative against Domestic Violence, and has also worked on activating the National Legal Services Organization.

Marie Stopes, Bangladesh

Marie Stopes, Bangladesh provides sexual and reproductive health services through all over Bangladesh. It runs community mobilization programs for adolescents in Dhaka and Chittagong. It works in collaboration with the Government, NGOs, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA). Marie Stopes Bangladesh is one of the leading NGOs in Bangladesh that provides continued health and SRHR services to vulnerable groups including adolescents, young people and women and children especially in the urban slums of Bangladesh.

Nari Maitree and We Can Alliance (Amrai Pari)

Nari Maitree is a national NGO that employs a rights-based approach in its operations and aspires to achieve an equitable society. It works in seven districts of Bangladesh, and has several offices and operations in Dhaka city. For SAFE, Nari Maitree works with the We Can Campaign-Bangladesh which is part of an OXFAM-supported six-country South Asia-wide network of organizations against violence against women.

We Can Alliance (Amrai Pari) operates as a platform of NGOs working to prevent violence against women, to raise awareness about and address violence against women, particularly domestic violence involving both women and men activists visiting households across the country. It is currently building social cohesion and networks to support the campaign.

Partners

Marie Stopes, Bangladesh provides sexual and reproductive health awareness education and individual access to services and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust provides legal aid and support services, both through the one-stop service centers located near slums. We Can is a community mobilization campaign that is creating an enabling environment for young women to live violence-free lives. In collaboration with the government and implementing partners, the International Centre for Diarr hoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh and the Population Council are conducting action research to inform the study design and reflect upon the findings generated by the project.

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