Shawpna Aktar is 15 years old and a member of a Tipping Point group at Kukraporshi fun center. Kokraporshi is a village of Jamalganj Upazila under Sachna Bazar Union. It has one government primary school. 80% of its children are school going, but issues related to sexuality/ sexual health is not a subject of discussion in the schools. Suraiya Sultana, Project Officer at CARE Bangladesh, shares Shawnpa’s story in the latest Story of Change. Read about it here.
Tipping Point recently had the oppportunity to contribute to Tarshi’s In Plainspeak online magazine. This publication explores issues related to sexuality in a way that is gender-sensitive, non-heterosexist and affirms respect for all people and their right to sexual well-being.
In Tipping Point’s first contribution, titled “Not My Fault: Reclaiming Public Spaces Along with My Own Sexuality,” Yuleidy Merida shares a story of a Tipping Point participant. When girls and women can move freely, without fear for their immediate safety or the social sanctions they may encounter, they can show up – as participants and leaders – in different spaces. Taslima’s attendance in various Tipping Point sessions gave her the opportunity and strength to follow her dreams and to advocate by herself. It took her some time to convince her mother about going back to school. But with a new sense of confidence and thanks to the comradery of her Fun Center peers, she decided to finish school and serve as an army officer.
In our next article, “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: How the Control of Girls’ Sexuality Is Everybody’s Business in the World of Child Marriage”, Anne Sprinkel explains the connection between control of female sexuality and child marriage. CEFM lies at a particularly unique intersection of patriarchal discrimination and control for approximately 700 million women: on the surface, girls lose their ability to make one of the most intimate decisions of their life – who and when to marry. As the impacts of this practice unravel, we see it is done at the expense of girls’ schooling, chances for paid employment, “the refusal to permit them control over their sexuality and reproduction, and a tolerance of their vulnerability to gender-based violence”. While understanding the impacts of CEFM is important for response, we know that prevention is both vital and achievable.
“Start with good programming, then build research around it.”Dipendra Sharma, Team Leader, Tipping Point
Anne Sprinkel and Dipendra Sharma from CARE’s Tipping Point project talk about the challenges in implementing RCTs, and the risk of sacrificing communities’ needs to the methodological rigor that researchers demand. “Make sure you have a good reason for doing an RCT,” says Sprinkel. They also have some great tips for managing expectations, clear communication, and just how long it takes to do it right (Hint: it’s a lot longer than you think).