‘KNOW YOURSELF' KIT FOR ADOLESCENTS – BANGLADESH
The “Know Yourself” materials were developed under the Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) communication program in Bangladesh . The ARH program addresses the gap between knowledge and practice through its multi-pronged communication strategy focusing on priority adolescent issues revealed by adolescents themselves. The comprehensive program is based on extensive research revealing the need to create an enabling environment that supports adolescents' knowledge and service seeking behaviors.
The “Know Yourself” package of materials or kit aims at four critical components of behavior change: provision of information, motivation for behavior change, building life skills, and creating an enabling environment to support and sustain behavior change over time. All ARH materials and media use the logo with “NijekeJano" or "Know Yourself" as the slogan. This provides 'branding' to identify the ARH program materials and a rallying point for the partners involved. Adolescents are involved in all stages of program developments: Formative research, character development and story writing for scripts and comic books, retesting, acting, and evaluation.
Pamphlets were produced to cover the following subjects:
Comic books are very popular with adolescents and allow programmers to address sensitive issues more directly than is possible on television or radio. The ARH comic books feature the adventures of adolescents Sajjad and his sister Shanu in a semi-urban town that touch on the reproductive health issues. Each comic book includes guidelines and questions for discussion on these issues.
Building Life Skills:
Four Life Skills Facilitators' Guides with Videos were developed to encourage adolescents to think through goals and problems and articulate their opinions. The guides contain many life skills exercises on the same four subject areas as the booklets. The life skills workshop is a forum where adolescents practice decision making, problem solving, critical and creative thinking and interpersonal skills. The videos feature adolescents speaking openly, role-playing, comic animation and parent and service provider statements.
Creating An Enabling Environment:
A 39-episode TV series and 52-episode radio series follow a variety-show format with adolescent anchors and field reporters who conduct interviews with adolescents, parents, teachers, service providers and community leaders on ARH issues. The program also presents songs, poems, quizzes, dramas using the same characters as the comic book. The national TV and radio broadcast extend ARH messages to adolescents, parents, community leaders and service providers. The TV and radio series are linked to the toolkit and comic books through the logo and theme songs.
EVIDENCE OF IMPACT
The program implemented a pilot study of the ARH materials in three rural areas of Bangladesh. This pilot study included baseline and follow-up cross-sectional surveys of adolescents and their parents in the implementation and selected comparison areas. Overall, 1702 adolescents and 1203 parents were interviewed in the spring of 2004 and 1827 adolescents and 1276 parents were interviewed in the summer of 2005.
The main findings from this study include:
A larger study is planned for fall 2006 to assess the joint effects of the mass media and community-level activities.
The “Know Yourself” Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Communication Program was developed by the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP), with support from the ARH Working Group, technical assistance from the Health Communication Partnership, based at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, Kathmandu, with funding from USAID and UNICEF Bangladesh.
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