To improve public health and to create safe public spaces for women and girls through social behaviour change communication (SBCC) by engaging and mobilising youths in Rajshahi City.
In the Safe Now project, a critical issue is being addressed – the improvement of public toilets to make them safer and more accessible. Public toilets in many urban areas, especially in low-income communities, are often in poor condition and not safe for women and girls to use. A study conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh and UKAid found that more than 90% of public toilets run by city corporations are unusable due to being untidy, dark, insecure, and poorly designed. They are also insufficient in number and not suitable for use by men, let alone women and people with disabilities. This situation can lead to the spread of diseases and poses a serious public health risk.
To tackle this problem, the Safe Now Campaign is working to optimise sanitation facilities in public spaces, especially for women and girls. Youth participation is crucial in this campaign because young people can reach a broader audience and help change people’s behaviour. By involving and mobilising youth at the community level, the campaign can monitor and ensure the implementation of SafeNow indicators, ultimately leading to improved public health outcomes. The campaign’s primary goal is to improve access to safe and hygienic sanitation facilities in public places, and by doing so, it has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives, especially women and girls, by promoting their health and well-being. This project contributes to building a better and more equitable society. Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD) is actively participating in this project.
The Safe Now Campaign begins with orienting the youths of Rajshahi and conducting orientation workshops to equip them with knowledge and responsibilities. Youth representatives will also participate in stakeholder meetings to share experiences and insights. The campaign focuses on conducting on-ground campaigns in various public spaces across the city, engaging in location selection, and distributing leaflets to raise awareness about safe sanitation. Furthermore, JAAGO Foundation will create communication assets, including case stories and films, to highlight the campaign’s positive impact and will use social media platforms for online awareness. These activities aim to improve access to safe and hygienic public toilets, particularly for women and girls, promoting a healthier and more equitable society.