GAGE qualitative researchers Riaz Hossain, Research Associate at the BRAC School of Public Health and Sahida Khondaker, Research Associate at the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development were invited to Bangladesh’s YoungNite, a 40 minute television programme featured on the ATN News Channel that reflects the views, opinions and lifestyles of Bangladeshi youth. The GAGE researchers were interviewed by presenter Rezwan Faiz.
Sahida Khondaker provided an overview of the GAGE programme, noting the importance of Bangladesh as a research site given the country recently just having reached middle income status. The interviewer probed on questions around adolescent experiences of education and economic empowerment. GAGE researchers spoke to the differences in the gendered experiences of these – such as the high number of boys dropping out of school to pursue employment opportunities to support their families, whilst girls are more likely to continue to study. However, girls tend to live in fear of getting married off early by their parents and being taken out of school, which can dampen their educational aspirations. They also spoke about the differences in educational support for boys and girls, with government interventions typically being aimed at girls, despite research showing that in low-income settlements parents tend to prioritise boys’ education.
Riaz Hossain highlighted the GAGE 3C conceptual framework – and noted that looking into contextual factors is highly important when conducting in-depth research. The pair also noted that adolescents should be listened to by their parents and authority figures, who should in turn speak to them about culturally sensitive subjects such as sexual and reproductive health. GAGE researchers emphasised that schools and clubs can contribute to positive outcomes as they create a space for adolescents to express themselves and be heard – particularly important when teenagers feel as though they cannot speak to their parents. They also emphasised the need for the government to ensure that schools were implementing the sexual and reproductive health curriculum- as they have found that young adolescent boys tend to otherwise learn about these topics from their peers or YouTube videos.
The interview also covered the importance of having policy makers engage with the research findings. This was echoed during the workshop that had taken place earlier in the morning, where a representative from the Ministry of Education had noted how useful it was to learn from real life interventions to help inform future decision-making.