SRHM has undertaken an initiative to create a South Asia regional hub to advance SRHR rights and generate evidence-based knowledge from five countries namely; India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The hub aims to bring together SRHR organisations, practitioners, researchers, academics and advocates, government champions, youth leaders and other key stakeholders who are committed to progressive social and political changes on SRHR issues of the region. Through ongoing dialogues, networking meetings, a special journal issue and capacity building initiatives, the project will prioritize regional perspectives and needs of SRHR in partnership with selected group of stakeholders to strengthen the local agenda.
We are very thankful for the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation India for this initiative.
The inaugural South Asia Journal Issue provides a space for researchers, policymakers, implementers, advocates and activists working on SRHR to articulate rights-based analyses on key issues within and across countries. Through this journal issue, SRHM strives to identify regional threads to build and strengthen local agendas for evidence generation and action. Most importantly, we hope the issue provides a space to examine challenges and progress, using a regional, multidisciplinary lens to strengthen the community of practitioners, advocates and researchers committed to improving SRHR in South Asia.
Steering Committee Members
- Sundari Ravindran, Principal Visiting Fellow, United Nations University International Institute for Global Health
- Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean and Professor, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University
- Sapna Desai, Associate, Population Council, India and Trustee, SRHM
- Eszter Kismődi, Chief Executive, SRHM
We are very pleased to closely collaborate with BRAC university on this initiative, with CREA on the translation of the journal issue as well as other institutions, organisations and experts in the region.
SRHM’s activities in this area are divided into KNOWLEDGE, INFLUENCE and CAPACITY-BUILDING.
Since 1993, SRHM has published over 150 articles on South Asia, along with a Hindi language edition since 2005. The inaugural South Asia Journal Issue provides a space to examine challenges and progress, using a regional, multidisciplinary lens to strengthen the community of practitioners, advocates and researchers committed to improving SRHR in South Asia.
- Sundari Ravindran, Principal Visiting Fellow, United Nations University
- Sapna Desai, Associate, Population Council, India and Trustee, SRHM
SRHM SOUTH ASIA RESEARCH FOCUS REPORT: 1993 – 2020
This report summarises the research papers published by Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters which are focused within any of the following countries: Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan. 58% of all published research has focused on India, followed by Bangladesh and Nepal. Most research publications have focused on Abortion (21%), Health Systems, Policy and access (16%) and Maternal Health (15%). The report also provides a breakdown of country specific coverage for each key topic.
Rights-based research and evidence-based knowledge creation initiative
In 2020 we launched our rights-based knowledge creation initiative. This initiative is based on the recognition that SRHR laws, policies and programmes across the world are increasingly influenced by ideologically inspired politics and rhetoric, which lack any basis of evidence, often violate human rights, and damage health. Through various activities, our initiative aims to address how rights principles, such as accountability, autonomy, non-discrimination and participation can be made as main components of SRHR research and knowledge creation for the advancement of evidence and rights-based laws, policies and practices.
Global virtual meeting
A meeting titled Enhancing the ecosystem of rights and evidence in sexual and reproductive health was organised on 23 July 2020 with 25 participants from South Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America and the Middle East. The purpose of the meeting was to connect local, national, regional, and global experts to dissect evidence and rights-based research and knowledge creation for influence and advocacy.
Based on this meeting, we planned a comprehensive programme which includes a series of meetings with expert dialogue, extensive rights-based literature reviews organised around key rights principles of SRHR (accountability, participation, non-discrimination, autonomy and consent). The initiative aims to create knowledge products in the form of articles, as well as toolkits for dissemination and global use in mentoring, training and education.
An introductory guide to rights-based knowledge creation in SRH
We published an introductory guide to rights-based knowledge creation in SRHR, written by B. Subha Sri. It has been produced as resource material for the mentoring programme on rights-based knowledge creation in sexual and reproductive health, conducted by the South Asia Hub of SRHM. It is meant to provide an introduction for researchers, practitioners and activists on how to use a human rights-based approach to knowledge creation in the area of sexual and reproductive health.
A podcast on key concepts
In the first episode of a series, SRHM Chief Executive, Eszter Kismődi, speaks with three leading experts in the field, Sundari Ravindran, Laura Ferguson and Sabina Faiz Rashid, and together they discuss the important concept of rights-based research and explore why it matters for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Module 1: Accountability
In May 2021, we hosted a webinar on accountability in sexual and reproductive health and rights research. Five expert panellists came together and explored the core areas that SRHR accountability research must address including social and political contextualisation of accountability, unpacking the operations of power, the context of community driven accountability interventions and addressing marginalisation through accountability research.
Shortly after the webinar, we gathered 35 leading experts in the field for a dialogue on accountability. The purpose was to enhance the discussion on how accountability can be incorporated into research and knowledge creation from a diverse multi-disciplinary perspective.
Ethics Dialogue: Ethics in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research during Covid-19, September 2020
The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the need to collect most up to date and evidence-based information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), that can help governments and others to respond to the challenging and emerging situation. Ethical consideration in SRHR research, such as setting priorities, respecting confidentiality, privacy, informed consent, being inclusive of marginalised populations, however, cannot be sidelined. To deliberate on the shared understanding of ethical practices in SRHR research, this session of the ethics dialogues series on September 14, 2020 brought together diverse expertise from the field to share their experiences and provoked a critical conversation.
SRHM South Asia Regional Hub Strategy Meeting, March 2020
SRHM launched its first regional initiative in South Asia and hosted a Strategy Meeting on 5-6 March, 2020 in New Delhi, India. The strategy meeting brought together SRHR organisations, practitioners, researchers, academics and advocates, government champions, youth leaders and other key stakeholders who are committed to progressive social and political changes on SRHR issues, especially from India and some prominent experts from Bangladesh. Further dialogues to take the freshly developed regional strategy forward are planned to be held in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.
Capacity building is an integral part of SRHM strategies to create knowledge and inspire rights-based thinking in the field of SRHR. SRHM builds the capacity of new generations of researchers, policy makers, service providers and advocates from around the world, both in the global south and the global north, contributing to a stronger and more diverse cadre of researchers, programme and policy makers, service delivery providers and advocates who publish, disseminate and use their rights and evidence-based knowledge.
Mentoring Programme on rights and evidence-based knowledge creation in sexual and reproductive health
To help strengthen the rights- and evidence-based knowledge creation skills of researchers, practitioners, advocates in South Asia, we coordinated a mentoring programme from September 2020 to December 2021. After a competitive selection process, we invited nine mentees who were mentored by leading experts in SRHR from the region. Mentees received training, support and mentoring on analysis, research and writing, with a rights- and evidence-based perspective. The programme also offered the opportunity for mentees to publish their research in the South Asia regional issue of SRHM (subject to peer review and editorial approvals).
At the end of the programme, we conducted an evaluation which showed that the programme has been regarded as a unique capacity building opportunity for researchers, advocates, and human rights lawyers who belong to or are working with marginalized communities. Further, the introduction to rights-based knowledge creation and the collaborations across the region were listed as the top strengths of the programme.