Marie Stopes Bangladesh, the Member Secretariat of NEARS organized an Annual General Meeting of NEARS on 2nd June, 2016 at Training Center of Marie Stopes Bangladesh.
After the registration, the moderator with humble consent of NEARS president started the AGM on 10 a.m. The participants gave their introduction and the welcome speech was given by Dr. K.M. Rezaul Haque, the President of NEARS. At his welcome speech he emphasized the driving factor behind NEARS reactivation and the current need of adolescents. He suggests the network to assess adolescents’ current needs and go forward to meet those needs to provide a youth friendly service throughout the country.
A condolence motion was observed for those members of NEARS who just passed away. All participants took a one-minute silence for the honor of those members.
Through a power point presentation, Imrul Hasan Khan, General Manager- Special Programs of Marie Stopes Bangladesh gave a timeline of NEARS and the necessity of NEARS reactivation. He pointed out some activities that are already held from December, 2015 after a long time gap from 2012. Talking about the sustainability of NEARS to promote youth friendly services he discussed some important goals like ensuring healthy lives, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including family planning services; achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. He also informed the network that each year the world faces at around a total of 1.7 million adolescent deaths that is totally unexpected.
Quazi Suraiya Sultana, Executive Director of RHSTEP on her greeting speech mentioned that the group of population in Bangladesh is poorly informed about their sexual and reproductive rights, their rights for their active participation and meaningful engagement. The knowledge and service available are often incomplete and inadequate for them. As a result, NEARS should work with these issues.
The network proposed for a constitution before registration and the house approved the Terms of Reference with future amendment. The house also took the decision for NEARS registration with Trust Act-1882.
Dr. Noor Mohammad, Executive Director, PSTC informed the house that NEARS took the first initiative for a fair on adolescents in Bangladesh. He mentioned that Adolescents often lack information in relation to sexual & reproductive health and life skills to say no to unsafe sex. In order to reach these adolescents’ effectively and successfully, innovative and creative approach such enter-education, peer Education, leadership building for advocacy and meaningful participation in planning and implementation of program targeted for them can also provide expected out come in the long run.
Dr. Munir Hussain from UNFPA focused on design of ASRHR project to reactivate NEARS so that this network can play as a CSO. He said in order to meet young people’s overall SRH needs and make available accurate and affordable information and services, NEARS have to work with different settings. As ASRHR project is mainly an advocacy based project NEARS should play the role as advocate to successfully promote the adolescent friendly services.
Dr. Ikhtiar Uddin Khandaker, Head of Health Program Plan International Bangladesh, talked about NEARS doings and the future activities. He mentioned that to promote a successful adolescent friendly service NEARS should work with Government. He emphasized the organization mapping for NEARS that is a crucial issue.
The AGM ended with a Vote of Thanks by Imtiaz Pavel, Vice President of NEARS. He informed the house unaddressed and unmet need of adolescents’ reproductive health in Bangladesh and include that it is important to also invest in quality education for young people, including comprehensive sexuality education, decent employment opportunities which are free from gender based discrimination and violence and giving young people a platform to contribute to the formulation of long-term development plans. He also thanked the Marie Stopes Bangladesh Secretariat for organizing the AGM.