Nepali society is marked by a conspicuous silence surrounding Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues. Within families, SRHR topics are seldom addressed, and despite being included in school curricula, meaningful discussions among teachers and students are notably lacking. The challenge deepens for children seeking information within their families, hindered by prevailing religious, cultural, and ceremonial beliefs.

Moreover, individuals across different age groups encounter barriers and discomfort when attempting open and healthy discussions on SRHR. These conversations often commence with fear, shame, and nervous laughter, restricted to discreet, in-ear-whispering dialogues. Overcoming these challenges would likely require targeted efforts to break down taboos, enhance educational strategies, and foster an environment that encourages open and honest discussions about SRHR.

What is Gulabi Sambad?

Gulabi Sambad operates as a digital media platform under the umbrella of the not-for-profit company, Active Ant Pvt. Ltd., guided by the principle of social responsibility. It aims to bridge the gaps by fostering meaningful and age-appropriate discussions about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) across all age groups, genders, castes, cultures, and geographical regions. Throughout its three-year journey, Gulabi Sambad has produced over 165 podcast
episodes, delving into various SRHR issues.

Our commitment to regular content creation is evident through the weekly production of podcast series, each lasting 15 minutes. These episodes are dedicated to addressing issues related to SRHR. Our podcast is disseminated across six different digital platforms, prominently on Podcaster under the name Gulabi Sambad, and reaches a wider audience through broadcast on over 48 local radio stations nationwide. Also, we are available in Nepal’s one of the prominent apps, Hamro Patro. This multi-pronged approach ensures the broad dissemination of valuable information and perspectives
on SRHR.

Our platform also shares various stories woven into the fabric of our society that touch upon SRHR in the first person narrations. We have published 45-plus blogs on our official website which incorporate stories and experiences of adolescents, parents, teachers, women, and the public from different parts of the country. This narration needs to be widely represented from various other ethnic, religious, and lingual perspectives. This helps bring out the original narrations from the respective ethnicity/religion/language. By sharing such stories through our platform, we not only
provide a pathway for practicing safe SRHR but also offer support to victims, aiding them in overcoming distressing experiences and fostering a pathway to a happier and healthier life. This approach underscores the importance of open communication and sharing, instilling the belief that speaking out and sharing one’s experiences is crucial.

Moreover, we also post YouTube videos regarding the same that cover the experiences of public figures narrating their experiences and curiosities at a young age. We also have been showing our presence on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok which covers the SRHR discussions, individual experiences, and narratives.

Furthermore, we have actively organized interactive sessions and training workshops involving students, parents, adolescent youth groups, and women working in the entertainment sector. The overarching goal of these initiatives is to advocate for and promote Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Also, we had conversations with numerous institutions, including private and government schools, I/NGOs, reproductive health experts, as well as subject experts working on SRHR, women’s health, women’s empowerment, reproductive rights activists, and social activists. The findings revealed widespread misconceptions, false information, and incomplete knowledge among different age groups regarding SRHR, encompassing topics such as menstruation, puberty, and teenage behavior.

Based on a curriculum we developed on SRHR, discussions with students (grades 3 to 10) at various schools are held. This is a one-hour-plus training session with students. During our conversations with school students, we delve into various crucial questions to foster awareness and understanding of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Key topics include defining distinctions between good touch and bad touch, understanding sexual harassment, exploring how
individuals can fall victim to online sexual harassment, discussing the physical and mental changes during adolescence, addressing menstruation and promoting safe and healthy practices, and understanding nightfall among teenagers. Beyond these common inquiries, we also aim to uncover and challenge prevailing myths and taboos that shape perceptions of SRHR.

It became evident that many parents, even those residing in urban areas and possessing education, hesitated to engage in open discussions with their children about SRHR. While some recognized the importance of SRHR, they struggled to initiate conversations on the topic without reservation. Both private and government-funded schools were observed to lack open discourse, with subject teachers displaying hesitancy. This collective experience led to the conclusion that the absence of open dialogue might steer teenagers and youth toward incorrect and unhealthy practices related to
reproductive and sexual health.

We have conducted programs in various private schools and among parents in Kathmandu. Additionally, we have designed a training manual for teachers in both government and private schools to enlighten them about the significance of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). We firmly believe that such initiatives enable the public to access accurate information on CSE and SRHR, directly and indirectly empowering
individuals to make informed decisions. This, in turn, contributes to the reduction of stigma and the promotion of healthier behaviors, ultimately fostering the overall well-being of both individuals and society as a whole.

Hence, grounded in the conviction that integrating comprehensive sex education into the school curriculum is instrumental in establishing safe and open platforms, we aim to diminish stigma and taboos surrounding sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our content predominantly centers on adolescents and youth, recognizing that educating young minds is pivotal in shaping a more enlightened and progressive future.

Furthermore, numerous health issues associated with sexual, reproductive, and women’s health remain veiled in shadow. Individuals or couples grappling with such health conditions often find it challenging to acknowledge and discuss these matters openly. A substantial portion of the population still perceives discussions about sexual and reproductive health as taboo and shameful.

Consequently, many opt to endure problems and diseases in silence. This prevailing tendency not only hinders the promotion of sexual health, desires, reproductive rights, and decisions but also perpetuates these crucial topics as societal taboos.

In our interactions, we seek to gauge comprehension of SRHR issues and identify the challenges they face in their daily lives due to unmet curiosities. These pertinent questions necessitate thorough research to not only provide guidance but also enable them to cultivate safer perspectives and
behaviors related to SRHR.

Faces behind Gulabi Sambad

Gulabi Sambad is spearheaded by two passionate individuals dedicated to the fields of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and child rights. Sabita Acharya and Karuna Devkota, the Co-Founders and Content Creators of Gulabi Sambad initiated this project on November 14, 2020, and have been working voluntarily ever since. Previously, they served as program producers, scriptwriters, editors, and hosts for the popular youth radio program “Saathi Sanga Manka Kura,” which airs on Nepal’s national radio.

Amid the challenging circumstances of the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous teenagers encountered various issues related to sexual, reproductive, and mental health. Additionally, instances of cybercrime, such as online bullying, harassment, and violence, were on the rise.

The escalating number of such cases motivated Sabita and Karuna to launch a creative initiative aimed at fostering healthy discussions on topics related to SRHR and Mental Health. After resigning from their positions as a senior program officer (Sabita) and program associate (Karuna) at Saathi Sanga Manka Kura, they officially established the podcast series, Gulabi Sambad. They volunteer their time and expertise to produce programs based on personal experiences and efforts.

Furthermore, both Acharya and Devkota have accumulated over a decade of effective work in the communications and mass media sector. Acharya has earned a master’s degree in Gender Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Law, while Devkota has attained a master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. They have made substantial contributions through writing and verbal advocacy on issues related to SRHR issues, demonstrating a long-standing commitment to these critical topics.

Theme Our Project Looking to Address

  • Primary Focus: Improving Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
    Services for Children, Adolescents, and Vulnerable/Marginalized Groups;
  • Secondary Focus: Promoting Verbal Advocacy and Counseling in the Realm of Sexual and
    Reproductive Rights.
Placeholder Image