Rakibul Hasan

2016 Winner

Position: Feature Editor
Organization: The Bangladesh Today

Rakibul Hasan, Feature Editor at The Bangladesh Today, is a journalist, blogger and author, regularly contributing op-eds and columns on sexual and reproductive health and rights to more than 20 regional newspapers. With his Peacempire project, he works to break down taboos and create awareness around early forced marriage and violence against women in underprivileged areas. In 2014, he received the Global Youth Award at the Global Youth Meets 2014 conference in India, and he was invited to the 2015 World Youth Summit in India as a country coordinator of Bangladesh. He was named one of Women Deliver’s 200 Global Young Leaders in 2015, and as a 2016 runner-up in the Queen’s Young Leaders program, which recognizes exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth.

Rakibul Hasan is Feature Editor of The Bangladesh Today and a Women Deliver Fellow, contributing researches and columns on contraceptives and family planning, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to 20 South Asian newspapers.

Muhammad Ferdaus, International Exchange Alumni at US Department of State

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Rakibul Hasan is journalist, blogger and author. He writes critical ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to more than 20 Southasian newspapers. Based in Bangladesh, he trained nearly thousand students and young people on SRHR across the country, including underprivileged and marginal communities. With his Peacempire project,he constantly tries to break the taboo and create awareness against Early Forced Marriage and Violence against Women involving young
advocates, aged 15 to 25, from 3 colleges, 10 secondary schools and 05 Islamic seminaries in underprivileged areas.
Recognizing his contribution, Women Deliver acknowledged him one of 200 global young leaders while offering a three-year long fellowship in USA. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth recognized him Queen’s Young Leader in UK.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Can you imagine Greek-like Bangladesh constitutes approx. 180 million people, 20 million more than Russia when only 28% Bangladeshi women 03% males use contraceptives. These is complete illusions of government, instead I think, what we need right now is demographic dividends. Therefore, I initiated nationwide projects that aims at breaking taboos of contraceptives use against traditional religious superstitions, creating a generation of young Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights advocates.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

There exist no concept of contraceptive use in Islamic practices. Beliefs like since God himself would feed upon those new-born babies, why should people concern the future of those babies being born everyday? So anyone working on it is labeled anti-Islamic and western propagandist. And therefore, the governments—either ruling or opposition rarely dares to take direct initiatives against those issues, which might cause the politicians or anyone working earn negative images.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Giving priorities, percentage of Early Forced Marriage (EFM) and Violence against Women (VAW) can give us a clear understanding of how much it costs to be girls and women in Bangladeshi society. About 66% girls are married off at aged 18, when 60% girls bear their first child at 19 and 10% of them get pregnant at only 15 years of their age; can you imagine the disastrous situation that affect family planning?
Young reporters with digital media addresses to popularize family planning.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

For upcoming two years I will continue my fellowship on family planning, including SRHR aspects with Women Deliver in USA as one of 200 global Young Leaders. In the mean time I will continue my project that has already trained nearly thousand young people in Bangladesh to work as advocates and citizen journalists against violations of SRHR rights including Family Planning and contraceptive use, Early Marriage and Gender Violence.