The Southeast Asian Consortium On Sexuality , And Health gender-sensitive approaches in sexuality and health research, policies and interventions
 Research -> Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Changing Asia: A Research Capacity Building Program 

This research project is cross-country exploratory research studies involve a comprehensive and systematic identification of the most important changes in Southeast Asian countries, namely Lao PDR, Indoensia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and how they have affected gender and sexuality. The long term goal of this project aims to influence policy and practice for sexual and reproductive health at national and regional levels. The short term goal is to build capabilities for innovative applied research methodologies in the fields of gender and sexuality. Hence the objectives of the project are:

a. To build research capacity through collaborative research and training in Southeast Asia.
b. To build and propagate a body of knowledge that highlights regional context of gender, sexuality, and health issues in Southeast Asia and China and translate the findings into more practical materials which can benefit larger communities in the region.
c. To network and heighten collaboration among stakeholders and increase    understanding of key stakeholders in the region.

Initially, the research would start with interviews of experts (e.g. economics, demography, anthropology, public health), through Delphi panels, to have them identify what they feel are the most important factors affecting gender and sexuality, and their reasons for naming those factors.
The research would emphasize breadth rather than depth.  Through this, we hope to highlight how macro factors shape and interact with gender and sexuality, with far-reaching implications.  While “experts” are mobilized to identify important issues, the research will also involve interviews with a sample of people representing different cross-sections of society (women, youth, and sexual minorities) so that they can speak about their own lives and experiences.  The research project will be a vehicle for achieving the more primary objectives of developing research capabilities in the region.

Later we decided to expand the project into two components:

I.Identifying structural drivers

This component is to conduct a Delphi panel among known experts and to come up with a list of those factors.

II.Focus on mobile phones

Digital information technologies are recognized as having the most dramatic and visible impact, and while the Internet seems to be the most obvious choice, our discussions led to an identification of mobile phones instead as a focus.  While there is increasing use of the Internet, with considerable impact on gender and sexuality, the fact remains that it is still inaccessible to many people in the region.

Mobile phones, on the other hand, have become more and more affordable, with prices as low as $10 for a used phone.  The emergence of “China phones” – cheap clones made in China and Thailand – has meant that even brand new phones can cost as low as $20.

Accompanying the drop in prices of cell phones has been an expansion of cell sites so that many remote rural areas now have mobile phone signals.

The research project activities are as follows:
•Organize research protocol development meeting;
•Conduct cross-country synthesis meeting;
•Organize regional policy dialogue; and
•Publish the findings of the research studies

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