Eastern and Southern Africa count 158 million young people between 10 and 24 years old – expected to rise to 281 million by 2050. That is a booming potential of young people on their way to contribute to family, local and national welfare and economic development. But along the way, they encounter many challenges related to their sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR): early and unintended pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), gender-based violence, and child marriage. These seriously undermine education opportunities, especially for girls, and affect future health and opportunities.
World Starts With Me
The answer to these challenges is (early) comprehensive sexuality education. But in many developing countries schools and training centers do not provide that. We believe in an inclusive approach in which we involve both girls and boys in our gender programs. Edukans together with Rutgers developed a curriculum for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) for children at secondary schools (age 12-19 years): the World Starts With Me. The curriculum contains lessons on relationships, children’s rights, sexuality and love, prevention of HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancy, and harmful traditional practices like early marriage. We work both with interactive live lessons and computer lessons – thus training IT skills as well. To enhance the effect of CSE in schools, we add components of parenting and referral to youth friendly health services. Our services are also available in remote areas, because the curriculum can be adapted for ofﬂ ine use. We train teachers and teacher-trainers to enlarge our impact and to sustainably root the curriculum in the education system. Edukans aims at increasing the empowerment of young people to make healthy and informed decisions on their SRHR.