Ghana, UNESCO launch ‘O³’ to deliver high quality CSE to the youth
- February 5, 2019
Ghana and the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have launched a program to empower adolescents and young people to deepen their scope of existing activities to attain a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
Known as the “Our right, Our lives, Our Future (O³), it started last year with support from the Governments of Sweden and Ireland.
It is being implemented in Ghana, Eswatini, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe for effective delivery of quality comprehensive sexuality programs.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs. Audrey Azoulay in a statement noted that the program would empower the youth with skills, knowledge, attitudes, and competencies to make informed choices in the prevention of HIV as well as unintended pregnancies.
She explained that the institutionalization of the CSE program would enable the government to provide domestic funding and also contribute fully towards the scaling up of interventions to improve Sexual and Reproductive Health of young people and adolescents for a consistent reduction in new HIV infections and early child marriages.
Launching it, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Education said Ghana recognizes sexual and reproductive health education as a conduit for addressing issues affecting her youth.
The subject of sexuality education has become a very important matter, particularly for the youth in our societies, explaining that “the changing societal context characterized by the free flow of information, media pluralism, and social media has necessitated the need for our education systems to provide accurate information on sexuality education.”
“It is in this light that Ghana welcomes the ‘O3’ initiative and the Regional Acceleration program which seeks to accelerate and deepen the scope of existing CSE in six beneficiary countries”, he stated.
Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyemang on his part stated that CSE called for a commitment to expand and strengthen efforts to develop the programme to empower the youth in protecting themselves for a better society.
The six countries, also known as Program Acceleration Countries (PAC) participating in the implementation of CSE are Ghana, Eswatini, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
What is comprehensive sexuality education?
Comprehensive sexuality education is a rights-based and gender-focused approach to sexuality education, whether in school or out of school. It is taught over several years, providing age-appropriate information consistent with the evolving capacities of young people.
Comprehensive sexuality education includes scientifically accurate information about human development, anatomy and reproductive health, as well as information about contraception, childbirth and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
But it also goes beyond information, helping young people to explore and nurture positive values regarding their sexual and reproductive health. This education includes discussions about family life, relationships, culture and gender roles, and also addresses human rights, gender equality, and threats such as discrimination and sexual abuse.
Taken together, these programS help young people develop self-esteem and life skills that encourage critical thinking, clear communication, responsible decision-making and respectful behaviour.
- Comprehensive sexuality education does not lead to earlier sexual activity or riskier sexual behaviour.
- In fact, these programs reduce risky behaviours: About two thirds of evaluations show reductions in targeted risky behaviours. About 60 per cent of programs had a positive effect on at least one behavioural or biological outcome, such as increased condom use or reduced unplanned pregnancies.
- Studies of abstinence-only programs are either inconclusive or show abstinence-only education to be ineffective.
- Delivering high-quality comprehensive sexuality education requires training and support.
- Addressing gender and power issues also leads to better health outcomes.
- To be most effective, curricula must be tailored to the specific context and needs of young people
- Engaging parents and communities as part of this education is critical.
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