Sex and Sexuality Education: Lets Talk

(if you are here to read because the blog title unzipped a curiosity, please share if you may)


For starters, Sex is how an individual is different based on their reproductive organs and alternatively, it could refer to the sexual intimacy or activity between man and woman. Sexuality on the other hand refers to sexual orientation, sexual identity (of knowing who you are and what roles are accorded to your gender), one’s strengths and weaknesses (sexual potency).

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Recently, there has been a debate making rounds on whether Sexuality Education should be added to the schools’ curriculum and the reason for why it is still pending is because among the majority of the people against it, the strongest opposition comes from the parents with reason of-course;

  • Sexuality Education comprises lessons on how and why people should have sex
  • Sexuality Education will motivate young people to have sex instead
  • Children are still young to have Sexuality Education on the curricular
  • The curricular should be promoting abstinence rather than Sexuality Education
  • Sex is a sacred topic and therefore it is not morally upright to have it out in the public
  • Sexuality Education is vulgar

It is only natural that parents fear for their children so please endevour to supplement as to why “you” or the parents you know wouldn’t support the idea of Sexuality Education onto the curriculum and before we disseminate the myths from the Facts, let us analyze the obvious indicators we have decided to turn a blind eye to.

Are we oblivious to the increased numbers of young people engaging in sexual activity as early as 12years?

Should we rule out that the various stakeholders in the lives of young people are not doing enough by talking about “abstinence” because as far as the current curriculum is concerned, the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful to your partner and use Condoms for protection) model is taught but with more emphasis on Abstinence? Why then do we have multiple cases of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions? Is it enough that we blame it on irresponsibility and curiosity or should we be actually playing these blame games at all?

1 in 6 births are to adolescent girls and this comes with stigmatization and as a result these young mothers face significant barriers to continuing with school and finding work which puts them (mother and child) in the vulnerable position of a life in poverty. Due to lack of information dissemination, we have very often seen young people make unsafe health and sexual choices like unsafe sex causing transmission of HIV/STI’s and intended pregnancies.

Sexuality Education encompasses components that include; Reproduction, Relationships, Health and Rights, gender roles, sexuality, abuse and life skills contrary to the initial perception that it is all about “how to have sex.” Sexuality Education does not promote promiscuity but rather promotes healthy, informed and responsible behavior. The goal of having it on the curriculum is to promote the full and healthy development of an individual and have their relationships built on mutual trust and respect. It attempts to reach out to young people with the right kind of information and knowledge about their bodies, their needs and most of all their rights and also promotes physical, mental and social well-being.

Majority people however are quick to point out how vulgar certain individuals, schools or organizations are if their main objective is to empower young people in making informed choices in regard to their Sexual and Reproductive Health.

It is the right of each and every individual, every adolescent across the globe to get the right information about sexuality education, contraception and family planning because teaching Abstinence-only sex education has led to a generation of young people who aren’t adequately informed about some of the most critical aspects of life and their well-being.Sexuality education should therefore be age-appropriate and easily available to young people and sensitization and awareness should be raised among parents on what is really entailed in the curriculum.

“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of democracy- Nelson Mandela

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I Knew

Behind the tall wall fence we stood

The sound of toads and crickets surrounding us

Begging our attention but receiving none

We spoke in muffled voices and whispered

The promises of undying love we said

I love you and i love you more the most spontaneous

The darkness did more than hide us, it shielded the proof of the love we shared

My right hand he pinned to the wall and my left hang onto one of his broad shoulders

His other hand was at the small of my back exerting a force that pressed my body onto his

It had been this exciting for a fortnight now

Flashbacks of our love merry were the last thing i thought about when i lay my thin mosquito-bitten body onto the straw made bed and the first thing that caused a blush to my cheeks when i stretched at dawn

He did to my body only what experts would♥♥

 

  But today i watched

Watched as my biggest fear played out before my eyes

Watched with contempt, misery and realism that made my eyes burn with salty fury

Watched as he fondled the girl i grudged the most

The girl that belittled the rest of us with her natural endowments

The girl that spoke English like she was chewing worms

He knew i didn’t like her- He Knew

He knew this was our place- He Knew

He knew we were to meet tonight- He Knew

He knew we were to be together till forever- He Knew

He knew i loved him deeply and would do anything for him- He Knew

He knew he was the handsome boy that would get any girl toppling over him- He Knew

I was the girl supposed to dust his beddings, serve his food and shine his shoes- I Knew

And i should have known better than to believe him- I Knew.

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Image by Littlerii_rii

Why we should care about the Adolescents and their Health.

Last Wednesday, I happened to be honored with an invite to attend the Share101 hosted by Reach A Hand Uganda at Kabira Country Club. It mainly focused on building local partnerships to implement the Adolescent Health Policy and advance the position of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights in Uganda and different stakeholders from different schools, organizations both community based and also online based, parents, the youths and well-wishers all converged in the Ballroom that was the venue. With butterflies in my stomach and jittery nerves (I still wonder if it happens to everyone), I walked to the front to give a citation on the topic of discussion.

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According to the Uganda Youth Policy (Adolescent Health Policy), the term “adolescence” refers to people aged between 10 – l9 years, and “Youth to those aged between 15 – 24 years.” Therefore Young people” is a term that covers both age groups i.e. those aged between 10 – 24years. Uganda has a large young population with 52.7% under 15 years of age, 37.4% being youth and 23.3% being the adolescents.

However critical analysis of the statistics will indicate a huge difference between the percentage of young people between the ages of 0-15 years and 10-19 years which emphasizes that not many children make it to the later years of their adolescence which sums up to this “The Health concerns of young children, adults and the elderly have hitherto taken precedence over the needs of Adolescents.”

It does not take rocket science however to realize that while the adolescents feel capable of performing almost anything independently, adults still see them as children incapable of handling major responsibilities which makes the adolescents vulnerable, dependent and inexperienced.

With most people conceiving Comprehensive Sexuality Education is all about “how to have sex”, majority of the adolescents are denied their right to access age appropriate, scientifically accurate and gender-sensitive information and therefore grow up struggling with physical, physiological, psychological changes and hold negative misconceptions about their sexuality.

Furthermore, they are denied access to youth friendly services at health centres which results in major and long lasting health complications for example early marriages, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, HIV/AIDS, STIs/STDs plus psycho-social problems such as drugs and substance abuse, delinquency and sexual abuse.

Consequently many adolescents are left with no option but to drop out of school and later lead a compromised and vulnerable life as both adolescents and adults due to the wrong choices they make and just like the saying goes, a wrong choice made could affect if not all, most parts of your life.

The Share101 therefore presented the opportunity to discuss in length and also find ways to mitigate the multiple health challenges and behavioral risks the adolescents are faced with even when the Adolescent Health Policy has been in existence since 2004.

However from the discussion, we realized the loopholes would still continue to be present if the implementation and awareness created does not include the main respondents- the Adolescents both in school, out of school and in hard to reach environments because they are heterogeneous beings with different needs for health information, education and services. Therefore the question that emerged in the discussion centered upon participation.

How can we; involve the adolescents in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes of critical importance to ensure their needs are fully addressed?

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As I walked from the podium back to my seat, I believed this was one step that showed commitment of the various stakeholders, young and old both present, represented and absent in issues to do with us, the youth especially the adolescents and that it is a collective role in order to achieve well-being.

xxx

Special thanks goes to Reach A Hand Uganda for organizing an insightful discussion and it was my utter joy to see all persons in their Respects honor the invite and champion the Policy and also establish its relation to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.