There are more young people in the world than ever before. With this in mind, sex education – or as we call it, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) – is critical for young people to realizing and claiming their human rights.
Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human life. Being able to express one’s own sexuality freely and openly is central to being human and is important to young people’s well-being, happiness and health. When young people are supported to become critical thinkers, empowered in their sexuality, and informed about their sexual and reproductive choices, the positive impact is felt across society.
Without great CSE, young women and girls in particular can experience severe forms of inequalities – including sexual violence, child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), and other harmful practices.
So you get the point – CSE is absolutely vital, and this is what it looks like around the world when it’s done brilliantly:
Every Saturday, about 40 people gather at a youth center in Mekelle, Ethiopia, to hear about a subject they don’t get taught in schools, and don’t want to discuss with their parents – sexual and reproductive health.
This youth center, located in the Tigray region, is run by the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia. It has a playground and library at the front for studying and socializing, and in the back lies a clinic offering free contraceptives, abortion care, and STI testing. The center is aimed at people aged between 10 and 24 years old and runs a range of activities, including weekend group sessions where young people usually do some performance art based on a particular SRH subject, and hold debates and discussions around a coffee ceremony – a traditional Ethiopian social gathering. “I’m proud of this work because I am educating my friends and my family and protecting them,” says Teklehaimanot, a young volunteer at the center. Learn more about the Mekelle center