strategy

Promoting adolescent reproductive health awareness

Synonyms:
Advocating juvenile sexual education
Providing sex counselling for young people
Context:
Around the world, a significant number of adolescents are sexually active at early ages, and increasingly outside of marriage. Many sexually active teenagers are no using any method of family planning. In developing countries only 17% of married 15-19 year-old women use contraceptives. About half of all HIV infection so far have occurred in people younger than 25; since the start of the pandemic at lest six million youth have been infected. Certain cultural behaviours place adolescents at greater reproductive health risk. They include encouragement of early sexual intercourse, female genital mutilation, promiscuity by older men with young women, lagging education of young girls, early childbearing, illegal and unsafe abortion and taboos on sex education.
Implementation:
Youth for Youth is a pilot project of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It empower young people in six developing countries to promote their own adolescent sexual education. In Senegal a musical group reaches street children. In Jamaica the YES (Youth for Education on Sexuality) project has developed rap songs about AIDS and give advice on teenage sexuality on TV programmes. Family planning associations in 16 Caribbean islands have promoted 'Under Twenty' radio programmes with music, discussion and interviews about sexuality and other topics of interest to young people.

In Indonesia in 1985, the family planning association founded [Sahabat Remaja] (Friends of Youth) to provide free counselling services through a hotline, mail and personal consultations. They found that many teenagers are uniformed about the facts of life, let alone contraception. They used seminars, radio programmes, newspaper and magazine articles, and exhibitions to give information about sexuality and reproductive health. The most difficult task was changing the views of the older generation.

In Morocco, where 15% of girls still marry under the age of 15, the family planning association (AMPF) supports 20 volunteers youth committees in youth clubs in six regions. These committees have organized a wide range of activities -- song- and play-writing competitions, for instance -- all focused on population themes, in an effort to familiarize young people with family planning issues. In an extension of these activities, AMPF has arranged for the winning entry of 1992's play-writing competition -- about the importance of educating girls -- to be professionally produced and broadcast on television.

Claim:
1. Young people usually view their sexuality positively, yet in most societies their own views on their needs and experiences have been ignored. Some family planning providers withhold these services from adolescents. Organizations which do provide, or could have extended, adolescent family planning services have been defunded. There has been an unwillingness by policymakers in many countries to accept or decide on a course of action related to adolescent sexual behaviour. It is critical that youth-serving organizations, parents, teachers and policymakers mobilize their efforts and resources now to ensure young people's rights to sexuality information and reproductive health services in the coming decade. To take a "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil" approach jeopardizes the lives of the world's future generations -- a population that will reach 2,000 million by the year 2025.

2. By the age of nine or 10, younger people should be fully aware that gays and lesbians do exist and that some poepl fall in love with other poeple of the same sex. They should be tought about the virtues of understanding and tolerance in order to tackle the teasing and bullying that often occurs at school.

Counter Claim:
Permissive sex education has placed before young people through books, youth clubs, clinics and classrooms all the facts, in four letter words, including the morally squalid kind, about every conceivable kind of sex. It takes sex education out of the context of traditional values, which in the ideal at least, have related sex to marriage and loyalty. By providing sex education without a moral context it implicitly approves of any form of sexual activity that a young person wants or thinks they want. It, not infrequently, introduces sexual behaviour unknown about by youth.
Subjects:
Reproductive system
Adolescents
Youth
Marriage
Sex-related questions
Advertising
Promotion
Hazards
Health
Education
Consciousness
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies