|Nyasha Phanisa Sithole|
Educate Her -You have given her a voice to shout!!
"Give me a voice and I will speak for myself" is a true statement that can be said by an educated and empowered young African girl. Education is the key to girl child empowerment and should be recognised as a right on its own. Many young girls in Africa still have challenges in accessing education even at primary level and this has negative consequences on the development of individuals, communities and nations at large. Failure to ensure access to education for the girl child is failure to ensure social, economic and political development.
There are various forms of education that can be offered to the girl child in Africa and amongst them the most crucial is Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Comprehensive Sexuality education can be seen as “precautionary” education that has a direct influence to the total wellbeing of a girl child. Comprehensive Sexuality Education is defined as an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, non-judgmental information. CSE provides opportunities to explore one’s own values and attitudes and to build decision- making, communication and risk reduction skills about many aspects of sexuality.
Key topics included in comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) are:
- Relationships: Friendship, love, romantic relationships, parenting
- Values: Attitudes and Skills, Values, decision-making, communication
- Culture: Society and Human Rights, Sexuality, culture and rights, gender, sexual abuse and violence
- Human Development: Reproduction, puberty, bodily integrity
- Sexual Behaviour: Sex, sexuality and the sexual life cycle, sexual behaviour
- Sexual and Reproductive Health: Pregnancy prevention, HIV and STI Risk Reduction HIV stigma and care
All these when evaluated they are very essential in empowering the girl child into a responsible citizen who can make informed decisions regarding issues sexual health, promotion of gender equality and equity. This in turn will have positive impacts in the national developmental processes of any nation. Comprehensive sexuality education safeguards against early sexual debut and occurrence of teenage pregnancies which has been a major contributor to causes of the girl child in dropping out of school. Therefore in appreciating youth and education let’s also celebrate the advent of comprehensive sexuality education, the guarantee of keeping the girl child safe in school.
“Step by step, village by village, school by school, girl by girl – that’s how you make change in this world.” – Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States.
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