Let’s talk SexEd in Cameroon

Early this September, you must have read or listened or be among the people talking about the form two textbook “L’Excellence en Science 5eme“.

The question is: what is particular about this textbook? Well, apparently module four of the reader (for those who didn’t follow the conversation) talks about sexual and reproductive health.

And as you know, we live in a society whereby discussions related to SEXUALITY is often attacked or faced with strong resistance from the public. Which is why the textbook, according to some parents and teachers who protested against the textbook says, the information in module four on sexual and reproductive health was not appropriate for students that aged – 12 to 15 years and above. Yet, we know that recent studies show that in Cameroon, 22.7% of adolescents under 20 are mothers of at least one child, and the prevalence rate of HIV is high among adolescents.

Chatting towards a common understanding on the importance of SexEd in Cameroon

As a sexuality educator, I believe in the power of positive dialogues and I feel that it is important we step up with our sexEd education and activism, bring it to parents and teachers as they have a great role to play in the lives of students and young people.

So far, one of the easiest ways to help bring this education to the classroom can be through regular non-structured chats such as the SexEdChatCmr series, which we at Wfac recently launched on September 28, 2018, in response to the fuss around the textbook and also to clarify and raise public awareness about human sexuality, including teachers themselves as well as curriculum developers.

For instance, after perusing through the said textbook, it was clear that its development didn’t respect the International  Technical Guidance on Sexuality nor did the content makes a case of the intersectionality between sexual and reproductive health issues with gender, human rights, and students’ academics.

The twitter chat #sexEdChatCmr was attended by more than 17 young people, women, and girls including college administrators and SRH advocates, all sharing individual experiences and views on the importance of sex education. Some of the issues raised and discussed during the 90-minute twitter chat ranged from the need for a public awareness around sexEd to ensuring women and girls access to comprehensive SRH services care and support.

Also of interest was the danger of poor sexuality education to young peoples’ wellbeing and future.  According to one participant’s to the twitter chat, it is imperative that leaders take keen interest to ensure that a comprehensive approach to observed in delivering sexuality education and curriculum development.

Another participant said: ‘There is the need for the adoption of new and stronger methods of SRH education by the government to combat these misconceptions and provide the youths with the required information to life-changing choices’.

From the responses, it was evident that there is the need for more public dialogues to deliberate on those pertinent issues surrounding sexuality education in Cameroon as well as suggest steps in addressing these misconceptions and the primary need for quality SRH education in and out of schools.

 


Written by Emmanuel Ndabombi (@EmmanuelNMOffic), Volunteers Manager and Coordinator for the #WfacgShe program, an annual SexEd program to adolescents in and out of schools

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