I work on the Knowledge for Health project that is helping to organize this HIF forum. I wanted to respond to the issue of comprehensive sexual health education (CSE) as being age-appropriate by highlighting the most recent, evidence-based guidance.
This year (2018), UNCESCO's International technical guidance on sexuality education was revised to assist education, health, and other relevant authorities with implementation of in-school and out-of-school CSEs programs. It promotes structured learning about sex and relationships in a manner that is positive, affirming, and centered on the best interest of the young person. Remembering that young people of a certain age are not a homogenous group, it takes into account specific sexual and reproductive health (SRH) circumstances such as young people living with HIV, living in poverty, living with disabilities, etc..
This guidance document also summarized their recent evidence review (conducted in 2016) that reaffirms that curriculum-based sexuality education programmes contribute to the following outcomes:
1) Delayed initiation of sexual intercourse
2) Decreased frequency of sexual intercourse
3) Decreased number of sexual partners
4) Reduced risk taking
5) Increased use of condoms
6) Increased use of contraception
The guidance provides learning objectives grouped by age to ensure they are age appropriate (age 5-8, 9-12, 12-15, 15-18+) to cover concepts such as relationships, values/rights/culture and sexuality, understanding ender, violence and staying safe, skills for health and well-being, the human body and development, sexuality and sexual behavior, and SRH. For example, learning objective for 5-8 year ols related to SRH might be to learn the names and functions of one's body.
My read of this guidance is that it does a good job suggesting how to build on and incorporate more complicated concepts as a young person ages. The K4Health toolkit on working with Very Young Adolescents also has some great suggestions for CSE for younger populations. https://www.k4health.org/toolkits/very-young-adolescent-sexual-and-repro...
Karah Pedersen, MPH | Senior Technical Manager
IntraHealth International, Inc. | Because Health Workers Save Lives.
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HIFA profile: Karah Pedersen is a Technical Advisor at IntraHealth in the United States. Professional interests: adolescent and youth; gender equality; contraception and reproductive health; cervical cancer; SDGs; information sharing and knowledge management. She is joint coordinator of the HIFA Project on Family Planning. www.hifa.org/projects/family-planning www.hifa.org/support/members/karah
kpedersen AT intrahealth.org