Comprehensive Sexuality Education Could Help End SGBV In Schools- UNFPA

THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)says Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), could reduce cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SHBV) in schools since it is a scientifically proven methodology of delivering sexuality education to learners.

By Michael Gwarisa  

Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Zimbabwean schools is perpetrated either by teaching and non-teaching staff and peers. An insidious form of gender-based violence is embedded in child labour practices in the school and the community and gender-based violence is perpetuated by a culture of silence informally maintained by victims, teachers, peers and parent and by the school’s weak compliance with protective policies according to UNESCO.

Speaking during a live radio interview, UNFPA Zimbabwe Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Analyst, Panelope Kasere said unlike the general public belief that CSE was sexual education, CSE was actually an age appropriate method which delivers the right information to the right groups at any given time.

I think what’s important really is capacitating our adolescents and young people to really know and to have a comprehensive knowledge on how they can be able to make informed decisions to protect themselves.  You find that adolescents from that transitional period from being a child to being an adult is a very crucial stage in life. You also find that a lot of physical, emotional and psychological changes are happening and the hormones are raging.

“You find that at this stage, the mental capacity and the decisions that are made are way behind the physical experiences that these young people are experiencing. You find that there is really need for comprehensive sexuality education and really educate our young people so that they really know how to respond to these changes in a good way,” said Kasere.

She added that there is need to ensure there are protected mechanisms and parent to child communication mechanisms starting from the homes where parents can also engage and discuss with their children the various psychological, social and emotional changes they will be experiencing.

“Parent to Child Communication is also essential. You find that a lot of youngsters these days are getting information from social media and from within their peers. Some of the information is not appropriate and accurate for them, leadinginto behaviors that could have negative Sexual Reproductive Health outcomes just like you are witnessing in the various videos and images circulating on social media these days.

“You find that a lot of work that we also do centers around equipping a lot of these young people with the correct information, trying to have that interface to bridge the communication gap between the parents and the adolescents, creating safe spaces and linking them to safe spaces and social protection  mechanisms and also actually acting within the legal framework to make sure that they know what laws pertaining to consenting whether be it to sex or laws pertaining to access to services and laws regarding overall protection of these adolescents and young people.”

Speaking during the same show, Adult Rape Clinic (ARC) Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Officer Trevor Nyakudya said through their researches, they have noted that most adolescents in Zimbabwe are experiencing sexual and gender-based violence and they have deployed young people to work within communities in order to reduce SGBV.

“In terms of our community engagement, right now the Adult Rape Clinic has a team of peer educators who we call sexual health advocates who are working tirelessly within the communities in  Harare right now.”



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