SAFAIDS To Set-Up CSE Anti-Opposition Task-force Team In Zimbabwe

THE Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS), is in the process of establishing a national Anti- Opposition committee for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Zimbabwe, as means to systematically counter opposition to towards (CSE).

By Michael Gwarisa

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a curriculum-based process of participatory teaching and learning about aspects of sexuality aimed at equipping children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that empower them to realise their sexual and reproductive health well-being and rights; develop healthy interpersonal relationships; reflect on the impact of their choices on self and societal well-being; and secure and protect their rights throughout their lives.

However, despite growing parental support for sexuality education in public schools,  in Zimbabwe and across the African continent, CSE has been met with coordinated opposition claiming that CSE would encourage young people to engage in sexual activity and explore sexuality and gender identities beyond the heterosexual or male and female relations.

Speaking during a Secure the Future, ESA Commitment Sensitization meeting in Harare, Ashley Ngwenya, the SAFAIDS program officer said after the Ministers of Education, Health, Gender, and Youth from Eastern and Southern Africa, gathered virtually in 2021 to reaffirm their commitment to supporting empowerment of African adolescents, the main agenda now was to ensure countries adopt the ESA Commitment and in return adopts Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

Because of the challenges that come with the intricate information or the intricate opposition that comes with CSE, you find that there are matters like issues of sexuality, issues of Sexual debut, issues of Parent Child Communication (PCC) even basic things like going on a period. We would like to find out how best the ministries, the country as a whole, people individually, Civil Societies and other bodies are able to assimilate CSE into their way to ensure that they are able to domesticate it in Zimbabwe.

“To do that, SAFAIDS would like to have under the Secure the Future Project, a tracking body and this tracking body will be comprised of young people, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), government representatives so that even the government itself does introspection of how far they have gone and where they are going and if they are going in the right direction,” said Ashely.

She added that the idea behind the formation of Anti-Opposition Task-force Teams (AOTT) was that of having a body that would effectively and systematically counter opposition to Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

“There will be a series of capacity strengthening and orientation sessions on how to do this. SAFAIDS will convene these sessions and members of the AOTT which we are calling the Anti-Opposition Task force Team to be able to engage fully with different stakeholders, the minsters and to be able to have a keen eye of seeing opposition when it raises its head and immediately raising it with the rest of the team and ensure they find solutions to the issue on time.”

Ashley added that the task-force will act as a watchdog and keep government, CSE stakeholders and other players on high alert.

“The Anti-Opposition Taskforce Team will be there to track upcoming apposition, already existing opposition and even to create papers, advocacy positions ion how best we can engage communities on CSE,” she said.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), is an integral part of Zimbabwe’s Guidance and Counselling curriculum and covers the teaching of cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. It enables children and young people to make informed decisions and to protect their health, well-being, rights and dignity. Prevention of GBV is an important component in the curriculum and children, especially girls, learn that they can say no to harmful practices such as child marriage.

Following the review of the school curriculum, content on Guidance and Counselling syllabus has been updated to strengthen Life skills, Comprehensive Sexuality, HIV/AIDS and GBV education in the Curriculum Framework 2015-2022. Guidance and Counselling is included in the curriculum to be taught from Infant to the Secondary Education level. Additionally to being a learning area, Guidance and Counselling is also implemented as a programme and a counselling service.


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