Age appropriate Comprehensive sexuality education provides information pertaining
reproductive health i.e. body changes, friends and relationships, culture, human rights, pregnancy
for girls and boys, protection against STIs and HIV, self esteem, life skills, future dreams and
plan, Gender based violence etc.
The Kenyan government through the Ministry of Education (MoE) have tried to ensure that
young learners are equipped with information and education on reproductive health in their own
ways through the implementation of the Kenya National life-skills curriculum (2008). A report
published by UNESCO and UNFPA in 2011 found that the syllabi include information that is
generally of good quality and deals with behaviors related to sexual health outcomes such as
avoiding sex before marriage, preventing sexual coercion, not practicing harmful cultural
practices, assertively responding to sexual harassment and sexual assault, bullying and peer
pressure (UNESCO, UNFPA, 2011). However, gaps in the syllabi include that information on
contraceptives, condoms, sex and sexual health were only superficially addressed and excluded
topics as reproduction, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and access and use of sexual health
services and sexual diversity.
The Netherlands is a country that we need to emulate, it boasts of progressive decrease in
teenage pregnancies. The country dismissed abstinence only education and wholly embraced
comprehensive sexuality education in schools from an early age. Their approach to CSE has
proven to be highly effective as they report among the lowest rates of teenage pregnancies
globally. As early as 4 years old, every child by law receives compulsory age appropriate
sexuality education. The information is well packaged, very young pupils are taught basic facts
about their body, the need to recognize appropriate and inappropriate touch etc. The curriculum
later expands to include body awareness and more informative topics as the students grow older.
By the time they reach adolescense,the students are well aware of safer sex practices and sexual
abuse. Furthermore most people who have gone through CSE in the Netherlands term their first
time as consensual. Their key message is building respect for one's body and others.
I strongly believe that the only way we can make a difference in addressing the many poor
reproductive health outcomes in our country is by laying a foundation of our children’s
knowledge on sexuality as early as possible leaving no room for confusion, misinformation or
doubt. We need to reach young people before they become sexually active in order to fight and
reduce the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies. The government needs to put in place a
system that provides young people with a high quality curriculum based sexuality education
program that is continuous from primary school upto university levels and addresses all the
reproductive health challenges and issues that young people face in each level of growth.

Susan Owino
SRHR Youth Champion

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