Sex education reinvented

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The lack of sexual education is a big part of Africa's HIV crisis. This project will report recent alternatives and creative attempts that give hope for a better future for girls and boys alike.

  • €15,340 Budget in Euros
  • 2019 Final release date
  • 5 Round winner
  • 3 Locations

In 2016, the Ministry of Gender announced to ban all forms of sex education in Uganda with the worry that the values, practices, and behaviors taught by sex education go against Ugandan beliefs, customs and aspirations. This practice is - unfortunately - not a singular case but rather a rising trend among African nations. Sierra Leone set the stage a year earlier and announced 2015 to legally ban all pregnant girls from school and doing nothing to address the root causes of the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate. The list goes on and even in less rigid countries, topics of sex and contraception as well as sexual health are just rarely communicated and often tabooed.

But a hand full of strong women is fighting for comprehensive sex education - and they are using innovative ways to reach the population or bypass tradition and legislation. Vestine Dusabe is one of those women, she is a radio moderator in Rwanda, own a master's degree in sexology from Madrid and hosts the very popular late-night radio show called “Zirara Zubakwa” on Flash FM.

Zirara Zubakwa is broadcast live for two hours on weekdays and means "happy couples" in Kinyarwanda. In the show, Vestine Dusabe talks about the problems in their married life and gives sexual counseling. Once a week the show is dedicated to young people and their problems such as love, AIDS and lust. Vestine is also known for her awareness of "Gukuna", an ancient Rwandan sexual practice and passes this knowledge on to young girls during her travels through the country.

Another fighter for sex education is Nice L’engete. Together with the NGO “Amref”, she tries to abandon the still common practice of female genital mutilation in rural Kenya and Tanzania - bit by bit and village by village. In order to reach her goal, she set up an alternative ritual that is meant to replace female genital mutilation as a rite of passage for young girls. During a week-long workshop, she teaches both girls and boys about sexual health and the negative consequences of female genital mutilation. In the end, all children undergo an alternative ritual and are welcomed into the adult community by local elders. And the concept works: by educating men too, future elders will carry on the knowledge.

A third woman in the front for sexuality education is Tlaleng Mofokeng, a doctor, writer, TV presenter as well as an internationally renowned health activist. She wrote a book called "Dr. T: A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure” and is touring with her knowledge through South Africa, where healthcare has not been designed for black women with
extremely high levels of sexual violence, harassment, and rape.

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