1.       Challenges

·         Most of our target areas are in rural and semi-rural areas, thus electric power and Network for internet utilization sometimes fluctuate interfering with the CSE programs

·         The long standing traditional and cultural attitudes towards sexuality have challenged comprehensive sexuality education. As a result, it required exert painstaking effort to the communication interventions.

2.       Achievements

From the 2013 and half of 2015 implementation year

·         292teachers and peer educators from upper primary schools, secondary schools and out of school youth centers have been selected and trained on the WSWM and Meharebe.

·         680 Computers, 68 printers, 68 digital camera and the necessary training materials are purchased and distributed for each center and internet services installed.

·         Schools and youth centers have graduated 19,680 youths. At the end of the lessons, exhibitions were organized by students for peers, teachers, and families.

Some of the changes in youth were

-          Knowledge regarding gender equality, median age of marriage and legal consent of girls and boys for marriage, and sexual entitlements has increased

-          Developed the interest to take voluntary HIV test

-          Change in behavior seen such as delay of first sexual intercourse, use of condom and contraceptive for those who has started sexual intercourse

-          Self-confidence and ability to express oneself freely increased leading to open communication between peers, teachers and parents

Lesson Learnt

·         Participation of different stakeholders were found crucial in adoption and revision of the CSE manual to maintain its age-appropriate and culture sensitivity, quality implementation and sustainability. Therefore, the establishment of Amhara, Afar, and Oromiya Regional Advisory Group and technical committee at district level consisting of education, health, women and children affairs, youth affairs bureau has contributed towards making the implementation of projects smooth at the ground level.

·         DEC is very familiar with the school based intervention of the WSWM program. However, the youth centre based intervention of the WSWM is a complete new experience and a new exposure. Thus implementing manual was developed to guide the implementation.

·         Proper sensitization of the program to the school community, parents and government offices has contribution in successful endorsement of the program.

·         The WSWM manual being computer based and interactive methodology has the benefit of attracting youths and providing the topics in a fun way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, DEC has many experiences that cumulated from researches and practical implementation since its focus on SRH started.DEC follow bold and innovative approached to achieve its desired goal. Our achievements in this department has been celebrated and admired by the youth, teachers, school administration, government officials and the community. In the future, we plan to up-scale our program to all regions in Ethiopia and diversify our CSE manual to reach people starting from children to adults.

 

       Strategies Employed

 Use of Innovative Approach

Comprehensive Sexuality education (CSE)- Use of Age appropriate and culturally sensitive CSE manuals (WSWM and Meharebe)targeting in school and out of school youth.The World Starts with Me (WSWM) is computer based CSE designed for age 13+ and the second manual, Meharebe, is paper based developed for age 11-13. Teacher and peer educators receive trainings on SRH & CSE basic principles and facilitation skill of the manuals by certified master trainers.

ICT tools - Addressing SRH issues in a context like Ethiopia, where most of the times considered as taboo; asks for a very critical and innovative approach. One of the innovative natures of the implementation is using of ICT to address lessons of SRH issues in digitalized form with interactive games.

1.       SRH Program Background

Today adolescents and young people are the largest proportion of the world’s population in history. Nearly half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, developing countries taking the share of 87%.

Available evidences show that the youth in Ethiopia are affected by sexual and Reproductive Health related problems. This is mainly due to lack of proper knowledge, positive attitude and skills. As the 2011 EDHS vividly shown, adolescent within age 15-19, only 1 % of young women and 17% of young men used condoms during their first sexual encounter. Among sexually active youth age 15-24, 6% of women and 37% of men are engaged in higher-risk sexual activity. Similarly, 12% of the Ethiopian women aged 15-19 years were already mothers or pregnant with their first child. Sexual initiation and childbearing begin early in Ethiopia, with young people often having little knowledge and limited access to reproductive health services.

In addition, one of the reasons for drop out of students, and low academic achievements were observed link with sexual and reproductive health problems.DEC is primarily focused on improving the quality of primary education. To alleviate the SRH problems of students, it started creating awareness on HIV/AIDS through school clubs with a motto ‘End of HIV/AIDS begins at school’. While assessing the impact of the program, it did not bring the desired results. Youth need assessment was undertaken to identify what youth need and how to address it. Holistic approach was required that can enhance their knowledge and skill, and cultivate positive attitude. The environment should be made friendly in relation to reproductive healthservices and community awareness.

 

     Objectives of the Program

The main objective of the sexual reproductive health program is enhancing the knowledge, skill and attitude of youth & adolescents on sexual and reproductive health; leading to behavioral change which enables young people to make evidence based and informed decisions with responsible choices.

The sexual reproductive health department has different projects under it, such as

·         I can, but I won’t-I decide funded by ICCO corporation

·         Sexual reproductive health for informed decision, funded by David and Lucile Packard foundation,

·         Technical backstopping to organizations such as

o    Save the children to promote youth focused CSE under the Keep it real project; and

o    Kinderpostzegels to reduce Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM) and Early Marriage (EM) through comprehensive sexuality education to targeted primary schools.

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