The programme on Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development for Africa is a response to the growing number of social issues faced by African young people, particularly girls. Adolescent pregnancies, unemployment, street children, child prostitutes, HIV victims, drug abuse in the young and school dropouts are foremost among the concerns of African Ministers of Education. They have decided that the time has come for education systems to play a more active role in the growth and the development of young people. In 1994, UNESCO welcomed a proposal for Guidance and Counselling from the African Ministers of Education as a way of addressing these new trends within the African cultural context. Since then, they have continued their appeal to UNESCO to support their countries in implementing this programme.


Young people are without the support they need in their adolescent years and the situation is not better for those going to school. Teachers are not trained to provide guidance and counselling and curricula do not address the relevant issues. In short, the young are not taught life-skills. Education needs to take the lead in addressing these issues.


The programme is planned around the needs of girls, but does not exclude boys. It is designed to train the trainers of trainers, and is managed by a group of African Ministers of Education supported by a Regional Technical Committee. It provides the region with the institutional capacity to develop expertise and materials on the latest knowledge and techniques needed for guidance and counselling for youth development. The programme offers regional training, leading to an in-service training certificate on guidance and counselling for the trainers of trainers and social and youth workers, and organizes local workshops for trainers in their respective countries to disseminate the programme at national level. The Training Package on Guidance and Counselling, containing 8 training modules was prepared by local specialists in consultation with other competent agencies. The areas covered are: behaviour modification, gender sensitivity, social work and adolescent reproductive health. This package complements the academic programme, thus making the education of the young more holistic and enabling them to adapt better to their social and economic environment.