15.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Integrating sexuality education in the curriculum in Senegal

The school of Soucouta, a village on the west coast of Senegal ©UNESCO/Anne Muller

Although HIV and AIDS prevalence in Senegal is relatively low (0.7% in 2011), sexuality education remains key to preventing future infections. And schools, formal and non-formal, provide the best setting for informing young people about reproductive health and sexuality education.

“Sexuality education in the formal school setting is undoubtedly the most effective and efficient manner to meet the needs,” says Momar Seck, HIV and AIDS consultant at UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar. “It allows access to a large number of young people, has an infrastructure in place, including qualified teachers and ensures sustainability of efforts,” he adds.

In Senegal, various programmes of the Ministry of Education and civil society are already in place but often they are implemented by actors working in a independently manner. Their efforts are not harmonized and there are great variations in the issues covered.

The challenge is therefore to integrate sexuality education into the curricula at the various education levels.

In Senegal and beyond

Eager to contribute to this question, UNESCO Dakar, in cooperation with several partners, is organizing a workshop from 18-21 November 2013.

Participants from UN agencies, including UNFPA, government representatives and non-governmental organizations will examine and evaluate the programme/practices of sexuality education and define a roadmap to integrate the best practices in the curricular of primary and secondary education, as well as teacher training and non-formal education in Senegal. This pilot project will be documented and used to promote sexuality education in other West African countries.

The opening ceremony of the workshop will be held on 18 November at 9 am at UNESCO’s Office in Dakar. It will be chaired by the Minister of Education of Senegal, Sérigne Mbaye Thiam. The Representative of the Director of UNESCO Dakar, Jean Adotevi, will also be present.

Use SERAT to assess the situation

The workshop will use SERAT, an analytical tool to assess the current strength and weaknesses of sexuality education. The aim is to assess the needs for sexuality education; the programmes implemented and then choose the good experiences for integration into curricula.

The SERAT tool is developed by UNESCO Dakar and was presented for the first time at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington in July 2012. Today it is used and appreciated by many partners.

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