UNESCO HIV prevention project to reach 15 million young Africans
Thirty years into the epidemic and 20 years into the global AIDS response, young people remain at the forefront of the epidemic in terms of infections, vulnerability, impact and potential for change. As highlighted in the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2012, comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV are still not at the desired level.
The goal of this new project generously funded by the Swedish international development cooperation agency (Sida), is to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people in Eastern and Southern Africa by strengthening the quality and content of sexuality education in schools.
This three-year regional project worth SEK 45 800 0000, around $US 7 million, will focus on building the capacity of the education sector to implement sexuality education in six countries: Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. A further ten countries in the region will also benefit from regional capacity building and lesson sharing. The project will address current gaps in sexuality education by working to build greater political commitment for the issue and by supporting the review and revision of curricula to ensure that they meet international standards and respond to the real needs of young people in each country. UNESCO will also focus its efforts on improving teacher education so that all teachers can feel confident and equipped with the appropriate infromation and pedagogical skills to teach this sensitive but critical subject. The project is expected to reach approximately 15 million learners: 11,522,922 pupils at primary and 3,720,030 pupils at secondary level.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Sida on this critical project and very grateful for this generous support. Young people have the right to full and accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights and we intend to ensure that this knowledge, and the skills that they need to make informed decisions, is developed through access to high quality, comprehensive sexuality education that is gender transformative, evidence informed and age- and culturally appropriate.”
Patricia Machawira, UNESCO’s Regional AIDS Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa.