Sexuality Education: Lagos out with more strategic policies
… CSE Curriculum will provide access, improve youths’ ability to make informed decisions – Dawodu
The Lagos State government recently launched two policy documents in order to further empower young people to be able to make informed decisions concerning their sexuality.The documents; “Dissemination of The Strategic Implementation Framework For The Lagos State Youth Policy and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Curriculum and Teaching Manual” aimed at guiding young people in decisions regarding their sexuality.
Speaking at the launching, the state’s Commissioner, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu said the Strategic Framework is an accompanying document of the Lagos State Youth Policy. “This document outlines the range of activities necessary to translate the Youth Policy signed in 2006 into feasible programmes and projects for the overall achievement of the policy’s goals.
“Specifically, it is intended to translate the policy into action through a focus on key strategic areas, goals, objectives, activities and verifiable outcomes.”
“The health and wellbeing of young people in the state is also significant in order for them to reach their potentials.”
Dawodu stated that young people are vulnerable segment of the population who are susceptible to violence, abuse, exploitation and harmful health consequences due to poor sexual and reproductive health decisions.
He listed the factors responsible for poor health status of adolescents and young people in Nigeria as inadequate access to health information and services; poverty, inequitable gender norm; conservative social norms lack of knowledge and awareness about puberty; sexuality, and basic human rights among others.
“CSE is a cross-cutting strategy for adolescents to survive, thrive and flourish in the era of globalization. It is also a component of political agendas as well as deliverables to citizens in Lagos state.”
“Reproductive health issues have direct link with the development and wellbeing of a young person, thus it is important to address these issues particularly for young persons in non-formal vocational training who may have missed out on formal education.”
According to him, the curriculum and teaching manual presented for dissemination has been developed to enlighten youths in non-formal vocational institutions especially on sexual health, rights and issues.
He further said the implementation of the CSE Curriculum will provide access to adequate and correct information for young people, improve their ability to make informed decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives, as well as exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.
In addition, he revealed that the curriculum is structured in a way that it provides a framework for the acquisition of knowledge of self and family living across the life-course and spread around the following thematic areas: Human Development, Sexual Health, Relationship, Sexual Behaviour, Society and Culture.
While delivering her speech, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Yewande Falugba said the purpose of sexuality education curriculum is to support young people that are out of school to gain knowledge, attitudes, skills and values to make appropriate and healthy choices in their sexual behaviour.
“This will prevent them from Sexually-Transmitted Infections, including HIV/AIDS, teenage or unwanted pregnancies, and from domestic and sexual violence.”
“This document will assist all stakeholders to address the issue of youth development holistically and emphasize the need for all MDAs to give youth issues a priority and critically consider youth, give them priority in programme planning as well as make adequate budgetary allocation for this important segment of the population who are bedrock of our nation.” Falugba explained.
In her address, the Youth Program Officer, Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, (NURHI) project, Bless-me Oluwatobiloba Ajani, commended Lagos State government on the new policy framework, saying that the launch came at a time when there is urgent need to pay proper attention to sexual reproductive health of our young ones.
Ajani added that, “having these policies proves that the state is getting serious with its youth implementation policy plan. It shows that, the state has steps it intend to use in implementing the plan.”
“Hopefully by 2021, we would be able to look back and evaluate how far we have gone with the implementation of the policy. The beautiful part of these policies is that there was meaningful engagement of young people in the drafting of the policy. I was part of the draft as well as other young people in every step.”
In his good will message, former member of the youth parliament and Chairman of Education and Culture, Mr Ibrahim Oladimeji called for full implementation because the youth groups have been agitating for the documents to be able to put up sustainable policies that will support their welfare.
“Young people need to know about their sexuality. They need to be trained in some skills that will enable them make some decisions about their sexuality right. It is important that youths get the right information, training, education that will help them develop their cognitive skills.” Oladimeji concluded.