Straight Talk Foundation was in Diani, Kwale County for the 4th RHNK Annual Scientific Conference on Adolescent and Youth SRHR 2020.  The conference, whose theme was “Addressing the three zeroes By Prioritizing Adolescent and Young People’s SRHR” focused on bringing together SRHR stakeholders, experts, policy makers, champions and young people to share experiences and learn new information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

This year we hosted a Panel Discussion to discuss, share and deliberate on the best practices on Comprehensive Sexuality Education advocacy and see a way forward in pushing for effective age appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Kenya. The lively sessions were moderated by Edward Ikiugu, our Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation Lead.

Participating in the discussion, panellist Levi Otondi, the County Manager at The Challenge Initiative East Africa shared that there was a need for a CSE curriculum that was cultural and age specific. “The Challenge initiative provides materials through the TCI University that are easily accessible” He said. 

Lucy Sananai, an adolescent CSE champion, was in agreement. “Cultural beliefs have played a major role in hindering access to correct information on sexuality” She said. Lucy also asked for investment in adolescent girls, especially those from hard to reach areas, to advocate for their own rights and accelerated implementation of policies for the provision of CSE.

While contributing to the panel discussion, Velma Nyamongo from the Centre for the Study of Adolescence (CSA), felt that there was a need to have evidence around Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) to show that CSE  actually works in terms of implementation.

“We urgently need to incorporate CSE in tackling reproductive health issues among our adolescents as a preventive measure in and out of school,” NAYA Kenya’s Immaculate Oliech noted. 

There was general consensus that parents and guardians needed to be empowered as well on Comprehensive Sexuality Education because they are the primary caregivers to adolescents. The feeling was that there was no CSE without parents being involved. 

“CSE is not about teaching young people about sex. Comprehensive sexuality education is holistic and entails many other things. These include provision of age appropriate  information on sexuality and services. We should not wait for young people to get misinformed by their peers, parents should ensure that they educate their children at a young age”, quipped Ms Faith Kiruthi from the Adolescents Health Head Unit, Nairobi Metropolitan Services

The following was the quick take away from the Panel discussion on Comprehensive sexuality Education session:

  • Need to look at interpretation of CSE
  • Messaging for specific populations is key
  • Need to ensure political commitment
  • There is need to strengthen evidence regarding CSE

Straight Talk Foundation thanks the Reproductive Health Network Kenya for the  great partnership