As everywhere in the world, adolescence is quite a challenging phase in the lives of young people in Pakistan. Girls and boys need support to not only understand all the emotional, social and physical changes they experience but also to help them transition into adulthood – safely and happily. Due to very strict and deeply felt societal and religious norms they are currently not getting this support, at home or at school. Sexuality is a taboo subject in most parts of Pakistani society. Even talking about bodily changes is con¬sidered ‘not done’. Pre-marital sex and same-sex relations are illegal and strongly condemned. Deep gender inequality severely curtails women’s op¬portunities and decision-making power and provides fertile ground for sexual and gender-based violence. One in six girls in Pakistan is married before the age of 19. Information about sexuality is obtained from the internet, peers or informal health providers and is often incorrect. Misconceptions and fears about very commonplace issues in puberty therefore abound. Access to services is equally limited. This combination leaves adolescents vulnerable to serious risks. […] The term ‘life skills based education’ (LSBE) covers critical sexual and reproductive health and rights topics in a culturally appropriate manner while also focusing on building core life skills related to communication, decisi¬on-making and negotiation. It is modelled upon the comprehensive sexuality education framework, but due to sensitivities around the word ‘sexuality’ the term LSBE is used.
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