Advancing Sexuality Education in Developing Countries: Evidence and Implications

Case Studies & Research
7 p.
Periodical title
Guttmacher Policy Review, 14, 3, 2011

Educators, researchers, policymakers and parents alike have become increasingly interested in the potential for sexuality education to help meet the needs of young people. The quality and quantity of evaluation research in this field has improved dramatically over the last decade, and there is now clear evidence that sexuality education programs can help young people to delay sexual activity and improve their contraceptive use when they begin to have sex. Moreover, studies to date provide an evidence base for programs that go beyond just reducing the risks of sexual activity- namely, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)-to instead address young people's sexual health and well-being more holistically. Yet, the fact remains that, too often, young people do not get even the most basic sexuality education and that misinformation about sex and its consequences remains common. Indeed, implementing comprehensive sexuality education programs remains a challenge in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, experts say that stronger responses are needed to engage governments, communities, families and young people themselves in sexuality education policies and programs. Specifically, they assert that sexuality education policies and programs must be based in human rights and respond to the interests, needs and experiences of young people themselves.

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