Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. Over the past two years the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on education in every country of the world with much of it moving online. However, despite the ‘COVID connectivity boost’, 2.9 billion people still have never used the internet. 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 lack internet access at home. The gender divide in internet access is around 17% and in the world's least developed countries it's up to 43%. Girls and women are also less likely to own their own devices to connect to the Internet. Even when continuing CSE online might have been a possibility, the lack of adequate institutional support and teachers’ struggles to adapt academic teaching to online platforms has led to a deprioritisation of CSE, as a nice-to-have instead of an essential part of young people’s education.
In this context, the organisers of this side event hosted a conversation with a range of actors committed to ensuring access to CSE, to explore the significance of CSE; the impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on CSE and related SRHR; and share strategies moving forward.
Lobna Darwish (EIPR) moderated the event.
The panelists were:
- Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health
- Mr. Julius Natangwe Nghifikwa, Deputy-Director, HIV & AIDS Management Unit, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Namibia
- Anne Philpott, Founder and Co-Director of The Pleasure Project
- Pahola Peñaranda Villarroel, National Education Manager, CIES Salud Sexual – Salud Reproductiva
- Maria Bakaroudis, CSE Specialist and focal point on SRHR and young people with disabilities, UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office
We extend our gratitude to the event’s co-sponsors:
- The Permanent Mission of Argentina
- The Permanent Mission of Mexico
- The Permanent Mission of Namibia
- The Permanent Mission of South Africa
- The Pleasure Project
- CIES Salud Sexual - Salud Reproductiva
- The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
- The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
- The Center for Reproductive Rights
- The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
- The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)
Disclaimer: the transcripts linked below are unedited and not a verbatim of the event.