- It is viewed as a can of worms which needs a tight lid to remain closed always. It is a taboo that no one dares to utter lest you get tagged as an outcast.
- In all honesty, what we should do is talk about Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools.
For generations, it's been a well-kept secret, and for even more generations, this secrecy has caused a great deal of harm.
It is viewed as a can of worms which needs a tight lid to remain closed always. It is a taboo that no one dares to utter lest you get tagged as an outcast.
In all honesty, what we should do is talk about Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools.
A study by UNFPA released in January 2023, notes that poverty and limited access to education were associated with high rates of adolescent pregnancy while approximately 4 in 10 women aged 15-19 who have no education have ever been pregnant.
Kirinyaga woman representative Jane Njeri Maina had the right idea.
She presented a bill to allow comprehensive sex education in our schools which was later passed by the members of parliament.
This was a huge step towards the right direction and here's why.
For most teenagers, the adults' actions are like building a high wall to prevent the wrongfully considered, naive youngsters, from experiencing the beautiful ocean.
When they finally break out, they have no compass to navigate their way through the treacherous waters, and that is how they get lost. Were you expecting a different outcome?
No matter how high you build your walls, fragments slip through the cracks in the walls and with no guidance the young run their hands along these cracks only to find themselves exposed to the negative impacts of uninformed choices, from unintended pregnancies to new HIV infections to Sexually Transmitted Infections, to drug and substance abuse, to school dropouts, and many more issues.
Dear Clergy, enough with the metaphors!
The clergy have recently put up a great fight against the bill presented by women's Rep Jane Maina Njeri, saying that they are calling for the need to let the children be taught by their parents and spiritual leaders.
The interesting part is, that the idea only came after the bill was passed.
Where were the parents and clergy leaders all those generations back? Do they mean to say that they had never thought about it before?
This reminds me, that a great number of people shy away from the mere mention of the word ‘sex’.
These are the same people who claim to be well equipped to instil this knowledge in our children.
The truth is, that we need well-trained human sexuality therapists or at least licensed counsellors.
Today, most adolescents aged 15-20 are less likely to regularly attend church services.
When they do attend, their focus often shifts towards socializing and forming connections with peers of the opposite gender.
Adolescents and young people are in desperate need of a module to guide them before, during, and after puberty.
From a personal perspective, why would I opt for the CSE curriculum?
I believe and understand, that before it is delivered to adolescents, and or young people, it will have gone through specialized departments, with the support from experienced stakeholders hence bestowing impactful content to these innocent but curious minds.
Therefore, it is only logical to conduct these lessons in inclusive environments like schools, where individuals from diverse backgrounds can receive this vital information without categorization.
Contrary to the views expressed by Archbishop Arthur Gitonga, it's important to note that Kenya is not officially designated as a Christian nation. Chapter 2, Article 8 of the Kenyan Constitution clearly states that ‘There shall be no state religion’.
What we need is a guideline, a module, and a curriculum, and this is exactly what Comprehensive Sexual Education gives, tools to be able to demystify this misconception about what sexuality education entails.
If we do CSE well, people will understand consent better, and stop its misuse against adolescents.
It will also safeguard these adolescents against false prophets who promise to guide them but end up abusing and exploiting them. Aren't there things you wish you knew when you were younger?
Change is scary, but it is a fundamental aspect of nature.
This is the one change that everyone will greatly benefit from.
People of all ages and all genders. Parents won't have to worry about the world being a dangerous place because the children will have learnt how to cope with different life situations.
To finalize, the clergy should be realistic and accept the fact that, saving the future of their lambs calls for Social Behavior Change Communication, whose strongest Conner-Stone is none other than Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
By: Mercy Mugecha, RHNK Youth Advocate.