Why parents and teachers in Kenya should support comprehensive sexuality education

Some parents and teachers consider it embarrassing to discuss sex with teenagers, which has largely contributed to the rising cases of teenage pregnancy and promiscuity in Kenya.

We need to realize that talking openly about sex is not the same as promoting promiscuity. It is about making teenagers aware of what is happening with their bodies, what are the respectful ways of treating their bodies and the bodies of others and how to act responsibly during sexual encounters.

According to the Centre for The Study of Adolescents (CSA), no evidence suggests comprehensive sexuality education increases sexual activity amongst young people. Kenya’s population is mainly young. Persons aged 19 years and below account for more than half of the country’s population. According to the Kenya Demographic and health survey (2014), 15 percent of women aged 15 to 19 years have already had at least one birth. The percentage of women who have begun childbearing increases rapidly with age, from about 3 percent among women aged 15 to 40 percent among women age 19 years.

Comprehensive sexuality education is essential to help young people prepare for healthy and fulfilling lives. High-quality information and comprehensive sexuality education can equip young people with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to make informed choices now and in the future, to enhance their independence and self-esteem and to help them to experience their sexuality and relationships in a positive and pleasurable way.

The problem of teenage pregnancy in Kenya can only be resolved when all stakeholders especially teachers and parents agree to teach young people the do’s and don’ts of sex.

Michael Okun Oliech is a communication officer at dance4life Kenya, a youth serving Non-Governmental Organization that does sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy and behavior change communication. He has a BA in Development Studies, undergone training on media advocacy, and budget advocacy by Network for Adolescents and Youths of Africa- Kenya and Choice for Youth and Sexuality of the Netherlands. He is also a well-known blogger on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Issues, a human rights activist, LGBT rights defender and youth advocate at Network for Adolescents and Youths of Africa. His twitter handle is @mikeokunson.

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