Ghana is believed to have a larger youthful population between the ages of 15-35 which constitutes more than 50 percent of the total population as per the 2010 population census.

In spite of more than half of the population being youthful, they are given less or no attention. Knowing very well that adolescents stage is characterized by a lot of confusion since most changes that occur in human growth occur within this period and changes such as physical, biological, social and psychological are evident at this stage.

However, the provision of accurate and comprehensive information regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights is essential for adolescents to achieve sexual health and rights in order to avoid negative health outcomes.

Even though sexuality education forms just one component in a multifaceted approach to address and improve the sexual and reproductive lives of young people, it also provides a structured opportunity for adolescents to gain knowledge and skills, to explore their attitudes and values, and to practice the decision making and other life skills necessary for making healthy informed choices about their sexual lives.

In the backdrop of this, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with support from the Canada government organized Media Advocacy on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) as a tool for Empowering the adolescent girl, on Monday 10th December, 2018, at the Ghana International Press Centre.

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a rights-based and gender-focused approach to sexuality education, whether in school or out of school. It is taught over several years, providing age-appropriate, culturally sensitive and scientifically proved information consistent with the evolving capacities of young people.

CSE encompasses information about human development, anatomy and reproductive health, as well as information about contraception, childbirth and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

In this vein, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education, have noted that Comprehensive Sexuality Education, especially among adolescent girls, must be a necessity in the various schools across the Ghana.

They explained that, advocacy was necessary for empowering young people with the right knowledge, attitudes, values and skills to make informed decisions about their health.

In a presentation on the state of CSE in Ghana, Ishmael Kwasi Selassie, the Youth Program Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), indicted that it was apt for the girl child to be sensitized more on the reproductive organ thoroughly.

He therefore underscored the need for a serious advocacy on sexuality education, which will ensure healthy sexual and reproductive lives for adolescent girls.

He also said, comprehensive girl-child education on sexuality needed to be addressed as urgent as possible because, diversified sexuality education could begin from Kindergarten with children to make informed decisions about their sexuality before they grow up into adulthood.

That not withstand, he said there has been a big challenge surrounding the Comprehensive child education in Ghana, with respect to the perception of most people and even how they regard “the sex talk”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Selassie noted that CSE has absolutely nothing to do with promoting any foreign agenda, the use of condom among young people doesn’t apply to only young people in schools, neither does it promote promiscuity nor pornographic education.

He rather indicated that, “CSE is not a foreign agenda. People think we’re hiding behind CSE to promote things like homosexuality, contraceptive for children and so many other things breaking down social norms and so on.

“Comprehensive sexuality education is not a foreign agenda like I said, if you check the narratives in this country, even practices like bragoro or dipo, these are comprehensive sexuality education practices that have existed traditionally as part of our culture.”

He emphasized that, the youth must be thought what they need to know but with caution, importantly age appropriate. Thus beginning from where they can best understand and most suitable to them and it could be advanced as they grow up.

However, the end of the matter rested on Government to factor the CSE National Guidelines into the school curriculum, with a sense of urgency.

The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, the Ministry of Health as well as other agencies that deals with CSE and the Youth themselves must accept the adoption of CSE.

According to PPAG, many researches have shown that CSE does not encourage adolescents to engage in sexual activities but rather it gives them the right information on their sexuality and exposes them to the several benefits of staying away from sex.

Therefore, it beholds on Government, Parents, CSOs, FBOs, the Media and all stakeholders in the country to give Adolescents honest and effective CSE to ensure that, they have access to the right information and services on their sexuality.

Failing to put in place such a system will not only jeopardise their lives but also that of the country and generations yet unborn.

In attendance were Erika Goldson – UNFPA Deputy Representative, Cynthia Prah – UN information Centre, Doris M. Agblobitse – UNFPA, Esi Awotwi – UNFPA, CSOs representatives, other stakeholders and to name a few.

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