It is exciting that more and more Ghanaians have become interested in engaging in discussions geared towards the development and transformation of our country. The current discussion about Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a clear indication of how Citizens have taken ownership of their country and are shaping Government policy to help make our country a better place.
It is a fact that we need a national consensus and support on every policy to have a successful implementation. However, what worries me is that too many people, including highly respected personalities and intellectuals, are too quick to pass judgement and express a preconceived opinion without sufficient information and misinformation.
In fact, according to the Ghana AIDs Commission, whilst the rate of New Infections of HIV among Ghanaians has stabilized, Ghana has recorded an increase in infections among young people nationwide. There is currently an alarming increase in teenage pregnancy across the country, the incidence of defilement, incest, forced marriage, rape and other Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) are a daily occurrence.
Girls are absenting themselves from school during menstruation due to lack of information and unavailable and inappropriate sanitary facilities. All these and many other issues render the investment we are making on our youth unfruitful. These problems have gone beyond prayers, religion, culture and politics. There is a need to have a coordinated national strategy to respond and solve our problems as a country.
As a Peer Educator, I have encountered several pregnant adolescents who had sex just because they were told it will enlarge their buttocks. Young girls are being raped and the perpetrators are not reported or dealt with because they are either too powerful or the victims do not know that rape is a crime. We are losing several young girls through unsafe abortions.
If these problems are not foreign, why do we think a well-thought strategy to solve them is a foreign agenda. I have seen the realities of our country and I agree with the general consensus that we must protect the future of our country by arming our youth with the right information to survive in these turbulent times.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a curriculum-based method of providing age-appropriate, scientifically accurate and culturally sensitive information to enable young people, in-and-out of school the knowledge, attitude, skills and values to make appropriate and healthy choices. This implies that just as a class one student is not taught detailed chemistry, a 6year old child cannot be taught to wear a condom, in fact, there is no condom size for them.
There is accurate and appropriate information for different age groups. The curriculum being Culturally sensitive also means that CSE in the UK or USA is different from our CSE in Ghana; we must stop drawing too much inference from the situation in other countries. Though CSE is an international term, the national guideline is a well-taught local solution to our local problems. Let’s look beyond the symbols and the preconceptions to discussions on the existing document.
As stakeholders, we must seek the right information about the guidelines. We have to engage in a patriotic discussion devoid of political lenses and accepting the existence of our problems. Only then can we reach a consensus on how to combat the challenges we face.
Caesar Kaba Kogoziga
A CSE Facilitator
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