UNESCO launched a new platform of discussion regarding the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE). The discussion was held on Tuesday, October 18th at the premises of UNESCO Dakar and was attended by a group of strategic participants representing the operational implementation of sexuality education in Senegal with reference to West and Central Africa (WCA).
As part of the plan to update the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE) published in 2009, in addition to an online questionnaire self-administered to a wide audience, UNESCO organized a series of focus groups from different regions of the world including WCA to partake in a consultant workshop held in Paris on the 25th and 26th of October with key stakeholders. In order to draw upon respective experiences in facilitating the technical guidelines in Senegal, with regards to advocacy, development and support of the implementation of sexuality education programs in and out of school, the panel consisted of officials from the Ministry of Education including the Coordinator of “PARC” the project to support the renewal of curricula and a representative of the “Direction du contrôle médical scolaire”. Participants also represented UNFPA along with some of the most active NGOs in the field: RAES, One World, GEEP, ASBEF as well as independent experts and trainer of trainers. A member of the youth association, AIESEC and a UNESCO volunteer took part in the evaluation of the current version of ITGSE reporting on suggestions and recommendations.
The meeting was coordinated under the supervision of Evelyne M. Sami Gueye and reflected upon three key issues discussed separately in rotation amongst three groups:
- How have you used the ITGSE and how have they been helpful in this work?
- What do you consider the strengths and weaknesses of the ITGSE in terms of structure, relevance and completeness? What would you add to or eliminate from the ITGSE?
- Do you agree or disagree with the current format of the ITGSE? What would you have changed within the format of the two volumes and how would you make them easier to use?
The participatory approach allowed each individual group to analyze all the issues whilst ensuring the full input of those present.
Altogether, the focus group provided an opportunity for the national actors of sexuality education to stress the advantages of the ITGSE and suggest improvements to make them more operational for the various actors involved in sexuality education at different levels. A recurring recommendation of the group was to work for increased dissemination of the ITGSE for all operational stakeholders nationwide.