At the end of 2015, an estimated 3,037,363 people were living with HIV in Nigeria, including 238,504 children aged 0-14 years and 1,639,593 women aged 15 years and above. Statistics reveal that 38% females and 13% males of 15-19 years olds are already in their first union before reaching the exact age of 15 years; and that young people (35% females and 27% males) aged 15-24 years justify wife beating for at least one specific reason.
The O3 programme is aligned with two identified strategic priorities with the framework of UNESCO Strategy on Education for Health and Well-being (2016):
- Ensuring that all children and young people benefit from good quality, comprehensive sexuality education that includes HIV education; and,
- Have access to safe, inclusive, and health-promoting learning environments.
This programme has four outputs expected to achieve, and they are:
- Secured and sustained political commitment for adolescents’ and young people’s access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services across sub-Saharan Africa;
- Delivery of accurate, rights-based and good quality CSE that provides knowledge, values and skills essential for safer behaviours, reduced adolescent pregnancy, and gender equality;
- Safer, healthier and inclusive schools and community environments for all young people; and,
- The strengthened evidence base on CSE and safer school environments.
The O3 Programme is designed to deliver good quality CSE that empowers adolescents and young people and builds agency while developing the skills, knowledge, attitudes and competencies required for preventing HIV, reducing early and unintended pregnancies, and eliminating gender-based violence. This Programme seeks to build on young people’s individual capacity of making safer choices while strengthening the linkages between information (CSE) and sexual and reproductive health services provision. O3 is funded by the Government of Sweden and has a plethora of partners including Ministries of Education, Ministries of Health, religious and community leaders, teachers, teacher associations, parents, Civil Society Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, and United Nations Agencies.
The Programme is supporting and strengthening implementation of Nigeria’s Family Life HIV Education (FLHE) Programme, education sector’s flagship programme for responding to HIV. An assessment of FLHE using Sexuality Education Review and Assessment Tool (SERAT) reveals the need for curricula review to ensure that age-appropriate and culturally sensitive CSE contents are adequately integrated. The programme is supporting the Federal Ministry of Education to review Annual School Census Tools to infuse CSE/HIV global core indicators for proper monitoring of the education sector’s response to HIV/AIDS. The Programme will enhance the capacities of pre- and in-service teachers, teacher educators and teacher training institutions on pedagogical delivery of FLHE and Educational Management Information System (EMIS) officers. It is also supporting the development of prototype school rules and guidelines to integrate information about all forms of school-related gender-based violence in order to ensure zero-tolerance of violence in and around schools. In addition, the Programme is supporting government through National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in developing parent-child communication toolkit to equip parents/guardians with knowledge on adolescent sexual reproductive health and communication skills to enable them to dialogue with adolescents and improve adolescents and young people’s access to confidential and non-judgmental CSE information and services using ICTs.
Achievements (To Time)
The O3 Programme was co-launched by Federal Ministries of Education and Health in June 2018. The development of a national work plan by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including representatives of religious bodies followed immediately after. The Programme is incorporated as part of the country’s national prevention response to HIV. The SERAT assessment of FLHE, reviewed and validated by stakeholders, has set the baseline for interventions and subsequent adolescent education and health intervention programmes. This programme has reached more than 400 policymakers through robust advocacy on the need to integrate CSE/HIV global indicators into EMIS for evidence-based interventions. Plans are underway to enhance the capacity of EMIS officers across the nation and to review data collection tools. Furthermore, this Programme has presently reached 6,331 (5,000 through bulk SMS) in- and out-of-school adolescents and young people with CSE/HIV and life skills information using FLHE curriculum. About 74 (47 females and 27 males) community and youth leaders have been reached for behaviour change and improvement on adolescent and young people’s access to CSE/HIV information. They are happy that the Programme is helping them discuss issues they could not discuss with their children. More than 2 million people were reached through a radio programme on Kiss FM 99.9.
The O3 Programme in Nigeria has expanded partnerships to private sector organizations, notably Lafarge Africa PLC and using the platform of the Organization’s Annual National Literacy Competition (ANLC) to market the Programme. A session of the ANLC has been dedicated to UNESCO as a result of this partnership.
UNESCO Abuja Office, through the O3 Programme, is one of the Responsible UN Organizations (RUNO) that will implement the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative aimed at supporting a Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free of gender-based violence and harmful practices.