» Posts tagged: ‘sexuality

cseIn October 2014 the International Institute of Social Studies hosted an expert meeting on ‘comprehensive sexuality education’. The event was organised by Share-Net International, Share-Net Netherlands, Institute of Social Studies (ISS/EUR), IS Academie (UvA), Rutgers WPF and dance4life. The meeting was attended by over 70 participants. The aim of the expert meeting was to provide an overview on evidence and research gaps, share experiences with designing and implementing CSE, and to highlight CSE from young people’s perspective.This is the first in a series of posts by guest contributor Sara Vida Coumans looking back at this event.

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) aims to assist all human beings, thus including young people, in understanding and enjoying a holistic view on sexual and reproductive health and rights to be able to make informed decisions regarding their own life as well as regarding their environment and act upon them in all stages of their lives in dignity, equality, security and with respect.

CSE is most often targeted at young people. This is evident from CSE related targets set by various governments which typically include:

–       Eliminating all new HIV infections amongst adolescents and young people aged 10-24;

–       Increase to 95% the number of adolescents and young people aged 10-24, who demonstrate comprehensive HIV prevention knowledge levels;

–       Reduce early and unintended pregnancies among young people by 75%;

–       Eliminate gender-based violence;

–       Eliminate child marriage;

–       Increase the number of all schools and teacher trainings institutions that provides CSE to 75%.

UNESCO is one of the agencies that has embraced the CSE discourse. A short youtube clip entitled  ‘Young People Today’ sheds some interesting light on how UNESCO sees youth in relation to CSE. Despite the title of the clip, the narrative is an illustrative example of how young people are framed with their citizenship and rights in the future and not in the present, a discourse in which ‘they are the future of tomorrow’. Furthermore, within this discourse one can see how young people’s sexuality is approached in the present from a risk based approach, without talking about pleasure and sexual rights of adolescents and young people. One of the aims of the expert meeting was to unpack such an approach to youth and sexuality and to discuss alternative ways of understanding sexuality in relation to young people’s lives.

guest contribution by Sara Vida Coumans (Member, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights)


Talking about Sex (on camera)

Category: youth

14 Sep 2013

downloadIn a recent article in the journal Reproductive Health Matters, Erica Nelson and Dylan Howitt, reflect on the making and use of two short documentaries about adolescent sexual health in Ecuador’s southern sierras.

The authors note that Ecuador was selected as study site for its high rates of adolescent pregnancy (100 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19, vs., for example, 89 in Brazil and 66 in Mexico). In addition, where adolescent pregnancies have fallen in many other countries, it has increased in Ecuador from 14.43% of all births in 1989 to 20.34% in 2009.

Voces de Cuenca (2011) presents the voices of adolescents who were involved in a participatory ethnographic research workshop about adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH). It is a short documentary (8:40 mins) produced with the aim of ‘giving young people the chance to speak directly to those responsible for designing SRH intervention strategies’.

Tres Generaciones (2012) is based on longer term (5 months) ethnographic research. This documentary is slightly longer (19:38 mins) and was produced to function as a ‘jumping-off point for discussions on cultural and generational taboos surrounding talk and advice-giving on sex and sexuality within families’, in Ecuador but also beyond! Like any ethnographic product, the point is not to be representative and the three persons around which the documentary is produced were not selected with that in mind. Nonetheless, the three cases provide beautiful insight into how attutides, knowledge and practices concerning sexual health have changed over time, and also how ‘being young’, in terms of normative constructs as well as lived experience, has changed fundamentally over the past decades.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.