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Promoting Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Jordan from a socio-ecological model

 

UNFPA in Jordan is working toward improving young peoples’ ability to exercise Sexual and Reproductive Health and  Rights (SRHR) in development and humanitarian contexts in Jordan. One key element to achieve this goal is investing in Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for young people living in Jordan. UNFPA works in collaboration with the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS)  towards enhancing  community awareness about Adolescent and Youth SRHR (AYSRHR) issues and enabling them to adopt healthy lifestyles, via promoting CSE from a socio-ecological model, realizing that change should be a mix of bottom and top down approaches. Therefore UNFPA’s program focuses on five main key levels:

 

First, The Individual Level -  by designing programs to raise adolescents and youth knowledge around CSE through training and awareness sessions to empower them to lead peer-to-peer learning, and create youth-led initiatives.  Till the end of from 2016 to 2020, approximately  20,000 university students were reached by elective reproductive health courses, and health promotion courses in 6 universities (Jordan University, Hashemite University, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Al-Zaytouneh University, Princess Sarvath Community College, and Irbid Ahllyeh University). Moreover, the project Aims to invest in youth leadership. Therefore, the Shababna Youth Network was initiated in universities where around 120 youth students enrolled in a comprehensive capacity building process, and linked with volunteering opportunities including peer education with a focus on SRH, gender-based violence (GBV) and COVID-19. In 2020, youth peer education sessions reached more than 1,500 young people, in addition to virtual initiatives that reached more than 6,600 social media users. Shababna Youth Volunteers  completed 2,474 volunteering hours during 2020.
In 2021, the project aims to reach 1,000 school students between the age of 13-17 with the Ministry of Education by piloting the Development of Adolescents Development and Characteristics module in public schools.

20,000 university students reached by elective reproductive health courses, and health promotion courses in 6 universities

 

Second, The Interpersonal Level- building the capacity of parents to learn more about adolescents' transitional period and parent-child communication related to SRHR and GBV. By 2020, 8 Health Centers affiliated with the Ministry of Health, piloted the training module for parents provided by health care providers reaching 565 parents. Moreover, individual counseling was provided . The project also works on capacitating the fresh graduate nurses by accredited courses offered by the Jordanian Nursing Council that reached 145 nurses on AYSRHR.

The project works with university professors in 6 universities in Jordan on developing and delivering elective modules on Reproductive health, In addition UNFPA is going to work with teachers in 30 secondary schools in Jordan to deliver CSE modules as teachers are considered role models and credible source of information for students and their families’. Investing in peer to peer approach builds on the Interpersonal aspect by investing in youth networks like Y-PEER Network and Shababna Youth Network.

 

“When I heard my daughter saying she is attending a peer education session on SRHR, I was hesitant and thought the session would open my daughter's eyes, and won't be inline with our values and principals. But when I started to listen to the session with her...it really hit me that no one ever spoke to me about reproductive health. The information was not available, and I  learned from my personal experience . At the end of the session I thanked the facilitator for the efforts in raising awareness in topics we really don't know much about, or we consider it as a taboo” Majd Kreishan a mother of one of the participants from Maan.

 

Third, The Organizational Level - This level intersects with the interpersonal component, by working on creating systematic CSE interventions within existing structures and programs. This is being achieved through creating reproductive health elective courses in universities, integrating AYSRHR in the Ministry of Health Centers via their existing healthy community clinics program supported by RHAS, piloting the Adolescents Development and Characteristics module in schools with Ministry of Education, launching accredited course for nurses in jordan via the Jordanian Nursing council, and invest in piloting  of Youth Friendly health services that are linked to awareness programing.

 

Fourth, The Community Level - UNFPA Jordan focuses under this element on mobilizing different media outlets that raise awareness on  youth SRHR and GBV. As part of COVID-19 response, UNFPA and RHAS sought to conduct a campaign targeting parents with the aim of promoting Parent–Child Sexual Health Dialogue with an Intergenerational messaging for parents living in Jordan. The campaign targeted parents with the slogan  “شوفوا بعيونهم'' which means “see it with their eyes'' showcasing how children view their parents during their adolescent years if they are not listening or addressing risks during this phase of life. The campaign was launched by the end of the year and reached 2,175,422 users on social media.

 

Parent–Child Sexual Health Dialogue Campaign Reaching More than 2 Million Social Media Users

 

Fifth, The Public Policy Level - Investing in public policy via conferences, forums, and bilateral meetings is key. UNFPA and RHAS work with different stakeholders from government, civil society, think tanks and academics, professional workers including teachers, health workers and educators, in addition to youth groups and networks to generate policy discussion related to youth and adolescents healthy lifestyles. UNFPA supported the regional conference on adolescents health - Amman, 2019, and also launched a policy brief on CSE in Jordan to showcase the importance of national efforts investment in AYSRHR.

 

UNFPA invested in mainstreaming CSE in existing programs based on the socio-ecological model, rather than introducing a stand alone CSE program. This came as a cost efficient, and effective approach, that positioned national leadership in the frontline for advocacy efforts. In the process, youth leadership and participation always pays off with success. Currently, UNFPA is working with project managers, advocates, researchers, trainers and facilitators with all shades of organizations and institutes that were partners or beneficiaries of UNFPA programming 10 years ago. This Y-PEER short film reflects on members who joined 10 years ago. UNFPA continues investing in youth leadership as peer educators, innovators, and initiators to lead the CSE agenda.

 

Click here to download the project brief