Growing up in the 21st century can be confusing, especially regarding sexuality and sexual health. My Body, My Future, is a community-based sexual health education programme aimed at empowering young people with complete knowledge about their sexual health, creating safe environments that encourage honest and open conversations, providing opportunities for peer-to-peer support, and protecting young people from adverse outcomes.
Overall goal: The goal of the programme is to contribute to improving the sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and drive progress towards reaching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4, 5 and 16 through progress in specific SDGs targets for young people in Nigeria.
Nigeria is the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, with a very young population; 22% of the country’s population is between the ages of 10-19.
Current sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) evidence highlight the urgent need to focus on adolescents. Nigeria accounts for about 14% (At 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) of the global burden of maternal mortality and young girls bear a higher burden of maternal mortality and morbidity. These mortalities are perpetuated by unavailability of youth-friendly reproductive health services, void of judgement and focused on reproductive health awareness and counselling, contraceptives use and family planning and STI prevention.
Also, the average age at sexual debut is roughly 15 years of age among adolescent mothers, and the national adolescent fertility rate in Nigeria is 122 births per 1,000 women aged15–19 years.(1)
Furthermore, 2% of girls aged 15– 19 and 1% of boys aged 15– 19 are HIV infected.(2) In the NDHS survey 2009, 23% of girls aged 15 – 19 were either mothers or pregnant with their first child.(3)
Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a rights-based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values they need to determine and enjoy their sexuality – physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships. The benefits of CSE in improving the health and wellbeing of young people is well documented, and well combined with other interventions, it has been shown to reduce harmful sexual health outcomes such as early age of sexual debut, early/unwanted pregnancies, HIV/AIDs infection and other STIs, etc.(4) The 2030 Agenda can only be achieved with the complete strengthening of sexual and reproductive health and rights, girls and women must be an active part of development, with full autonomy over their own bodies.
By increasing reproductive health literacy and providing linkages to youth-friendly reproductive health services, this project will, in the long term, significantly improve the lives and wellbeing of young people in Nigeria.
1. The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository – Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Nigeria. Available at: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/21626/950290BRI00PUB0geria0VC0ADD0SERIES0.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
2. NACA (National Agency for the Control of AIDS). 2012. Federal Republic of Nigeria. Global AIDS Response. Country Progress Report. Abuja: NACA.
3. National Population Commission and ICF Macro. 2009. Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Abuja: National Population Commission and ICF Macro.
4. International Planned Parenthood Federation. 2009. From Evidence to Action: Advocating for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. London
In Nigeria, the practice of associating sexual and reproductive health issues with shame propagates secrecy, causing young people to hide information, especially when discussing it with older people. Working mainly with youth volunteers and health workers, the My Body, My Future Programme fosters relaxed environments to deliver CSE while encouraging honest and open conversations. The programme aims to promote contraceptive use and discourage risky behaviors by improving the health literacy of young people and communities.
My Body, My Future programme is also discouraging the early age of first sexual intercourse and therefore leads to a decline in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV, unwanted pregnancies, and unsafe abortions among participants.
Overall, young people have poor SRHR knowledge and little to no access to SRHR education and services and are vulnerable to STIs, early sexual debut, unintended adolescent pregnancies, and other SRHR risks. Based on these needs, The My Body, My Future was designed to deliver CSE to young people in Nigeria and globally.
The planning and implementation of this project was carried out by the collective effort of Jika Adolescent Hub and key stakeholders, including Volunteers, the Chief, and young girls of Jahi Community, Abuja.
The planning and implementation of this project was carried out by the collective effort of Jika Adolescent Hub and key stakeholders which include; Volunteers, Principal and Young students of Army Day Secondary School, Asokoro.
The planning and implementation of this project were carried out by the collective effort of Jika Adolescent Hub and key stakeholders, including volunteers, the Mpape District Head, and Young people of the Mpape community.
The collective effort of Jika Adolescent Hub and key stakeholders, including Partners, Volunteers, the Community Leader and Young people of Kuchingoro IDP Camp, Nigeria, carried out the planning and implementation of this project.
The planning and implementation of this project were carried out by the collective effort of Jika Adolescent Hub and key stakeholders, including Volunteers, the Principal, and Young students of Army Day Secondary School, Asokoro.