Thursday, May 25, 2006

Northern Nigeria and sex education

Planned Parenthood has an interesting article on Dorothy Aken'Ova's work to provide comprehensive sex education to women in Northern Nigeria. The prevailing wisdom among Nigerian political and religious leaders is that such an effort is either a sacrilege or a waste of time:
The adult sex education courses at the community level — especially in rural areas — have been one of INCRESE's [International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights] success stories. "There's an assumption that in the traditional north of Nigeria, people won't tolerate discussions about sex," Aken'Ova told the BBC in 2005. "But we found the community very open and willing to talk about many issues of sexuality, including sexual intercourse." Indeed, Aken'Ova finds that the rural communities deeply appreciate the knowledge she brings to discussions about sex and sexuality. "[The program] is making a difference in their daily living," she says.
Now, before you get too shocked, consider that the best way to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, to improve the lives of women, and to keep a lid on population growth is to provide women with comprehensive sex education. Aken'Ova shows that this can be done, even in the "no man's land" of the traditional Muslim North.

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