"An Open Conversation about Sexuality Education & Reproductive Health" Project in Belarus
Transition from infancy to adulthood is challenging: peer pressure, desire to feel like an adult or just idle curiosity often push adolescents to search for new experiences, some of which may be unsafe. In their strive to go beyond the limits set by parents, some adolescents start smoking or even experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Meanwhile, others embark on unsafe sexual behavior that might have serious health implications – such as unintended pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections (STI) incl. HIV.
This project was first launched in April 2016 with an objective to help parents and educators better understand adolescents, as well as to stay connected with them throughout their growing-up and prevent risky behaviors.
In 2016 over 100 educators and 200 parents benefited from workshops and seminars facilitated by Valentina Shukan, coordinator and youth counsellor at “Doverie” Centre. With organizational and methodical support from Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs, she managed to carry out training sessions in dozens of schools in Minsk. These sessions equipped parents and teachers with knowledge about adolescent health, development and sexuality and empowered them to speak to adolescents about the “must-know” but “hard-to-explain” topics – puberty, romantic and sexual relationships, love, friendship, values, healthy lifestyle and risk prevention. All parents and teachers who attended training received a booklet “An Open Conversation about Sexuality Education and Reproductive Health” developed and produced with UNESCO support.
In 2017 the project expands its regional outreach. This year, trainings for parents and educators will be held not only in capital city Minsk but also in our cities of Belarus – Svetlogorsk, Gomel, Brest and Grodno.
The booklet for parents “An Open Conversation about Sexuality Education and Reproductive Health” (in Russian) is available at this link.