From Pledges to Programs: Making Comprehensive Sexuality a Reality

CEPIA, our collaborating partner in Brazil, launched a smart phone application (app) created by young people, for young people, in Rio de Janeiro called Partiu Papo Reto. The app provides information about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Through the app, young people are also able to rate the quality of care they receive at clinics for other users to see. Rio’s local department of health is promoting Partiu Papo Reto on its website as part of its popular health campaign, dramatically increasing the reach and impact of the app. CEPIA hopes to eventually expand the app to other areas of Brazil.

In 2008 at the International AIDS Conference, 30 health and education ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean signed a historic agreement. In adopting the Ministerial Declaration Prevenir con Educación—or Preventing Through Education—ministers pledged to dramatically increase young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services and education by 2015.

Since that time, IPPF/WHR has been mobilizing a regional alliance to ensure that governments follow through on the commitments laid out in the Ministerial Declaration. We also publish a yearly evaluation of how far governments have come towards implementing the Declaration, a tool our partners have found to be critical in holding their governments accountable.

In El Salvador, for example, the country had no sexuality education program when the Declaration was signed. Our local partner ADS led the creation of a nationwide coalition for sexuality education and helped oversee the development and implementation of a new national program. In 2014, the Ministry of Education published curricular guidelines on comprehensive sexuality education, which scored highly in our evaluation, that are currently being used to implement programs beginning with primary schools. ADS and other civil society partners will continue to monitor these efforts to ensure that all young people have access to the accurate information they need to navigate adolescence in good health.

“We need comprehensive sexuality education. We all do. We need it to navigate relationships, to understand ourselves, to make healthy choices and to have pleasurable sex lives. Accepting your body, accepting yourself the way you are and learning what’s right for you is one of the best things that can happen to you as a young person, and is something that can stay with you throughout your life.” –Genesis Luigi, IPPF/WHR Youth Network Coordinator, in Ms. Magazine