UNESCO Ethiopia, in partnership with the David Lucile Packard Foundation, has been working on a project entitled “Enhancing Comprehensive Life Skills Education (CLSE) with particular focus in Oromia Region”, with an aim to deal with the Sexual and Reproductive Health/SRH/ challenges of the youth in the region in general and in the 12 College of Teacher Education institutions (CTEs) of the Oromia region in particular.

UNESCO Ethiopia education team successfully organized the first online CLSE training in Ethiopia from October 22 to 25, 2018. Fifty two college instructors from seven CTEs namely Assela, Fiche, Jimma, Sebetta, Nekemte, Dembi dollo and Shambu were trained in the delivery of Comprehensive Life Skills Education at the Jimma College of Teacher Education in Jimma Town, Ethiopia. The instructors are then expected to cascade the training to their fellow instructors at their respective CTEs and eventually reach the teacher trainees at the colleges per their action plans.

UNESCO Regional Office for South Africa (ROSA) designed the content and arranged scholarships for the participants to take the online training course on CLSE. The training was supported by, Mr. Remmy Mukonka from UNESCO Zambia office whose support is greatly appreciated.

Over the last decade, countries in ESA region have taken major strides toward developing and incorporating comprehensive life skills education (CLSE) in their school curricula. These steps are designed to counter the threat of HIV and other STIs, reduce unintended pregnancy, provide the necessary skills to develop effective decision-making and communication skills, explore values and attitudes and learn risk reduction skills and health seeking behaviors. In particular, in countries with high HIV rates, there is a strong argument for investing in and implementing school-based CLSE programmes. This investment in the sexual health and development of adolescents is central to achieving the sustainable development goals, promoting public health and ensuring national and regional economic development.

Available evidence through research in CLSE shows that effective comprehensive life skills education programmes consistently increase learners’ knowledge about HIV and other health issues, delay age of sexual debut, and increase use of contraception including condoms by young people. Effective HIV and sexuality education requires the capacity and guidance of highly skilled and motivated educators. Teachers remain central to the process given their critical role in effective delivery of sexuality education with the right knowledge, skills and comfort levels.  Adequate preparation of teachers and lecturers ensures delivery of accurate and age-appropriate CLSE information to learners for responsible decision making regarding their SRH needs.

UNESCO therefore collaborated with the regional bureau of Education in Ethiopia to support the implementation of an on-line CLSE training for 52 college instructors who are now working to cascade the training to their fellow instructors in the colleges. The key focus areas of the training were to; provide accurate information and knowledge on Comprehensive Life Skills Education, its importance and benefits, effectively deliver CLSE in participatory, culturally sensitive and age-appropriate ways, acknowledge and manage influence of personal values, beliefs, biases in the teaching of life skills, gender and human-rights-based sexuality education when providing CLSE to learners and students.

 

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