Sex is a natural phenomenon. The majority of living organisms partake in it to reproduce or for the mere pleasure of it, and the human race is no exception. Sex has no origin, as it has been present since the beginning of time. However, in recent decades there have been outbreaks of countless Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) that have shaken the world of sex like never before. People now take extra precautions or abstain from sex, just to prevent the transmission of STDs. Southern African countries, like Namibia, have been highly affected, as hundreds of lives are lost and affected yearly at the hand of STDs. The youth are the most negatively affected by STDs, yet also by unplanned teenage pregnancies. Thus, ruling governments have initiated plans to tackle these outbreaks by educating their people and specifically focusing on the youth. STDs are generally defined as diseases that are transferred from an infected person to the next during unprotected sexual intercourse or contact. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the effectiveness of sex education in Namibian communities.
Sex Education and the Government
The Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) and its people have noticed the need of sex education, not only because of the high rates of deaths at the hand of STDs, but mainly because young people fall victim to STDs and Teenage pregnancies. Young people often quite school to find jobs in the primary sector to sustain themselves and their unplanned families or to take care of family members that may be infected with STDs. These youth may be setback or limited in their career options. Therefore, the GRN has then incorporated sex education into Namibian Schools’ Syllabi, including HIV and AIDS and its effects as a theme in almost every subject and allowing learners to have subjects like life skills to teach learners preventive methods of STDs and teenage pregnancies like encouraging abstinence. These programs start from as early as Grade 5. It seems to be that The GRN believes in the saying it takes a community to educate a child, thus the government has made initiatives to educate the community at large through awareness campaigns and informative forums and pamphlets in communal areas. Free condoms like Smile have also been made available in public places to prevent transmissions of STDs.
Some of these programs have failed due to ignorance, while some believe that the government is using European methods to solve African problem. This statement clearly suggests that whatever methods are used will not be effective as it is a different group of people with totally different mind sets that are going to be addressed. It is also possible that the failure of these strategies could be due to an overload of work on people that are supposed to sexually educate people for instance teachers. Many of the teachers assigned for Life Skills teaching posts are either under qualified or being overloaded with so much paperwork that they might not fully focus on teaching learners and finding innovative ways to attract learners to the concept of abstinence to prevent the further spread of STDs and reduce teenage pregnancies. The idea of handing out pamphlets to inform people about STDs and their effects may also be irrelevant, because a relatively high percentage of the Namibian population is illiterate. So, programs to educate illiterate adults and free primary education have been initiated to enable all people to inform themselves and their families about the STDs and their multiplier effects. In addition, many institutions and companies work hand-in-hand with the government to cause awareness among the communities of the consequences of having unprotected sexual intercourse.
Sex Education in Urban Areas
With recent developments, it is very obvious that many young people are more open about their sexual encounters and experiences to their families in the modern African urban areas such as Windhoek. This has also relatively reduced the percentage of teenage pregnancies compared to those in rural areas. Urban education systems encourage the youngsters to be more open about their sexual experiences and concerns to their parent, guardians or any adult they confide in. Openness to parents and other trustworthy adults opens platforms for discussion, allowing both adult and adolescent to express their concerns and feelings, which eventually results in many young people choosing to not engage in activities that could make them contract STDs or have unplanned children.
In schools, parent meetings are often held at school also keep parents informed about the content and advise that the teachers are giving to the learners and they also advise and teach the parents on how to respond to such. The young people’s positive surroundings and influences could also be a factor in the decreasing rates of sexual related consequences, because the young people being constantly surrounded by successful people inspire them to be successful in life instead of trying to establish unplanned families at early ages or unnecessarily contracting STDs through ignorant, careless behaviour. They start to realise that there is more to life than sex.
Also, young adults in the city are more equipped when it comes to qualified teachers to educate them and advise them sexually and there is more medication available to treat types of STDs, preventing unnecessary deaths.
Sex education in rural area
When compared to urban areas, this is where sex education is neglected the most. Limited teachers are available to educate the youngsters about the dangers and consequences surrounding sex education. Although most awareness campaigns happening urban areas, very few happen in rural areas. Some the factors that may cause these could be language barriers, but this should also encourage the GRN to educate and employ more people from all Namibian tribes and dialects to educate the people in a language they can relate to and understand . Many elders in rural areas consider it a taboo to talk about sex with young people. A number of young people that seek advice of a helping hand when it comes to such situations have no adult to confide in and end up making mistakes that could leave them with an STD or with an unplanned baby.
Similarly, it is also generally believed that the lack of youth recreational activities could also be a contributor to the high rates of teenage pregnancies, because people have limited forms of entertainment that they would rather have sex just to be entertained. This has encouraged the GRN with the aid of local municipalities and companies to open recreational centres like youth centres, playgrounds, cinemas and sport centres to keep the youth occupied.
In contrast, despite the efforts of the government, certain rural communities do not easily accept the methods of the government due to certain ethical issues that prohibit them from having conversations about sex with their children. They believe that enlightening their children about sex would make them want to engage in it since young people are very curious about almost everything. This leaves many young people in darkness regarding the consequences surrounding sex and this leads to many pregnancies among rural teenagers and STD transmissions.
In conclusion, with the aid of locals, companies and organisations, initiative to educate young people about the dangers surrounding sex like STDs and teenage pregnancies have been a working progress although they are not working at the pace that they are expected to work. Due to ethical issues in some areas, some of these methods are rejected, preventing the forward movement of the decrease in STDs and teenage pregnancies among youth. And, at times young people just choose to be ignorant and partake in sex for pleasure without thoroughly contemplating the negatives thereof. Either way, sex education is available although limited in certain areas, it is really up to the people being educated to accept it or not.