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New paper busts the myths about comprehensive sexuality education

Paper recommends scripted lessons where necessary to help teachers cover the subject correctly

Comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good quality education that improves reproductive health and contributes to gender equality, argues Facing the Facts, a new policy paper by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at UNESCO that seeks to dispel social and political resistance to sexuality education in many countries.

Globally, each year, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18, some 16 million 15-19 year olds and one million girls under 15 give birth. Young people moreover account for a third of new HIV infections among adults and across 37 low and middle-income countries, yet only approximately one third of people aged 15-24 years have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission.

“It’s time to face the facts,” argues Director of the GEM Report, Manos Antoninis, “More than one in ten births are among girls between 15 and 19 years old. This not only spells the end of their education, but is often fatal, with pregnancy and childbirth the leading cause of death among this age group.”

The new policy paper presents the evidence of the benefits of age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education. Even children at the age of five need to understand basic facts about their body, think about family and social relationships and recognize inappropriate behaviour and identify abuse. Otherwise, many will grow up with inaccurate beliefs, like roughly half the girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who believe menstruation to be a disease and 82% of girls in Malawi, who know nothing about menstruation before experiencing it themselves.

Children and young people should receive comprehensive sexuality education before they become sexually active. This helps them protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and promotes values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships.Nevertheless, vocal resistance to comprehensive sexuality education by some groups in a number of countries has been rising. In Uganda, a public backlash led the Ministry of Education to withdraw the national sexuality education curriculum, which was subsequently revised.

Antoninis continued: “Comprehensive sexuality education is part and parcel of a good quality education, the achievement of good health outcomes and progress towards gender equality. Yet in many parts of the world, opposition to comprehensive sexuality education has not only halted progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights, but reversed it.”

Introducing comprehensive sexuality education in the curriculum is insufficient without adequate teacher training to bolster instructors’ motivation and confidence in addressing the full range of topics concerned. In Kenya, a study of 78 public and private secondary schools showed that while 75% of teachers reported teaching all topics of a comprehensive sexuality education programme, only 2% of students reported learning them all. Only 20% learned about types of contraception and even fewer learned how to use and where to get them.

In some cases, incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information was taught. Almost 60% of teachers incorrectly taught that condoms alone were not effective in pregnancy prevention. Moreover, 71% of teachers emphasized abstinence as the best or only method for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and most depicted sex as dangerous or immoral for young people.  Namibia has tackled this by creating scripted lesson plans for teachers, while Tanzania has created online resources that teachers can turn to when in doubt.

Another problem for teachers may be a lack of lesson plans or teaching materials that are gender and human rights sensitive and reflect contemporary realities. In Ghana, Guatemala and Peru, around three-quarters of teachers reported a lack of lesson plans, learning activities and other teaching materials. Indeed, curriculum content is found to be the weak point of comprehensive sexuality education in many African countries.

Data collection on comprehensive sexuality education is also a challenge. There is now one simple question on the number of schools providing life-skills based HIV and sexuality education being used in 165 countries since 2017. Ten eastern and southern African countries, for example, have integrated such questions into their annual school census questionnaire. However, progress is not consistent across the board: recent analysis from the United Republic of Tanzania suggests that school heads are not being oriented on how to collect the data and report back.

The paper has six key recommendations for countries
Invest in teacher education and support,
Make curricula relevant and evidence based,
Develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and ensure implementation,
Work with other sectors to bring about real change, notably with the health sector to link schools with health services and leverage funds,
Engage with community and parent organizations to overcome resistance that is not based on facts.

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WeekendLife

Lifestyle enthusiasts feel Big Brother vibes

27th January 2023

This past weekend MultiChoice Botswana hosted media and lifestyle enthusiasts in Oodi for an evening of fun, drama and everything in between. The treat dubbed Big Brother Titans Botswana media challenge basically recreated the Big Brother experience right here in Botswana.

Big Brother Titans is the joint South African and Nigerian edition of the Big Brother franchise. The series follows contestants as they live in an isolated house and compete for a cash prize at the end of the show by avoiding being evicted from the house by the viewers.

These viewers vote their favorite housemates to stay on the show. The show features housemates from South Africa and Nigeria. The first season of the show premiered on January 15 2023 on DStv.

DStv Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembile Legwaila told WeekendLife that they saw it critical to host media friends to experience how it feels by being in the Big Brother house.

“For the very first time in history of Big Brother, we’ve seen the merging of two superpowers, Mzansi and Naija, with the Big Brother Titans season and what a better way to celebrate the monumental season than hosting our media friends.”

THE LOVE

Participants were treated to top notch reception complimented by the Oodi sunset which just blew them away. A special shuttle was organized from Gaborone to Oodi, at a farm house that is just incredible in terms of design, aesthetics and ambience.

Of course they were welcomed by soft cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for those who are not drinkers, and the next booth was an opportunity for housemates to introduce themselves to the man of the house, Biggie. RB2’s new baby Mdu the Party played the role of Biggie, and he nailed the character.

Some of the contestants were asked what they will do with the grand prize of P5000. With my ongoing voluntary movement, #Pad4HER, I needed the cash prize to push the campaign.  #Pad4HER is a campaign that I started last year with an aim of helping female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to sanitary towels. Anyway, luck was not on my side but my colleague from The Botswana Gazette, Gosego Motsumi emerged as the winner.

We got done with the questions and made way into the house. The party began with more drinks and the first challenge kicked off. For this particular challenge, we were divided into pairs. I was matched with Motsumi and we won the first challenge.

WINNING STRATEGY

Other housemates asked how we managed but it was simple: we had a strategy before embarking on the challenge. We sat down and debated on what we need to do in order to emerge victorious.

DStv engaged a phenomenal local chef, Rachel Tlagae who served some enchanting, light meal. Its Big Brother Titans so we ought to mind what we eat and also take note of quantities. Chefs also brought some wine to go with the meal and everyone was contented.

THE WINNING CHALLENGE

Housemates were taken through the last challenge: mental ability. This particular challenge needed them to know who they are as well as knowing their fellow housemates. It was one of the simplest challenges yet difficult. This is where I lost lot of points even though I was at the top (after winning the first challenge).

These housemates were all unique in their own way. From the media side was myself, Sharon Mathala, Leungo Mokgwathi, Gosego Motsumi and Nancy Ramokhua. This is a team which did exceptionally well altogether. Motsumi emerged as the winner, followed by Mathala and me on fourth position.

The third position was won by Loungo Pitse from influencer’s side, and he tagged alongside DJ Gouveia, Dato Seiko, Kedi Molosiwa and Gape Makwati.

Legwaila said “We wanted to have a healthy mix of traditional media (print and radio) as well as social media personalities, artists and content creators in the house. We chose individuals who were characteristically different from each other because variety and diversity is important to us. We of course chose those with outgoing personalities as well as those who are a little more introverted as we wanted the interaction to be authentic and organic. We wanted a solid group of individuals who represented the many different people that make up this beautiful country.”

DSTV IS COOKING SOMETHING

When quizzed if there are plans to have a similar Big Brother Titans Botswana, Legwaila said “MultiChoice Africa is focused on entertaining audiences all over Africa with the current Big Brother franchises; BB Titans, Mzansi and Naija. Though we have no immediate plans to have a Big Brother Botswana in the future, we are continuously looking at ways to entertain our Botswana audience with local content and we are excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks from our country.”

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WeekendLife

DENIM RICHARDS American actor takes local productions to the world

23rd January 2023

American renowned actor, Denim Richards has been in Botswana for quite a while now with one clear mission: the revamp the film and entertainment industry.

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WeekendLife

Botswana misses out on Miss Universe again

9th January 2023

The 71st Miss Universe competition will be going down at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans next week in the United States. There are eighty four entrants at this year’s Miss Universe, and Botswana will once again not be a part of the pageant.

The Miss Universe will be hosted by Jeannie Mai and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, who last served as host during Miss Universe 2020, while Mai last served as backstage correspondent during Miss Universe 2014. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Zuri Hall will serve as backstage correspondents. This will mark the first time in a 70-year history to have an all-female presenting panel.

Botswana last participated at the Miss Universe in 2013, in which the Miss Universe Botswana pageant was won by Tsoane Macheng. Ever since then, Botswana never made its return to the biggest beauty pageant in the world, despite its consistent ability to send a representative to participate at the Miss World competition.

Miss Universe Botswana Director, Safie Sekgwa, allegedly holds the Miss Universe license. Efforts to reach him proved futile, as his mobile phone rung unanswered.

Despite Botswana showing zero efforts in participating at the Miss Universe, the beauty pageants 2019 crown was flanked by two smaller diamonds cut from the same stoned mined in Botswana.

Jewelry designer Mouawad created a new “Power of Unity” crown reportedly worth 5 Million US Dollars, and the title was won by South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi. She was the third South African to be crowned Miss Universe.

BOTSWANA’S POOR RECORD AT MISS UNIVERSE

Botswana is said to be one African country with the most beautiful women, but, the poor performance at the Miss Universe, communicates otherwise. Perhaps, representatives at the pageant are not academically gifted, as the Miss Universe tests how keen they are also.

Mpule Kwelagobe made history when she was crowned Miss Universe 1999. That was few months after she was crowed the first ever Miss Universe Botswana. Kwelagobe became the third woman from Africa who was crowned Miss Universe.

In 2000, Miss Universe Botswana then, Joyce Molemoeng did not place at Miss Universe, and the same blue reality struck again in 2001, when Mataila Sikwane also failed drastically.

After a two year hiatus, Miss Universe 2004, Icho Keolotswe also failed to place at Miss Universe. That was the end of participation at Miss Universe, only to return in 2010. Tirelo Ramasedi, Miss Universe 2010 also did not win. The same losing trend followed from 2011 (Larona Kgabo), 2012 (Sheillah Molelekwa) and 2013 (Tsaone Macheng).

MISS UNIVERSE 2022 UNDERWAY

Preparations are ongoing to hold the 71st Miss Universe competition. Harnaaz Sandhu of India will crown her successor at the end of the event. There are nine countries which have withdrawn from participating: Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Romania and Sweden.

As for returns, Miss Universe 2022 will see Angola, Belize, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Uruguay.

Lebanon won Miss Universe in 1971, Angola in 2011, Trinidad and Tobago in 1977 and1998. Youngest Miss Universe 2022 participants are aged 18, and they are from British Virgin Islands, Iceland and Krgyzstan and Switzerland’s representative is nineteen.

MISS UNIVERSE ALMOST 6 MILLION US DOLLAR CROWN

Miss Universe has unveiled its new crown for the 71st competition. The new crown, “The Crown Number 12: Force for Good” was crafted by world renowned luxury jeweler Mouawad.

The new crown, with pear-shaped blue sapphires surrounded by diamonds and valued at approximately 5.58 Million US Dollars, will be the prestigious mark of honor for the winner this coming week.

According to the Miss Universe organization, the Force for Good crown emanates Mouawad’s passion for crafting the extraordinary, featuring the meticulous setting of sapphires and diamonds, whose design is replete with symbolism.

Reflecting the point that significant change does not happen in an instant, the base of the crown is set with diamonds symbolizing the status quo. From the base upwards, rippling wave motifs reflect the momentum of change, with their varying sizes portraying that this momentum gains ground gradually through advocacy at different moments and places, to audiences large and small, over time.

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