Sexuality of young people in schools in Burkina Faso: A snowball effect

Credit: Lefaso.net

Sexuality remains a taboo subject in our African societies especifically in Burkina Faso. There are many parents who do not dare to discuss this subject with their offspring. While sexuality seems to be banalized in schools. It tends to be the best-known and best-shared thing. The pupils, at a young age and out of curiosity, enjoy sex. Consequently, the concerned (pupils), their parents and the whole society are found in anxieties and challenging situations such as unwanted pregnancies. What explains this phenomenon? What solutions can we advocate?

According to a study commissioned by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Literacy, nearly 1016 cases of pregnancy were recorded in schools in 7 regions of Burkina during the 2011–2012 school year. From 2012–2016, 689 cases of pregnancy were recorded at the primary schools in 6 regions. The numbers are therefore questioning. The last two years were alarming with the appearance of few cases of rape including pupils, sex tape videos on social media and an increasing number of pregnancies perpetrated by teachers.

The causes include the lack of sex education in the families, the ignorance of the existence of youth coaching centers, the economic vulnerability, the influence of social media, etc.

The consequences are also legions: Absenteeism, dropping out, school failure and loss, induced abortion, loss of self-esteem, depression, loss of financial support, etc.

In a digital world, it is urgent to launch awareness campaigns for adolescents and young people at all levels of society. This should start first at the family level, the ideal place for to educate every child, removing the taboo around sex and developing parent-child discussions about sexuality and the “consumption” of the media. At the school level, governments must review the courses taught to students. They must introduce from the primary level training modules on sexuality.

Finally, young people must be aware that education is a strong link for their future development, not sex.

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner

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