A global network of over 350 advocates making CSE a reality for all

The ‘Talking about Life Skills, More Comprehensively’ dialogue took place virtually from 23 November – 3 December 2021.

We created a ‘first of its kind’ platform for civil society and grassroots activists to lead, discuss, and share their strategies on how to ground activism for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in real world contexts. Over 30 sessions took place, with 350+ attendees, from over 100 organisations, representing 25+ countries.

The event was organised by AmplifyChange, Faith to Action Network, Aahung, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Reseau Africain de l’Education pour la santé (RAES) – specialists in funding and supporting civil society activism for CSE and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This partnership brought together a global network of experts, practitioners, and users of CSE to create an inclusive and honest dialogue that focused on making CSE happen via advocacy and activism.

The dialogue placed ‘bottom-up’ approaches centre-stage, prioritising community ownership over curriculum, and ensuring space for questioning and re-defining both the challenges and successes of the varying status of comprehensive sexuality education.

The dialogue actively sought and showcased different sources of expertise, amplifying voices of researchers, young people, local civil society organisations (CSOs) and donors. We took bold steps to work together with local norm-shapers from both religious, secular, and traditional structures, ensuring that there was emphasis on gaining new allies for continued CSE advocacy.

Key outcomes from the dialogue included:

  • A focus on personalising CSE
  • Shifting power and democratising CSE through shifting the power back to civil society
  • Adapting the language used to discuss CSE based on your working ecology.

There were also significant discussions on evidence production – we recognised that the evidence base in favour of CSE and how to deliver CSE is well developed.  Participants therefore encouraged a greater focus to evidence dissemination to inform both policy and practice.

The ‘Talking about Life Skills’ dialogue made time and space to come together to strengthen our capacity as a movement, through acknowledging that current global CSE guidance is not, and cannot be, universally implemented. Most importantly, we highlighted the power and progress of civil society – their approach works, and therefore should continue to be prioritised, listened to, and funded.

Check out our guide on pleasure inclusive CSE on AmplifyChange Learn.