A person holding a book titled 'Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)'

Grantee stories

Faith based partnerships for positive sexuality education

Grantee Partner: Haguruka

Grant type: Strengthening

Priorities: Violence, Stigma, Access, Youth

Country: Rwanda

Haguruka is a civil society organisation based in Rwanda working to improve the rights of women, young people and children, including through better sexual and reproductive health and rights. As part of their AmplifyChange grant, they worked with faith-based schools to improve the availability and accessibility of age-appropriate, high quality comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). 

A key barrier to CSE in schools is negative social norms around adolescent sexual health, despite high rates of youth gender-based violence and unintended pregnancies. Haguruka successfully navigated these challenges by working closely with faith leaders, schoolteachers, and parents to simplify the existing CSE curriculum and to integrate a new module using a pleasure-based approach to reduce negative discourse around sexual health. Pleasure-based lessons centred on healthy communication, consent, and decision-making, including about safer sex. Six teachers were trained as pleasure champions, and by the end of the project they helped engage 120 other teachers on the topic.  

A man and a woman whearing face masks holding an electronic device.
Haguruka team during a school-based project activity

By integrating pleasure into their work, teachers reported feeling more equipped to directly address concerns regarding SRHR amongst their students. Faith leaders recognised the importance of CSE in schools, particularly as a protective mechanism against sexual harassment and exploitation for students. Students were more engaged in the topic and felt more able to speak openly about the challenges they face in managing their wellbeing and health, especially within sexual or romantic relationships. The topics of bodily autonomy and consent provided young people with the confidence to address gender-based violence at school and amongst their peers.  

Based on end-of-project student interviews, a majority of young people in the project felt better equipped to make informed decisions about their sexual health as a result of the improved curriculum. 

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