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Author:Siyane Aniley (Addis Ababa University)
Paper short abstract:
Discussing sexuality is a taboo topic in Ethiopia. However silenced, SRHR epistemological curiosity remains to flourish among girls. Drawing from an ethnographic research, this paper highlights how schools attempt to bridge SRHR knowledge gaps among girls by navigating policy and culture spheres.
Paper long abstract:
In Ethiopia, many young people remain to consume conflicting, negative and confusing messages about sexuality and gender (Vanwesenbeeck et al, 2015; Le Mat, 2017). This is often aggravated by embarrassment, and silence coming from the society and institutions regardless of the continuous information need. This ethnographic study aims to understand the practices of school-based SE in a restrictive context. By conducting school based observation and running a focus group discussions with adolescent girls, this study seeks to understand the expressed need for information on SRHR by girls. It also explored, the contents provided as well as topics suppressed about sexuality education. The findings indicate that girls are curious to learn about their body change, including menstruation, sexual relationship, condom use, pregnancy, and love. However, the school-based sexuality education appears to provide abstinence-only contents and sessions that are heavily dominated on risks from sexual practices such as HIV/AIDS and STIs while erasing the inquisitive voices among the pupil or dismissing as ‘western’ subject. The study concludes that school-based sexuality education is where there is abundance of curiosity and to the contrary undemocratic contents restricted to fixed values are practiced. The study argues that there is a need for improved policy that incorporates the voices of adolescent girls to address demands related to SRHR information.
Unsettling 'gender' within research, policy and practice II