How Is Africa Doing Today?
In developed countries, sexual education and health are something that is almost implied. Parents and teachers talk about the risk it involves, diseases, and the meaning of sex, especially when done early in teenage years.
What about places that lack this kind of support system? How do they get a handle on all of the issues that comes from sexual ignorance? Sex issues in Africa, for example, are one of many problems the continent is facing, and there are a lot of problems that need fixing: sexual violence, female genital mutilation, HIV, malaria, adolescent childbearing, etc.
The nonexistence of sexual education in schools brings a lot of problems for younger generations. Not just that, but the healthcare system that should exist to protect both women and newborns is also failing miserably. In fact, it is more likely that a woman in Africa will die from maternal conditions than women anywhere else.
We know sex education is really important. Teenagers nowadays are growing up in a completely different environment than our ancestors. This is good in a way because knowledge is now more available than ever.
Sex education is here to help them get a broader picture about their body, biological changes that are happening, and most importantly, sex health. However, this topic is still a bit sensitive, especially in underdeveloped countries, like some in Africa, because people still believe that sex education teaches children how to have sex. But, it is so much more. It teaches about precaution, health, safety, respect towards your partner, gender norms, etc.
The fact is that sex is a natural thing in adolescents’ lives that will happen with or without sex education. But, making it a normal thing can be one of the ways to solve sex issues in Africa.
Funds and Programs
Now, more than ever, funding is necessary. African countries doesn’t have the means to invest in health and sex education by itself. Comprehensive sexual education is desperately needed so that younger generations can learn about all the aspects of ones sexuality, not just the sex itself.
It is essential to make sure that everyone has the access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. However, this is easier said than done because the lack of political will and action can slow down this process.
There is also an initiative called ESA Commitment, endorsed by more than 20 countries, in order to:
- Broaden the access to sexual education in schools
- Try to put an end to HIV infections
- Lessen early or unwanted pregnancies, which affect a lot of young girls and their family
- Get rid of child marriage and all of gender violence, which is a huge problem in Africa
Journalism and Media Exposure
As we all know, journalism and media can be very powerful tools if used correctly. Nowadays, news can travel fast to any part of the world, even the ones that are not so developed. However, people are still not doing their best when it comes to informing people about some issues in Africa.
According to research, only 20% of married women in Africa use modern contraception. They also have the highest mortality numbers when it comes to unsafe abortions. Kenya, for example, has the highest number of cases of people who died of HIV.
The media can play an important role here by bringing these issues to a global level. Because, as long as no one talks about it and knows how awful the situation is, the smaller the chances are of resolving these problems. By focusing public attention on these issues, the media has a chance of helping them.
Law and Protection
Now that we know a third of the issues happening in Africa, what can be done to protect those poor people? What are the solutions for sex issues happening right now? Well, laws that could protect them.
There are already some of them that are doing an amazing job fighting for women to have rights and dignity when it comes to sex, like The African Charter, the Maputo Protocol and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW).
One of the biggest issues that need better protection is child marriage. Even though the legal age when a person can enter a marriage is 18 years old, in some countries in Africa, you can be younger to legally have sex and marry someone, which can be (and is) exploited for child marriage. The key is to inform younger generations about sexual health and consent in a way they can accept.
Some may argue that globalization made so many things worse before countries were self-sufficient. That may be the issue in some cases, but when it comes to raising concern on a global level, it is a great thing.
As human beings, we are nothing without one another. It is prevalent to raise concern so the whole world can hear what is happening in Africa and how terrible it is. Only then the needed help can be provided when countries and nations unite.
Today, no country is self-sufficient, one way or another. Letting other countries help is the only way to sustain ourselves. Bringing sex educators, helping develop laws, coming up with different ways of protecting the endangered ones, etc. Everything helps.
Bottom line is, unfortunately, developing countries need other more developed countries on their journey of recovery, and Africa is no exception.