Sexuality education is not mandatory in Hong Kong schools. The policy of the Hong Kong Government is to integrate various aspects of sexuality education into relevant school subjects rather than treating them as a stand-alone subject. This cross-curricular approach shall be normally supplemented by topic-related extra-curricular activities organized by schools. In 1997, the Government has also issued guidelines on sexuality education for schools, but schools have a huge flexibility to adopt approach, content, and delivery mode in accordance with their background, mission, ethos, and resources.
According to a Government Survey conducted between 2012 and 2013, a considerable number of schools in HK encounter major barriers in providing effective sexuality or HIV/AIDS education: (a) schools were too busy and had no time (52%); (b) schools regarded this topic as a low priority (50% and 25% for HIV/AIDS and sexuality education respectively); (c) schools did not treat it as an explicit learning objective (50%); (d) schools lacked documented policy (75%); (e) teachers were not well equipped to teach sex education or HIV/AIDS (74%).
Furthermore, schools also lacked learning and teaching resources. In 2016, the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong conducted a Youth Sexuality Study with young people aged 12-18 and 18-27 years that revealed, on the one hand, e.g. a low correct knowledge on SRHR topics (e.g. on a woman’s fertile period, only 35% of females and 38% of males had correct knowledge) but, on the other hand, 85% of both female and male young people considered their knowledge as sufficient or very sufficient.
Given these realities, there are renewed calls e.g. from the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong or the Sexuality Education Alliance (S.E.A) in Hong Kong to strengthen Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for young people in HK in accordance with international standards. It is a fact that young people in HK lack access to age and gender appropriate, correct, and non-judgmental information to protect and fulfil their SRHR as well as make them respected. An information source as a website is a dire need, a website that: 1. Can be widely accessed by young people in HK, 2. Is created with and for young people priorly trained in linking to UNESCO international standards, 3. Is fully grounded in their needs and built around scenarios of their lives and 4. Is as backed up by experts in the field.
Teen’s Key, founded in 2011, is dedicated to improving the well-being and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of vulnerable young women and teenage girls from different backgrounds in Hong Kong, including those working in the sex industry. Teen’s Key runs different programmes:
1. For high risk girls and young women working in the sex industry: providing them e.g. with counselling, HIV testing and/or career and life planning workshops to begin a new chapter in their lives, if they wish so.
2. For adolescent boys and girls (ages 12-18): providing them with workshops in schools on SRHR with the goals to improve their access to health and rights, to reduce gender-based violence, to promote gender equality and to build positive attitudes and behaviours around gender and SRHR.
3. For young mothers: providing them with leadership and life skills training to strengthen their capacities for their future career. With their programmes, the team strives to create a safe and non-judgmental space for sexuality education, life planning and counselling services. To create greater social impact, Teen’s Key engages also in advocacy for comprehensive and unbiased sex education. To date, the organisation has provided support, education, and services to over 10,000 teenage girls and young women in HK. Since 2012, they conduct trainings to the Hong Kong Police Force about sex workers’ safety.
In 2015, Teen’s Key won the “With and For Girls Award”.
EMpower’s 1st grant to Teen’s Key - Young Women Development Network Limited will support the organisation to facilitate and convey a youth-centred process to develop content for a website on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with and for young people aged 12-18 years. To come up with the website for young people in HK, Teen’s Key will work with two groups of young people: 1. A group of 25 young people aged 19-24 years, young women and men, trained as facilitators and mentors of the second group of young people, additionally supported by experienced guest speakers. 2. A group of 20 young people aged 12-18 years trained on SRHR by the mentors supported by Teen’s Key in a series of 8 workshops that will not only convey knowledge, discuss and challenge attitudes and behaviours, but also provide them with the platform to share about their needs and daily SRHR experiences to come up with the topics for the website and develop with them scenarios grounded in their real life situations. Once live - according to Teen’s Key estimates - the website will reach around 30,000 young people in the medium and long run. Young people of the two age groups will be also part of a Support Committee to the project alongside experts from the field, and contribute to the Evaluation and Learning Committee of the project. They will also participate in meetings of the Sexuality Education Alliance (S.E.A) in HK, mainly focusing on developing Comprehensive Sexuality Education in HK, to talk about the website project, introduce the website to other members of the Alliance and invite them to share with their constituencies.
Primary Location: Hong Kong, China
Funded Since: 2021
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