China is among the countries with the largest adolescent populations in the world, with over 165 million in total (United Nations, 2017). Chinese adolescents are reaching sexual maturity at increasingly early ages, youth in general are open to premarital sex, however they lack sexual and reproductive health knowledge and awareness of safe sex. Youth are at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancies, abortions and sexual and gender-based violence, therefore education about sexuality is of utmost importance. China recognizes the importance of school-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). A study by UNFPA in 2018 revealed that whilst there are laws and policies related to CSE which include policies on school hygiene and health care, health education, moral education, safety education, HIV and AIDS prevention education, and preventing child sexual abuse, schools across provinces have various practices when it comes to CSE at school. In Yunnan, schools are simply required to provide ‘education about living, survival and life’, which includes some elements of sexual reproductive health education. Unprotected sexual behavior is exposing adolescents to unintended pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Yunnan Peili Youth Development Centre (YYDC) was founded in 2005 as a non-governmental organisation with a mission to serve young people aged 6-24 through: (1) ‘civil education’ in basic life skills, citizenship as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and (2) volunteer-led experiential learning. It has ample experience working with migrant workers’ children in Kunming city schools as well as with mainly left-behind children in rural schools outside Kunming. YYDC implements its programmes by training university student volunteers, empowering them to be directly involved in a range of activities to promote the development of other young people, especially those who are excluded.
EMpower’s 6th grant to YYDC will provide sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education to over 1,000 children and youth in urban and rural primary and junior high schools in and around Kunming. Interventions will be conducted by its own staff as well as by prior trained university student volunteers and teachers. YYDC will additionally collaborate with some social workers to support especially rural teachers weaker in capacities on SRHR education. It will also cooperate with the police to inform students and teachers about police procedures in case of sexual harassment/abuse in schools.
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