In order to prevent unintended pregnancies among young adolescents, all children, adolescents and youth must have access to information and education about their bodies, reproduction, and protection. They also need the self-esteem to withstand peer or partner pressure and to negotiate condom use when engaging in sexual activity.
Comprehensive sexuality education can be provided in schools and out of schools by teachers, peer educators, youth workers, community health workers, community-based organizations and religious leaders amongst others. Information provided should be scientifically accurate, objective, and free of prejudice and discrimination. It should also provide opportunities to explore one’s own values and attitudes, and to build decision-making, communication and risk reduction skills.
Evidence shows that sexuality education does not lead to an earlier onset of sexual activity, but has a positive impact on safer sexual practices and can delay the age of sexual debut.
To make sexuality education more effective, it should be delivered together with efforts to expand access to high quality, adolescent and youth friendly health services.
Nevertheless, access to sexuality education and services that empower young people to make informed decisions about their sexual behaviors and reproductive health is often restricted. Parents, caregivers and schools do not always carry out their responsibilities to provide children and young people with the information and support they need through the different phases of their developing sexuality. This is due to factors such as lack of awareness and skills, power imbalances, lack of resources and other inequalities.
This is the story of Angelica & Lucner
Angelica is 13 years old & Lucner is 3 months old
Angelica lives with her son, her parents and her siblings in an urban, violent slum area in Haiti. She met her boyfriend, became pregnant and had to leave school when she was in seventh grade. Her boyfriend continues school like before.
I knew there was a risk of becoming pregnant but I didn't think it would happen to me. In school, we didn't learn much about things like this.
I have a boyfriend who is 16 and we have been a couple for a while. When I got pregnant, my father kicked me out of the house temporarily. I had to sleep on people’s doorsteps. Once in a while my mother would send me food.
I shouldn’t have had a baby at my age. I’m too young. I can’t even take care of him.
I live with my parents and eight siblings in a poor area of the city. We lost our house in the earthquake. My mother is the only one earning our living. Her business isn’t doing well and she’s always borrowing money. She’s my only friend and she’s always supporting me even though I’ve let her down.
When I was pregnant, I became extremely skinny because I wasn’t getting enough food. It was hard; I wasn’t in school and I had to sleep on the streets.
The day I went into labour, my mom was out. I went to several clinics but they couldn’t help me because my case was too severe. There was a high risk that both the baby and I would die. In the maternity clinic, I remember they didn’t let me in since I didn’t have any money. I was lying on the pavement outside with the worst pain. Then a woman came by and helped me, lending me money for medication and a caesarean section.
When I came back from the hospital with the baby, my father first refused to let me inside, saying he couldn’t be responsible for a daughter with a child. Our neighbours were the ones who helped me. They gave me a place to sleep with my baby, some food and something to drink.
Only recently was I allowed to come back home – and now I have to take care of everything. I have to wake up early in the morning to go and fetch water. I come back and cook for my younger siblings and take them to school. Then I do the laundry. I don't always get enough food for myself and I don’t have anything for my baby.
My dream is to go back to school; I liked it so much. I had a group of friends that I went to school with, where we would perform and sing. It’s sad to see my friends going to school and I can’t go. Even my boyfriend continues to go to school like before while I need to stay at home. My one wish is that my son will get an education.
My advice to other girls is that if they decide to have a boyfriend, they should get informed and use contraception so that they don’t become pregnant like I did at such a young age.