AHF tasks NCC on digital sexuality, health education

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By Justina Auta

The AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), an international NGO, has tasked the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) on access to age-approporiate Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and health interventions through digital empowerment for youths.

AHF gave the task on Friday during a visit to the NCC Digital Economy Department in Abuja in commemoration of the 2023 International Day of the African Child (IDAC), with a theme: “Switched Up CSE Access through digital empowerment’’.

Dr Echey Ijezie, the Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, said the visit was to look at how the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy (NDEP) would address the challenges of young people in supporting a digital environment that is sensitive to age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.

“Youths are empowered with the appropriate knowledge, skills of assertiveness and understanding for them to feel the perils and all issues that they might arise as they grow older in the society.

“Comprehensive sexuality education is important as long as it is age appropriate and comprehensive to empower the youths and make them understand what the facts are and live fulfilled lives that is risk free.

“This is the main advocacy and we are looking at different platforms to disseminate these informations that it will form parts of conversation, education for the youths to be enlightened.

“Many of them need to be informed about some of these things that they hear, see and because they have access to different devices and sources of information, so it is important to educate them so make informed decisions.

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“If information is hidden from the youths and they find it from other means, which may be wrong. So we are trying to make sure that the information given to them is appropriate, correct and useful,’’ he said.

Mr Steve Aborisade, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, highlighted the need to equip youths with appropriate knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive and health rights.

He said: “AHF emphasises the importance of equipping them with knowledge and skills to navigate online actions safely, understand their rights and make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

“We call on African communities to support age-appropriate CSE, empowering young individuals to make informed choices and contribute to national development.

“Comprehensive sexuality education covers critical areas including abstinence, gender equality, human rights, gender based violence, sexual reproductive health, ensuring young people have the knowledge to protect themselves and their wellbeing,” he said.

Aborisade said the NDEP provide a platform for the commission to support the wellbeing of young people which allow unfettered access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.

He noted that despite the global and national technology shifts, Nigeria does not have a national data on the state of digital literacy, which has implications for education, empowerment and health information, among others.

He therefore called for the development of a national curriculum and programmes for digital literacy skills, youths friendly digital health intervention, and emergency communication centres, youth friendly toll-free health line to improve access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.

Responding, MS Olatokunboh Oyeleye, the Head of Digital Economy Department, NCC, urged the organisation and other stakeholders to contribute towards incorporating the required digital training in the curriculum for the different levels of education.

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“We focus on online safety aspect of it and if you go through the website, you will see a lot that speaks on online safety for children.

“We want to collaborate and contribute to our sector and you should also bear in mind that when it comes to collaboration, we are a regulator.

“Look at your collaboration and how specifically does it impact on the industry and what role do you expect regulators to play that we are not playing and how do you want us to play more in those areas,” she said.

Similarly, Mr Hamisu Yahaya, an official of the NCC, assured the AHF that they would consider their suggestions and articulate it to the management for consideration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that students from Victory of God International Academy, Apo, and Chinakwe Internationl School, Dakibiyu, Jabi, featured at the IDAC event. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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