A multi stakeholder campaign, with leadership from SADC and EAC and supported by the United Nations to improve the lives of young people in Eastern and Southern Africa with sexuality education and health services. This is your chance to influence change.

With strong commitment from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East
African Community (EAC), Ministers of Health and Education from 20 countries in East and Southern Africa affirmed and adopted the ESA Commitment on 7 December 2013, in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Commitment is a strategic tool that, for the first time, brings together Ministries of Education and Health to strengthen HIV prevention efforts and foster positive health outcomes by advocating for access to quality, comprehensive sexuality education as well as sexual and reproductive health services for young people in the region.

ESA Commitment Update

Why adolescents and young people need comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health.

Download the ESA Commitment Update 22 May 2014

The right to a healthy and informed life

Young people have a right to receive more than just basic facts about HIV, health, gender, sex and relationships.

By combining comprehensive sexuality education with youth-friendly health services, young people are empowered to make informed decisions that affect their relationships, health and prosperity.

Less than 40% of young people know basic information about HIV prevention

2.6 million young people are living with HIV

430,000 new HIV infections per year (50 per hour)

Most new HIV infections occur in young women

Young people have limited access to critical health services and these are often withheld

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because of their age, marital status or other discriminatory laws

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Early pregnancy contributes to high dropout rates from education and poses a serious

threat to the health of adolescent girls and high levels of maternal death

Cultural traditions and practices can act as barriers rather than protecting the health and futures of young people

Existing education and health initiatives are not fully implemented or are not fully resourced

Sexual and gender-based violence affects 35% of young women

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Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

  • Prepares adolescents and young people for puberty and beyond, to understand their body, to make informed decisions about relationships and develop critical skills.
  • Empowers adolescents and young people to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Supports adolescents and young people to make better, informed decisions and often delays initiation of sexual activity and reduces sexual risk taking – it does not lead to increased sexual activity.
  • Encourages adolescents and young people to have more equitable and healthy relationships.
  • Can reduce gender-based violence, bullying and discrimination.
  • Gives adolescents and young people the confidence to access services and support.
Photo: © IPPF/Paul Bell/Uganda
Sexual reproductive health services

Sexual and reproductive health services

  • Fulfill the right to health and well-being of adolescents and young people. It is a public health responsibility to protect the health of all young people.
  • Are more effective when offered as a package with sexuality education.
  • Ensure that young people feel safe and confident.
  • Empower adolescents and young people to make their own choices about their health, as well as sexual and reproductive health issues.
  • Provide access to support and commodities that promote good health as well as limiting bad health or illness.
  • Reduce unintended pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections which impact on the health of adolescents and young people.
  • Improve maternal and child survival rates.
Photo: © Nell Freeman for International HIV/AIDS Alliance