“How safe is the withdrawal method during sexual intercourse in preventing pregnancy?”
“Can I fall pregnant the first time I have sex?”
“How many times can I use the same condom?”
These are just some of the questions South Africa’s youth frequently ask CONNECT-ED Buddy, a sexual health education support programme that is part of the CONNECT-ED initiative, which has been running for two –years.
“Through the CONNECT-ED Buddy programme we have been able to learn and address some of the questions our youth have regarding sexual health. The questions asked illustrate that pupils are more concerned with falling pregnant than contracting HIV or STIs and that’s concerning”, said Jose Lechuga, Category Manager, Healthcare, Reckitt Benckiser SA.
CONNECT-ED is Durex’s high school CSI initiative that is run in association with the Gauteng Department of Education and aims to provide young people of high school age with the knowledge required to enable behavioural change specific to healthy sexual activity.
Nkosana Mnisi, Chief Education Specialist at the Gauteng Department of Education says: “The association with CONNECT-ED has been invaluable for us because we have been able to use results and successes from the programme to assist us in strategically mapping our department’s sexual health education activities.
The CONNECT-ED Buddy programme is especially critical in that it allows us to identify key development areas that are common among teens and that we can act towards implementing these specifically into the Life Orientation curriculum. This is an association we would like to see continue as we would like to see the private and government sectors work together to deliver on results.”
The programme affords young people of high schools, knowledge and advice on sexual health issues facing teens like peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and sugar daddies.
It is packaged in an edutainment format involving live theatre and a film depicting the real life impact of the issues faced by teens.
To date an estimated 410 000 students between grades 8 and 12 at 520 schools across Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal have been exposed to CONNECT-ED.