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 7th grant to Yunnan Youth Development Centre (YYDC) enables them to train students and teachers in 8 new rural schools. 1,069 students (10-14 years old: 486 male and 483 female, and 15-19 years old: 48 male and 52 female) are receiving training sessions on sexual reproductive health, gender awareness and harassment. The students are mainly from Yunnan’s ethnic minority groups. 35 teachers are being trained in delivering these sessions, and will actively participate in all activities together with YYDC staff. 15 volunteers from Kunming are being trained and will support YYDC in the implementation of this programme. The schools are located around 50 KM from Kunming.
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