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Knowledge is Power: A New Tool Led and Designed by Young People in Hong Kong

Posted 31 October 2022 in EMpower News   |   Share


You are Zhi, a 17-year-old girl in Hong Kong. You have been dating your boyfriend Jia, who is your classmate at school for almost a year. You notice that your menstrual period is late and are worried. You decide to buy a pregnancy test stick to see if you could be pregnant.

Many young people confront this scenario every day, and it can be a scary, lonely, and harrowing journey; many are ill prepared for this experience. One of our partners in Hong Kong, Teen’s Key, is hoping to change this. They recently launched a simulation game on accidental pregnancy, which helps to mentally prepare young people for such situations and equips them with the knowledge to handle or prevent this from happening. The game takes them from the pregnancy test stage, to choices, assistance under different real-life circumstances, to their decisions and the resulting consequences. 

This game is the kind of interactive and engaging content that Teen’s Key’s new Sexuality Hub contains (the English version is not fully functional). Teen’s Key, an EMpower partner since 2021, is dedicated to promoting wholesome sexuality education for young people in Hong Kong, where sexuality education is still not integrated into the formal curriculum and where there is a huge disparity between accurate information and perceived knowledge on sexuality and reproductive health. EMpower supported the development of this critical tool, which went live earlier this year.

The hub is unique in that it is a non-judgemental source of comprehensive sexuality education for young people, and they are entirely in the lead in curating the content, designing the platform, and rolling it out.

We at EMpower are excited to see this approach because we want to inspire other grantee partners in the region (and elsewhere) to similarly engage young people more meaningfully—to centre their voices and genuinely listen to them in designing programmes, implementing activities, and in monitoring and evaluating these programmes.

Teen’s Key recognises young people’s agency and is sensitive to the challenges and difficulties they face today. As part of the overall initiative we are supporting, Teen’s Key staff and youth mentors (ages 20–24) have trained 60 youth educators (ages 15–24). And the youth educators have chosen sexuality-related topics they are interested in exploring and written recommendations of news articles, books, movies, and podcasts they think can help young people in Hong Kong augment their knowledge around sexual health.

Teen’s Key has also succeeded to create a counselling space, where youth mentors and youth educators interact and respond to questions from their peers very regularly, often on a weekly basis. 

The youth educators work with 120 youth in the community and will reach even more through this new platform. This tiered approach creates an ecosystem that not only supports a positive attitude towards sexuality, but also amplifies and models how to meaningfully engage with young people.

The team believes that understanding and leveraging emotions are core elements of wholesome sexuality education. By building a safe virtual space for young people to discuss issues like challenges in intimate relationships and in their personal growth, the programme equips them with the skills and knowledge to make healthy choices.

This intensive and thoughtful approach led to the launch of the accidental pregnancy simulation game on Teen’s Key’s new Sexuality Hub, on World Contraception Day: 26 September 2022. Approximately 100 teens tried the game.

Moving forward, Teen’s Key will build on the game and expand the hub. And they plan to continue to organise different education activities across schools and digital platforms with the goal of cultivating an open-minded generation that upholds the values of consent and respect and can make informed decisions about their bodies and health.

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