An international non-governmental organisation, the AIDS HealthCare Foundation has tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission with access to age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education and health interventions through digital empowerment for youths.
AHF gave the task during a visit to the NCC Digital Economy Department in Abuja in commemoration of the 2023 International Day of the African Child themed, “Switched Up CSE Access through digital empowerment.”
The Country Programme Director of AHF Nigeria, Dr Echey Ijezie said the visit was to look at how the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy will address the challenges of young people in the digital world.
“Youths are empowered with the appropriate knowledge, skills of assertiveness, and understanding for them to feel the perils and all issues that might arise as they grow older in 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 a fulfilled life that is risk-free.
“This is the main advocacy and we are looking at different platforms to disseminate this information that will form parts of the conversation, education for the youths to be enlightened. Many of them need to be informed about some of the things that they hear and see. So, we are trying to make sure that the information given to them is appropriate, correct and useful to them,’’ he said.
Also, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, Steve Aborisade highlighted the need to equip youth with the appropriate knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive and health rights.
Aborisade said AHF stresses the importance of equipping the youth 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 the 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, and ensuring young people have the knowledge to protect themselves and their wellbeing.
He said the NDEP provides a platform for the commission to support the wellbeing of young people which allows unfettered access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.
He noted that despite the global and national technology shifts, Nigeria does not have national data on the state of digital literacy, which has implications for education, empowerment, health information, and 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.
Earlier, the Head of Digital Economy Department at the NCC, Olatokunbo Oyeleye, urged stakeholders to contribute towards incorporating the required digital training in the curriculum for the different levels of education.
“We focus on the 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,” she said.