UNESCO IITE – a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Champion

On 16-18 October 2019, UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECARO) and Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth of the Republic of Albania organized a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Champions Workshop in Tirana, Albania. The workshop brought together stakeholders from government, civil society, youth and UN agencies determined to strengthen and improve sexuality education in the EECA region.

Recently Albania made great progress and secured policy level support for integrating sexuality education in the national curriculum and have valuable lessons that other countries had a chance to learn from. Meanwhile, other countries have advanced on other aspects of sexuality education. Common for all countries is that they face different challenges and offer solutions that complement each other, at the same time all the countries had a chance to benefit from expert advice and draw on the best practices and lessons with sexuality education accumulated across Europe.

The workshop and particularly the high-level segment on the first day was an integral part of the march to ICPD25 Nairobi Summit. It has shown commitment to Sexuality Education and provided attention-grabbing visibility to sexuality education as a key strategy to deliver on the promises made at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo almost 25 years ago.

UNESCO IITE’s participation in this meeting was active and beneficial given our extensive background in information technologies for CSE. Maria Medvedchikova, Programme Coordinator for the Unit of ICT in Health Education, took part in the panel discussion Partnerships for youth and health education, where together with other international experts they discussed the necessary commitments and networking strategies for CSE development in various country contexts.

Later on, the UNESCO IITE representative delivered a presentation on Innovation for CSE. Ms. Medvedchikova spoke about the CSE communication technics in the digital environment and shared the UNESCO IITE digital products for CSE, developed within the last few years. The audience showed particular interest in the edutainment videos by the YouTube channel Nowchpok, social media communities DVOR.MEDIA and OK.RU/TEST, the newly launched Mobile App “LoveLogs: Relationships Diary”  and the feature film II (“Two”), produced with UNESCO IITE support by Belarusian filmmaker Vlada Senkova. On the final day of the conference, the ICT for Health Education Unit campaigns in the EECA countries (Armenia, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan) were presented during the World café on Successes and Failures.

The event contributed to UNESCO IITE’s visibility as a Sexuality Education Champion and strengthened our networking potential as well as the regional coordination role in HIV/health education. The workshop employed a problem-solution oriented methodology and equipped participants with a spark for change through peer learning and the support of distinguished sexuality education experts.