Poor or lacking sexual education
Violence against women and girls increases the risk of an unplanned early pregnancy, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. In many countries, young people receive inadequate sexual education or none at all, have limited access to appropriate medical care and few opportunities to grow and develop before they have to assume adult roles. In many places gender norms require girls to marry and have children in their early to mid-teen years – an age at which they are neither physically nor psychologically ready to bear children.
terre des hommes schweiz and its local partner organisations in Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe campaign strongly for young people, their health and their sexual rights. The concepts of sexual and reproductive health and rights were adopted in 1994 by the governments at the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (United Nations Population Fund). They call for “young people’s needs for education and services be met, so that they can manage their sexuality in a positive and responsible way”.
Medical care that is appropriate for young people
In accordance with these concepts, terre des hommes schweiz facilitates access to comprehensive and youth-friendly medical care (contraception, information, advice), supports the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV and early pregnancies, and also promotes young people’s right to express their sexuality free from violence, discrimination and coercion.