The AHF has charged the NCC with making accessible and age-appropriate sexuality and health education interventions.

NCC Tasked On Age-Appropriate Sexuality, Health Education

On Friday, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an international NGO, tasked the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) with creating accessible age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) 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 (IDAC), with a theme, “Switched Up CSE Access through digital empowerment’’.

Dr. Echey Ijezie, Country Program Director, AHF Nigeria said the visit was to look at how the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy (NDEP) will address the challenges of young people in supporting a digital environment that is sensitive to age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.

“Youths are empowered with the appropriate knowledge, skills of assertiveness and understanding for them to feel the perils and all issues that they might arise as they grow older in the 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 fulfilled lives that are risk free.

“This is the main advocacy and we are looking at different platforms to disseminate this information that will form parts of conversation, education for the youths to be enlightened.

“Many of them need to be informed about some of these things that they hear, see and because they have access to different devices and sources of information, so it is important to educate them so they can make informed decisions.

“If information is hidden from the youths and they find it from other means, which may be wrong. So we are trying to make sure that the information given to them is appropriate, correct and useful to them,’’ he said.

Also, Mr. Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, highlighted the need to equip youths with appropriate knowledge to make informed decision about their reproductive and health rights.

He said: “AHF emphasizes the importance of equipping them with knowledge and skills to navigate online actions safely, understand their rights and make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

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“We call on 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, ensuring young people have the knowledge to protect themselves and their wellbeing.

Aborisade 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 a 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 programs for digital literacy skills, youths friendly digital health intervention, and emergency communication centers, youth friendly toll-free health line to improve access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.

Responding, Ms. Olatokunboh Oyeleye, Head of Digital Economy Department, NCC urged the organisation and other 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.

“Look at your collaboration and how specifically it impacts the industry and what role do you expect regulators to play that we are not playing and how do you want us to play more in those areas, ‘’ she said.

Mr. Hamisu, the Acting Head of Department, NCC, reassured the AHF that the organization would consider their suggestions and articulate it to the management for considerations.