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Championing healthy relationships

and sexual wellbeing

Sharing best practice in Nigeria

acet UK CEO, Sarah Smith, recently returned from Nigeria where she delivered training to our ACET Nigeria colleagues and visited some of their projects. Here she gives a report on the training.

“During our international leaders’ gathering in September 2015, we showcased some of the activities we’d created to raise discussions with young people about pornography and sexting (sending naked pictures) through our Esteem programme. Sunday Musa, Director of ACET Nigeria, was so impressed with our approach, and could see the need for this education in Nigeria, that we started exploring the idea of delivering training to his team.

It took a great deal of planning due to the spread of ACET Nigeria’s work across different parts of the country and the security issues that Nigeria faces, but two weeks ago I was able to successfully deliver the training in Abuja!

16 of our ACET Nigeria colleagues participated in the 5 day course which, as well as covering media and technology, helped them to delve deeper into topics such as self-esteem, relationships, STIs, HIV, teenage pregnancy (a huge issue in Nigeria due to the high volume of early marriages that take place for girls) and educational approaches.

When I talked to them about the changes to relationships and sex education that will be taking place in the UK from September 2019, and the fact that the government are finally moving to the term Relationships Education for primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education for secondary schools, my Nigerian colleagues felt that this is a great idea and something that the Nigerian government should also implement. They said that having the word ‘sex’ in the description can be a barrier when wanting to reach out to churches and schools, but that placing the emphasis on the word ‘relationships’ would be a big step forward.

Our Nigerian colleagues don’t have access to the level of technology available to us in the UK in their churches, schools and youth clubs so, throughout the training, we devised ways of delivering the materials in a way that wouldn’t be limited by power cuts or technical resources. There were many creative ideas, and using smartphones (which are widely available) as a resource, the group often came up with solutions.  For example, for playing music or to show examples of photoshopped photos when working with smaller groups.

On the last day of the training, the participants wrote action plans on how they were going to put their learning into practice and, just two days later, one of the participants, Christiana, was already delivering a session on self-esteem in the new Kids Club she is running in her church.

I was able to accompany another participant, John, to a church and school in a town called Akwanga where he has already started organising Esteem sessions for next month.

Next year, our Nigerian colleagues will be rolling out the training to other colleagues in the towns of Akwanga and Wannune to enable many young people to have access to the Esteem sessions. We look forward to updating you on this next year!”

Read more about the work of ACET Nigeria