La Ventana

Rethinking sexuality education in El Salvador

Partners: Glasswing International | Funders: The Case for Her | Location: San Salvador, El Salvador

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Challenge

Currently, sex education is not working for young people. When present, it often focuses on shame, disease, and pregnancy prevention, while pleasure, consent, and intimacy are overlooked or ignored. In the absence of comprehensive and positive ways to learn about sex, young people may turn to sexually explicit media, which often promotes violence and harmful gender norms. 

El Salvador is no different - and the country’s lack of comprehensive sexual education may be exacerbating existing inequities. Considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a young woman, El Salvador has the highest global rate of femicide. More than one-quarter of young women have experienced intimate partner violence and the country has one of the highest rates of child marriage and adolescent pregnancies in the region.

Without a safe space, young women have little knowledge about their bodies and how to have safe, healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships. A recent study showed that although 85 percent of Salvadoran adolescents reported learning about SRH in school, the information was often insufficient. Young people reported a lack of information about how to use contraception, how to decide when to initiate one’s sex life, and about sexual pleasure. 

Innovation

YLabs is working hand in hand with The Case for Her and Glasswing International to co-design a new gender-transformative approach to talking about sex, pleasure and reproductive health that we hope can improve health outcomes and lead to safer, consensual, and more equitable relationships.

Next Steps

Our consortium are working with young women and men aged 18-24 years in El Salvador to explore new ways talking about sex, sexuality, and contraception that include pleasure. 

In the second phase of this project, we’ll work with young people to develop compelling solutions that are accessible, affordable, and relevant, and aim to increase the awareness and demand for sexual and reproductive health services. 

La Ventana takes a participatory, youth-led approach to explore how to create and deliver sex education content that emphasizes love, agency,  communication, intimacy, pleasure, and play.

We believe the time is ripe to be testing this approach. There is growing global support, among UNICEF,  UNESCO, and others to integrate a pleasure-based approach in their sexuality education programming in order to effectively engage youth.

To find out more about this innovative project, please contact our project lead.

 
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