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International Donors Should Invest In Sexual Education, Reproductive Health Programs

The Guardian: The world must not be too scared to talk about teenagers having sex
Jennifer Amadi, co-founder of the Knit Together Initiative

“…[T]he world is too scared to talk about teenagers having sex. And young people are losing their lives and livelihoods as a result. … In Nigeria and abroad, politicians … worry that supporting programs that increase youth access to contraception will cost them their jobs. These fearful leaders — the very people we need to support young girls so they can improve their lives — earmark foreign aid for politically safe initiatives like abstinence-based sex-ed or programs that only provide birth control to married women. In the worst cases, they slash funding for international reproductive health programs altogether. … If things don’t change, we’ll all face the consequences. … [C]hanging the status quo requires more than local promises. … Foreign aid helps fill the funding gaps that often prevent these intentions from becoming reality, so politicians from donor countries like the U.K. must think hard about where they channel investments. … Let’s … commit to giving today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders the information and tools they need to have safe sex, plan pregnancies, and keep their lives on track. If we succeed, they’ll do more than plan their families — they’ll shape a better future for us all. And that’s the smartest investment any government can make” (11/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.