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Source:UN News Centre
Youngsters in Guinea-Bissau will receive comprehensive sexual education in primary and secondary schools thanks to a United Nations workshop to support efforts by the small West African country’s education ministry.

“The need to give young people a sexual education is evident and urgent,” said Xavier Hospital of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regional team on HIV/AIDS based in Dakar, Senegal.

Only 13 per cent of youngsters in Guinea-Bissau could correctly identify how HIV was transmitted, according to a 2010 survey, although 21 per cent have already engaged in sexual relations by the age of 15.

The workshop – organized by UNESCO Dakar and UNESCO Brasilia in Bissau, the capital – brought together technicians and trainers who design curricula or train teachers and was based largely on Brazil’s successful Health and Prevention in School programme. Brazilian specialists facilitated the sessions, which began on 8 September and concluded today.

“The project is an excellent example of South-South cooperation,” said Maria Rebeca Otero Gomes of UNESCO Brazil, which has been working together with UNESCO Dakar since 2006 to provide technical support to the Portuguese-speaking African countries to develop a strong education sector response to HIV/AIDS.

“The partnership has allowed for the development of valuable exchanges between these countries and their respective ministries,” she added.

A similar workshop will take place in Cape Verde later this year.

The project, which includes analyses of curricula, support for curriculum development, and institutional needs assessment, is financed by the Japanese Government and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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