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UNESCO, AHI collaborate to deepen health education

UNESCO, AHI collaborate to deepen health education

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Action Health Incorporated (AHI), a non-profit NGO dedicated to improving the health of Nigerian adolescents have collaborated to deepen family life and HIV education (FLHE) in Nigeria.

In 2022, UNESCO commissioned The Torchlight Collective to conduct a mixed methods study on short and intermediate term outcomes of national programmes in six countries – Argentina (Buenos Aires), Armenia, Jamaica, Laos, Namibia and Nigeria (Lagos) – on education for life skills, family life, health, sexuality and relationships.

“UNESCO continues to use its comparative advantage at improving the learning outcomes in Nigeria using policy improvements, curriculum development, teacher training, governance, standardization and strengthening systems to improve learning outcomes,” Abdourahamane Diallo, head of the UNESCO Office in Abuja, said during the dissemination of the short and intermediate term outcomes of family life and HIV education (FLHE) workshop held in Lagos.

According to him, UNESCO has been providing technical support to the government by providing solutions to improving the quality of education in Nigeria under its cooperative framework. He said further that UNESCO presents its comparative advantage in education, science, social human science, communication, and information to improve numeracy and learning outcomes.

“UNESCO will continue to contribute its quota to gender equality, human rights of women youth and marginalized groups including People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) in Nigeria by strengthening mechanisms and capacities of actors and institutions to address discriminatory gender and social norms, and harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation particularly for girls in and out of schools,” Diallo said.

Jamiu Alli-Balogun, Lagos State commissioner for basic and secondary education, stated that FLHE had empowered students with knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health issues.

Alli-Balogun, who was represented by Omolayo Akinlade, director, education resource centre, disclosed that Lagos localised the national curriculum and adopted FLHE into its scheme of work in basic science, social studies and civic education, among other subjects for easy dissemination to students.

“Our commitment to the well-being and holistic development of students extends beyond the walls of the classroom to encompass the fundamental values of knowledge, compassion, and resilience,” he stated.

Adenike Esiet, co-founder, Action Health Incorporated (AHI), said the NGO has been committed to promoting the health, and well-being of young people, especially catalysing opportunities for their access to FLHE

She disclosed that as the implementing partner for UNESCO’s FLHE programme in Lagos, AHI partnered with education district IV (Yaba) to carry out the study in schools within the district. According to her, insights and lessons from the study would help implementation partners on what to do, fast track, and improve solutions for young people in the country.

The Family Life and HIV Education (FLHE) study was approved by the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2004. Since then, trained teachers have been mainstreaming content of the curriculum into career subjects with support of implementing partners.

The technical workshop is expected to help the dissemination of the findings to get input of local stakeholders to engender the required ownership of the report and consequent address of recommendations of the report commissioned in 2023, and was recently concluded.