From the Global North to the Global South: Comparing Sexuality Education in Mississippi and Nigeria

Rachel S. Robinson, American University
Michael Kunnuji, University of Lagos
Yusra Shawar, American University
Jeremy Shiffman, American University

Sexuality education is a controversial topic in diverse locations, but is crucial to reducing unwanted births as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Both Mississippi and Nigeria have above-average levels of adolescent fertility: the rate in Mississippi is 46.1, the third highest rate in the US, while in Nigeria it is 123, placing Nigeria among the top 15% of countries globally. In part because of these high rates, both places have relatively recent legislation mandating the provision of sexuality education. Although very different in many important ways, in both Mississippi and Nigeria discussions about adolescent sexuality are socially and politically fraught, making the adoption of such curricula unlikely. Based on interviews with key informants in Mississippi and in Nigeria, we analyze the strategies of proponents of comprehensive sexuality education as a means to understand how best to develop policies and programs to provide adolescent reproductive health in challenging settings.

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 Presented in Session P9. Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health