This is the first in a two-part series describing WYA’s innovative Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC). Please click here to see part two.
Despite the fact that comprehensive sex education is not a right under international law, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNDESA, and private organizations routinely act as if providing comprehensive sex education is the best or only approach to meeting an array of international goals, including the provision of reproductive healthcare to women. In this context, “comprehensive sex education” identifies policies and programs developed by various international parties that stress an apparent need for teaching children about sexual fulfillment and pleasure, and are rooted in the premise that teens will not wait to engage in sexual activity.
These models for sex education fail to consider the human person in a holistic sense, including every individual’s capacity to understand his own dignity and to choose healthy behaviors aligned with it, both for himself and for others. They also don’t leave space for parents to guide their children’s sex education as they consider fit, in line with their children’s emotional, mental, and physical capacities.
As the Dalai Lama says, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”
On the international level, WYA understands the implementation of particular programs or models to be determined by a policy cycle. Developed policies determine the direction of funding—the type of program that receives funding, the amount of funding it receives, etc.—and funding then determines the feasibility of implementing one program over another.
If organizations are going to adopt a more holistic model of sex education that respects cultural values and supports human dignity, there must be a curriculum available—a program with which WYA can implement policy commitments in order to have a stronger seat the table.
As the Dalai Lama says, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” WYA must show that more holistic (and therefore more truly comprehensive) approaches to sex education are the most ideal model for meeting the agreed-upon international goals for sex education.
In a desire to propose a sexual education curriculum that meets the varying needs of societies, cultures, families, and individuals, WYA has developed the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC) and its associated optional teenFEMM module, has tested the HDC in both developed and developing nations, and is advocating for the HDC’s adoption.
Brother R. Thomas-Martin Miller is an Intern for WYA North America.