“Our culture does not allow that”: exploring the challenges of sexuality education in rural communities

Access full-text article here


Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Within sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is becoming a greater threat to rural communities due to the high numbers of urban dwellers and migrant labourers who return to their rural villages when they fall ill and due to the lack of information and health services. Previous studies have found a reduced rate of infection among people who have high educational attainment, and thus advocate for education as the vaccine against new HIV infections among the youth. However, very little research has focussed on the delivery of sexuality and HIV&AIDS education in rural classrooms. With teachers positioned at the forefront of the pandemic, especially in rural communities, it is important to understand how teachers experience teaching about sexuality in rural schools. In this paper, I explore the experiences of eight women teachers through focus group discussions. Thematic inductive analysis was used to identify the stumbling blocks within sexuality education classrooms in rural schools. Societal constructions of childhood and nostalgia for past traditional practices were found to be the major challenges to teaching. The findings highlight the need for a sexuality education curriculum that integrates traditional ways of knowing into formal sexuality education in order for it to be effective in reducing further spread of HIV.