CSE SESSION PLANS

TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOREWORD ................................................................................................................................................... 1

ADOLESCENT SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH .................................................................................. 2

COMMON CONCERNS BRAINSTORMING........................................................................................................... 2

BODY IMAGE .......................................................................................................................................................... 6

ALTERING BODIES ............................................................................................................................................... 8

BODY IMAGE, SEXUALITY, AND THE MEDIA ..................................................................................................... 8

GENDER VIGNETTE............................................................................................................................................... 5

BUILDING GENDER AWARENESS GAME ........................................................................................................... 7

SELF ESTEEM ...................................................................................................................................................... 10

AM I ASSERTIVE? ................................................................................................................................................ 12

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AWARENESS, GENDER, AND SELF-ESTEEM .................................................... 15

GENDER DEBATE ................................................................................................................................................ 20

PERSONAL VALUES SENTENCE COMPLETION ............................................................................................. 22

INTRODUCTION TO SEXUALITY ....................................................................................................................... 28

THE CIRCLES OF HUMAN SEXUALITY ............................................................................................................. 30

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HOW DO I RELATE TO OTHERS ........................................................................................................................ 38

VALUES AND SEXUALITY .................................................................................................................................. 38

DEFINING PERSONAL VALUES AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES ....................................................................... 39

HOW DO THEY APPLY TO OUR SEXUALITY? ................................................................................................. 39

VALUES AUCTION .............................................................................................................................................. 40

VALUES VOTING................................................................................................................................................. 42

WHY FAIRNESS MATTERS ................................................................................................................................. 44

INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS ............................................................................................................... 45

TALKING WITH ADULTS ABOUT SEX ............................................................................................................... 55

SHALL WE HAVE SEX OR NOT? ....................................................................................................................... 56

SAYING ‘NO’ TO SEX UNTIL I’M READY .......................................................................................................... 58

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AND HIV/AIDS ......................................................................... 63

GENERAL STI QUESTIONS ............................................................................................................................ 64

STI QUIZ .............................................................................................................................................................. 68

HIV/AIDS CONTINUUM OF RISK ACTIVITY .................................................................................................. 76

WORKING WITH DIVERSITY ............................................................................................................................... 77

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IDENTITY: PERSONAL AWARENESS INVENTORY.......................................................................................... 84

DISCRIMINATION – FEAR AND IGNORANCE ................................................................................................... 86

VISUALIZATION ................................................................................................................................................. 88

CHAIN COMMUNICATION ................................................................................................................................... 93

EXPLORING ATTITUDES ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE ............................................................................ 94

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS COMPARISON ...................................................................................................... 97

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS STATEMENTS ...................................................................................................... 99

CHILDREN BY CHOICE, NOT CHANCE .......................................................................................................... 101

BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................................................. 106

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FOREWORD
Teenage should be a time of creativity, intellectual
and emotional growth, joy in dreaming and
pursuing one’s future, in exploring the world, and
looking at the many possibilities in life. It should be
a time of fun, love, laughter and adventures,
developing one’s potential, empowering oneself for
happiness and success in life. However, this is
hardly the case as many teenagers are facing
hardship, including depression as they try to keep
up with a fast and competitive pace in life.
Teens in Guyana live in, and try to make sense of a
society in which misinformation, misconceptions
and myths about sexuality have contributed to a
high rate of domestic and sexual violence, teenage
pregnancy, homophobia, relationship and family
crisis, and suicide. Many parents are ill equipped for
their roles and often resort to violence as the
primary means of maintaining control over their
children. This often leads to devastating
consequences, such as low self-esteem, anger, risky
sexual behaviour and violence, and suicide. There is
a dire need for interventions to dispel the dark
clouds of doom and violence, and for facilities to
support healing of persons, relationships and
families.
The Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association
(GRPA) is seeking to address some of the critical
issues facing adolescents, youth and families.
Through its Youth Advocacy Movement, it reaches
out to youth from 14 to 25 years of age and
provides safe and refreshing spaces, and support,
including education and counseling. In 2015 the
organisation launched a Choices project which aims
to enhance the quality of sexual and reproductive
health of adolescents and youth, to advocate for
related rights, and to enable youth to take
leadership in addressing these issues.
A significant aspect of the Choices project was the
launching of the #bodyboss Campaign with the

tagline:
#mybody#myrights#myrules.
The
#bodyboss
Campaign
promotes
positive
reinforcement of adolescents and youth to be in
control of their lives and not to be swayed by
negative and evil forces which lead to risky
behaviour. It includes sessions to build a strong
and healthy sense of self, caring their bodies,
enriching their minds and making wise decisions.
Becoming a teen should be a time of family
celebration but often turns out to be one of great
pain, struggle and grief. It is essential for parents
and other family members to understand that their
teen needs to feel loved and cared for and to have a
sense of belonging to circles of family and friends.
Teens need to be equipped with Comprehensive
Sexuality Education (CSE) which will enable them to
make wise choices and to avoid risky sexual
behavior.
This manual is a CSE resource which aims at
enabling adolescents and youth to become their
#bodybosses. It is a toolkit for teenagers, youth,
teachers,
parents,
social
workers
and
community/faith based organisations to work with
adolescents and youth. The manual provides
information on the changes that that a teen faces as
he/she is transitioning into adulthood, recognising
that many adolescents can be vulnerable to
coercion, abuse, unintended pregnancy, and
sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. It
takes into consideration that the teen may also be
bearing burdens of poverty, violence, family
dysfunction, substance abuse, bullying, peer
pressure, and depression, among others.
The GRPA expresses its deep appreciation to the
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
for its financial contribution, to Red Thread for
developing the manual and to Dr Amrita Singh and
the #bodyboss team who participated in this
development.

We welcome your feedback.
email: info@grpa.org.gy, Tel. +592-225-3286, website: www.grpa.org.gy
Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth
Executive Director
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Session Plans for Comprehensive Sexuality Education

The workshops to be conducted on these topics will be age appropriate for adolescents, aged 9 – 19 years.
Who am I
Puberty, Reproductive health, Body Image, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
ADOLESCENT SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Agenda:
opening activity, icebreaker or discussion (15
minutes)
common adolescent health concerns (30
minutes)

Session objectives:
Identify and describe the SRH concerns of
adolescents.
Develop the skills to talk about reproductive and
sexual health issues with adolescents.

The Facts About Personal Sexual And
Reproductive Health Care For Adolescent
Females And Males (30 minutes)
closing activity or discussion and evaluations (15 minutes) Total Time: two hours
COMMON CONCERNS BRAINSTORMING
Procedure:
Tell the group the session will address concerns that many teens have about their sexual and reproductive
health.
Write MALE CONCERNS on flipchart and ask the group to brainstorm common concerns, worries, or questions
that many males have about the sexual parts of their bodies. Repeat for FEMALE CONCERNS. Point out which
concerns have to do with sexual health, sexual responsiveness and sexual attractiveness.
Discussion questions:
Is there a difference of focus between male and female concerns? If so, why?
Where can young people go for help for a sexual health concern/problem?
Distribute handouts: It’s The Truth: The Facts about Personal Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for
Males and Females. Ask participants to read through the lists and see if the handouts address any of the
concerns they listed. Discuss any questions.
Conclude by pointing out how important it is for young people to have accurate information on reproductive
health to navigate the health care system and to maintain good sexual health through adolescence and into
adulthood.
Extension:
Ask participants to list community resources (sexual health clinics, STI/HIV testing sites, hotline phone
numbers, etc.).
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IT’S THE TRUTH: THE FACTS ABOUT PERSONAL SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE
HEALTH CARE FOR ADOLESCENT FEMALES
Handout
It is common for adolescent females to:
be at a different stage of physical development from peers of the same age
have one breast slightly larger or differently shaped
have breast swelling and tenderness just before their periods
have cramps before and/or during their periods
have nipples that turn in instead of sticking out or hair around the nipples
have some natural, healthy, genital odour
have genital hair of a different colour from hair on other parts of their bodies
have a regular menstrual cycle length between 21 and 40 days
have irregular periods
have wetness in the vaginal area when sexually aroused
masturbate occasionally, frequently, or not at all (with no resulting physical harm)
have varying amounts of clear to cloudy discharge from the vagina, as part of their monthly cycle or with
antibiotics, birth control pills, or pregnancy
have their hymens stretched during routine physical activities like gymnastics (therefore not a clue to
virginity)
have labia, breast, nipples of various sizes, shapes, skin tones.
It is uncommon but possible for adolescent females to get
cysts in the breast
breast cancer
cervical or uterine cancer
ovarian cysts (sac or cavity of abnormal character containing fluid which may occur in the ovaries)
uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumour of muscular and fibrous tissues which may develop in the wall of the
uterus)
Signs of possible problems for adolescent females include:
Pain:
general pelvic pain
pain, burning and/or itching while urinating
pain during intercourse
Change in menstrual cycle:
suddenly irregular periods
unusually late period
unusual cramps
cramps with no period
Change in body:
more frequent urination
lump, growth or a sore on genitals
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unusually heavy or smelly vaginal discharge
changes in appearance of nipples
a lump in the breast that wasn’t there before
discharge from nipple or discharge with blood or pus in it
Prevent problems by:
having a yearly pap test if sexually active or age 18 to 20 and haven’t had one before
doing a self breast exam at the same time each month
tracking menstrual cycles
keeping the outside of the vagina clean and dry
avoiding perfumed or scented soaps, douches, tampons, sanitary napkins, sprays, or bath bubbles and oils
wearing cotton underpants and pantyhose with a cotton-lined crotch
not wearing clothes or pyjamas that are too tight in the crotch and thighs
sleeping without underwear
if having intercourse, using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraception to avoid
unintended pregnancy, and water-based lubricant if needed
getting tested for STIs if had intercourse without a condom
IT’S THE TRUTH: THE FACTS ABOUT PERSONAL SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE FOR
ADOLESCENT MALES
It is common for adolescent males to:
be at a different stage of physical development from peers of the same age
have one testicle larger and lower hanging than the other
have their testicles hang closer to, or further from, the body, depending upon temperature changes, stress, or
sexual arousal
be normal with either a circumcised or uncircumcised penis
have a whitish, cheesy substance (smegma) under the foreskin, if uncircumcised
have a pimple or hairs on the penis
have genital hair of different colour from hair on other parts of their bodies
have some natural, healthy genital odour
have frequent erections, sometimes due to sexual arousal, stress or general excitement, and sometimes for
no apparent reason
wake up in the morning with an erection
sometimes lose an erection during intercourse
masturbate occasionally, frequently, or not at all (with no resulting physical harm)
have erections without ejaculating
have wet dreams (nocturnal emissions)
have a flaccid (limp) penis length of under five inches
believe, incorrectly, that penis size is crucial to proper sexual functioning
have an ache in the testicles (“blue balls”) after prolonged sexual arousal (which will go away by itself or can
be relieved through masturbation)
have breast swelling during puberty which disappears after puberty ends
have some breast tenderness, or a sore spot under one or both nipples
It is uncommon but possible for adolescent males to:
get breast cancer
get testicular cancer
have hernias
have foreskin stick to the penis (uncircumcised male)
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Signs of possible problems for adolescent males include:
Pain:
pain, burning and/or itching while urinating
sharp pain in testicles that lasts more than a few minutes
moderate pain in testicle or groin that lasts more than a day or two
persistent itching around testicles, inside thighs, or in anal area
Change in body:
more frequent urinating
coloured or smelly discharge from end of penis
discharge from the nipple
lump, growth, or sore in testicles or other part of genitals
Prevent problems by:
having regular check-ups
doing a monthly testicle exam
examining genitals for sores, unusual lumps
keeping genitals clean and dry
not wearing tight jeans or pants
if having intercourse, using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended
pregnancy and using waterbased lubricant if needed
getting tested for STIs if had intercourse without a condom

5

Body Image
Materials: Discarded popular magazines for
clipping; scissors and glue; newsprint (two sheets
for each group of four or five) and markers; masking
tape

PURPOSE: TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF THE
PHYSICAL SELF; TO BECOME AWARE OF MEDIA
INFLUENCES ON SELF-IMAGE AND BEHAVIOUR

Time: 40-50 minutes
Planning Notes:
Make sure you provide magazines diverse enough to have pictures of men and
women of a variety of races, particularly of the ones represented in your group.
Procedure:
Point out that many people do not feel good about their body or looks.
Form same-sex groups of four to five people each and give each group two sheets of newsprint and a marker.
Go over instructions for the activity:

6

You have 20 minutes to complete this activity.

Make a list on one piece of newsprint of the personal body parts people often do not like. Label your
list either "Men do not like..." or 'Women do not like..."

Using two or three magazines, find pictures of attractive members of your sex. Make a collage on the
other piece of newsprint,using those pictures or your own drawings. Add words or phrases to
describe an attractive member of your own sex.

When you have finished your collage, tape both the list and the collage side by side on one of the
walls.

Allow about 20 minutes for groups to work together, then get everyone's attention. Ask teens to walk
around the room so they can read the lists and look at the collages.

Have everyone take their seats. Make summarizing comments and ask thoughtful questions about
what you see on the lists and collages. (For example, if several female lists include hair, point that
out: "I notice that several groups of young women listed 'hair' as one thing women often do not like
about their bodies. And I see lots of long, blonde wavy hair in the collages.

What does that say about women with short, dark, straight or tightly curled hair? Can they still be
attractive? Why is long, blonde hair seen as attractive by so many women?")

Conclude the activity with the Discussion Points.

Discussion Points:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Are women or men generally more satisfied with their bodies? Why?
Where do we get our ideas about what is attractive?
Do opinions about other people's bodies affect them?
Do other people's opinions influence how attractive or appealing we feel? Whose opinions
influence us the most? (If the response is the opposite sex, be sure to clarify that not everyone is
romantically interested in someone of the opposite sex.)
5. Are there parts of our bodies we can change? Which· ones? (Circle some of those parts on the
lists.)
6. What about parts we cannot change? How do those body parts affect our humor, or intelligence
or friendliness? Do those parts of our bodies actually affect our ability to love another person or
to be loved? What about being a good student, worker or parent?
7. What things can teens do to feel better about their body image? (Answers: Support each other,
pay less attention to media images, talk to a counselor.)

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Altering bodies

OVERVIEW: Students identify the idealized
appearance for males and females in their
culture and examine practices people engage
in to make their appearance conform to this
ideal. they learn about consequences of such
practices on their health.

INSTRUCTIONS
1


What are some of the pressures that girls and
boys feel to look a certain way?
Are these desired appearances realistic for most
of us, or are they idealized?
How do people feel if they do not meet the ideal?
What are some of the things people do (or have
their children undergo) to conform to idealized
images of attractiveness? For example, with hair?
Skin? Body shape? [Write responses on board.]

3

How do you feel about the practices on this list?
Which are playful or just expressive, and which
can be harmful?
What would people in other cultures think about
the practices listed here?
Where do these ideals come from? Are women
under greater pressure than men to conform to
an idealized body type? Who benefits and who is
harmed in this process? How does this pressure
affect self-esteem?

Add any additional practices you wish to discuss

from the following list: Fattening or extreme
dieting Extreme bodybuilding Tanning or skin
whitening

How important is it to end harmful practices
involving alterations of the body? Which practice,
if any, would you like to see stopped?

Applying makeup, henna, or nail polish
Piercing, scarification, or tattooing
Shaving or removing hair Straightening,
curling, or dyeing hair Cosmetic surgery

As you were growing up, did anyone tell you that
this practice is dangerous and should be
stopped? Have you shared your own knowledge
and feelings about it with anyone else?
How might you do that?

Female genital mutilation or circumcision*

8

culturally mandated “ideal” appearances; to describe
practices people (especially women and girls) undergo in
trying to achieve that appearance, and the damage such
practices can cause; to strengthen critical thinking skills.

Introduce the topic with the following questions:

2

OBJECTIVES:: to question pressures to conform to

Body Image, Sexuality, and the Media
Time

1 hour or more

Preparation: You will need a piece of blank
paper for each participant and colorful marking
pens or crayons for drawing pictures. You will
also need a large piece of paper for each small
group and a variety of materials for making a
collage. These materials may include popular
magazines, posters, colorful paper, ribbon, glue,
scissors, newspapers, etc. Read the tools for
trainers and think about the role of providers in
your group in supporting strong self-esteem in
children.

OBJECTIVES: BY THE END OF THIS ACTIVITY,
PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ABLE TO – COMPARE THE
IMAGE THEY HAVE OF THEMSELVES AS A YOUNG
PERSON WITH THE WAY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
PORTRAYED IN THEIR COMMUNITY AND THE MEDIA
TODAY.
DESCRIBE HOW CULTURAL NORMS AND THE MEDIA
MIGHT INFLUENCE A PERSON’S PERCEPTION OF HER
OR HIS OWN BODY, EXPRESSION OF SEXUALITY, AND
SELF-CARE PRACTICES

Directions:
1. Tell participants to think back and remember the person they were at a particular age in
their childhood (You, the trainer, select the age range depending upon your focus for this activity.) Invite
participants to think about how they saw themselves physically, the way they looked, dressed, felt, and what
they were typically doing.
2. Ask participants to quickly draw a picture of themselves as young people of this age. They may attempt to
make a life-like drawing or do a cartoon figure with symbols. As they draw ask participants to reflect on their
perceptions of their bodies at this age.
3. Invite participants to form small groups with about four to five people each. In the small group they may
share their drawings and briefly describe how they perceived themselves at the specified age.
4. Give each small group a poster-size piece of paper. The members of each group will make one collage that
illustrates how children (or adolescents) of this age are portrayed in the media today. Tell participants to think
about how youth are portrayed in magazines, on television, on the radio, in popular songs, on commercials and
billboards (e.g., smoking is appealing, fancy cars and alcohol attract pretty girls, sexually active partners seldom
get STIs on television, etc.) The collage should reflect what people this age look like now in the media, how they
dress, how they appear to feel, their expression of sexuality, and what they are typically doing.
5. Ask a representative from each group to present their collage. They will describe the images portrayed by
the media and compare this to the original pictures of how the members of the group remembered
themselves at this age. They may then tape the poster along with the individual drawings to the wall.
6. In the large group summarize the key themes that emerge.
Compare the image participants had of themselves with the images of young adults they see in the media
today. The following are possible discussion questions.

2

How could the way the media portrays youth influence how a young person might feel about her or his
body?





How might a person’s image of her or his body influence how well the person follows self-care
practices?
How is “sex” used to sell products, entertain viewers, etc?
What other social pressures encourage young people to engage in risky behaviors?
How can you help young people develop and maintain a positive body image?
How would you address social pressures on sexual behavior when working with young people?

Wrap-up

Close the session with the following points.

The media typically portrays a romanticized or sensational image of people’s lives. The amount of sex and
violence is often exaggerated and unrealistic.
The media can influence how young people think and act. They may worry about what is normal or wish they
were different than the way they are. They may be more inclined to follow behaviors (e.g., smoking,
unprotected sex, fast and reckless driving, etc.) that put their health at risk.
Helping children and adolescents value, appreciate, and take care of their bodies is an important part of
reproductive health awareness for youth.

Evaluation
During the small group discussion and class presentation participants describe how the image
they have of themselves in their youth compares with the way young people are portrayed in their community
and the media today. In the large group they list how cultural norms and media might influence a person’s
perception of his or her own body, self-esteem, and expression of sexuality, and self-care practices. During the
classroom discussion the trainer will assess participant awareness of these issues.

Note to Trainers
This activity can be easily modified and used with
adolescents or children who will soon be adolescents. Ask
the young people to draw a picture of how they see
themselves today and then make a collage of the way young
people their age are portrayed in the media. Then, ask them
to reflect on how these media images might affect their
perceptions about themselves and what they consider to be
normal and desirable. Invite young people to critique the
media and its potential impact on them. Ask the young
people to think of ways to deal with this and other social
pressures on their lives.

3

Important Terms
Empowerment

The process of generating and building capacities to
exercise control over one’s life.

Gender

Those characteristics of men and women that are socially determined in contrast to
those that are biologically determined.

Gender bias

The tendency to make decisions or take actions based on preconceived notions of ability
according to gender.

Gender blind

Recognizing that life choices can be made by individuals despite rules of society.

Handout

Gender Discrimination Prejudicial treatment of an individual based on a gender stereotype. This may also be
referred to as “sexism” or “sexual discrimination.”
Gender equality

The same status, rights, and responsibilities accorded to women and men.

Gender equity

The quality of being fair and right: a stage in the process of achieving gender equality.

Gender relations

The ways in which a culture or society defines the rights, responsibilities, and identities
of men and women in relation to one another.

Gender roles

The responsibilities assigned to boys and girls, and men and women by society. These
roles are not determined by biological differences.

Gender sensitive

Being aware of the differences between the needs, roles, responsibilities, and
constraints of men and women.

Sex

The biological differentiation of boys and girls, and of men and women.

A working
definition of
gender

4

People are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women
and men. They are taught what the appropriate behavior and attitudes, roles, and
activities are for them, and how they should relate to other people. This learned
behavior is what makes up gender identity and determines gender roles.

Gender Vignette

Time

5 to 15 minutes

Preparation
Make a copy of the vignette in
step 1 to read aloud or make individual copies for
each participant. Make a copy of “Important
Terms” on page 10 for each participant.

Objectives:
By the end of the activity, participants
will be able to—
Describe assumptions they make about who performs
what tasks and roles in our society
Tell how perceptions about gender may influence the
way a provider interacts with clients and the way
services are provided

Directions
1. Start the session with the
following vignette.
A child and his father were in a serious car accident. The father, a surgeon, was killed immediately. The child was
rushed to the hospital and aided by the emergency room staff. The child needed immediate surgery and was
transferred to the operating room. The surgeon looked down at the child and said, “I cannot operate on this
child; he is my son.”
-

Ask the participants, “Who is the surgeon?”

Answer: The doctor is his mother.
Ask how many participants did not guess that the answer was the mother. Lead a short discussion using the
following questions or similar ones of your choice.
Do you always think of physicians as male until proven otherwise?
Is this a gender bias in your culture? Why?
What are the societal beliefs about women learning science, mathematics, medicine, law, engineering,
construction, etc?
What are the costs of these societal beliefs or values to our daughters and sons?
What are women’s roles at our work settings (clinic, school, etc.)?
What are men’s roles? Why?
Based upon your sex and the sex of the client, what assumptions might you make about your relationship or
interaction with a client?
How might those assumptions affect your relationship?
Would it be different if the client were older or younger?

5

Alternative Vignette
The following is another vignette that could be used in place of the vignette described in Step 1. You could also
create your own story that reflects local beliefs regarding gender and work roles.
A farmer planted 20 acres of wheat using good seed and planted it at the appropriate time. Care of the land was
very neglected over the next 3 months as the farmer chatted with friends, played card games, and lost both time
and money at the dog races.
The farmer’s small daughter cried out, “With my father sick and disabled, how can you neglect me so?”
-

Who was the girl speaking to?

Answer: She was speaking to her mother.
You may use the same set of questions in step 2 to lead a discussion of gender beliefs in one’s own culture.

Review the handout “Important Terms” on page 10. Distribute a copy of these gender-related terms to
participants for their future reference.
Wrap-up

Summarize the activity and close with the following.

In our exploration of gender issues, it is important that we try to identify our own biases, many of which we may
not be aware.
What are some cultural beliefs about women (or men, girls, and boys) at your work settings (clinic, school,
community center, etc.) that influence which gender gets more attention, who gets a greater share of resources,
and who is accorded respect at first contact? Summarize the main points.
Evaluation
During class discussion participants describe their own gender assumptions and tell how their
perceptions about gender may influence their interactions with clients or community members and how they
provide services. The trainer notes the number of participants who determine the correct answer for the story.

Note to Trainers
This introductory activity is intended to set the stage for
further discussion of gender. We often feel that gender bias
is something other people have. This activity is intended to
show how common and often subconscious our own biases
are.

6

Building Gender Awareness Game
Time

30 to 45 minutes

Preparation
Make enough copies of the
handout “Gender Awareness Game” for all
participants. This handout will be given out at the
end of the activity.
Directions
1. Ask if participants know the
difference between gender and sex. Elicit their
opinions.

Objective: By the end of the session, participants
will be able to-- Define gender and sex in their
own terms
Identify which term is being referred to in a
variety of sentences

Clarify the following statements.
Gender decides the roles and responsibilities assigned to boys and girls, and men and women by society. These
roles are not determined by biological differences.
Sex is the biological differentiation between males and females.
Ask participants to take out a piece of scratch paper and make a numbered list from 1 to 20. Tell them you will
read a number of statements and they are to determine whether each statement refers to “gender” or “sex.”
Instruct them to write an “S” for each statement they feel refers to sex (or determined by one’s biological
differences.) Tell them to write a “G” for each statement they feel refers to a gender characteristic of being
male or female that is socially determined. Read each statement and pause for participants to record the
appropriate letter.
After the activity, distribute the “Gender Awareness Game” handout containing both the statements and the
correct answers. Review the responses and lead a discussion using questions such as the following.
What statements surprised you?
Do the statements indicate that gender is inborn or learned?
Do gender roles vary greatly in different societies, cultures, and historical periods? How?
Are age, race, and class also major factors that determine our gender roles? How?
Do women (men, the aged, others) in every country experience both power and oppression differently? How?
What gender differences in your own culture stand out in your mind?
Why do we have gender differences? What purpose do they serve on our society?
How do gender differences affect the way we practice good health behaviors or seek health services when
they are needed?

7

How does gender affect how a person can act regarding: Smoking? Initiating sex? Seeking family planning?
Going to the clinic when sick with the flu? Seeking preventive health care?
Wrap-up

Close the activity with the following.

By examining the statements in the handout, the differences between gender and biological issues becomes
clearer.
Harmful gender beliefs and practices can contribute to social injustice and discriminatory health care practices.
Evaluation

Participants define the terms “gender” and “sex” during class discussion.

Their ability to correctly identify the terms will be determined by the number of correct responses made to
the list of sentences read by the trainer. This can also be measured by including a few questions, similar to
those on the handout, on a pretest and posttest.

8

Gender Awareness Game
Women give birth to babies; men don’t. (Sex)

Handout

Little girls are gentle; boys are tough. (Gender)
In one case, when a child brought up as a girl learned that he was actually a boy, his school grades improved
dramatically. (Gender)
Among Indian agricultural workers, women are paid 40 to 60 percent of the male wage. (Gender)
Women can breastfeed babies; men can bottle-feed babies. (Sex)
Most construction-site workers in Britain are men. (Gender)
In ancient Egypt men stayed at home and did weaving, women handled the family business, and women
inherited property and men did not. (Gender)
Boys’ voices break at puberty; girls’ voices do not. (Sex)
In one study of 224 cultures, there were 5 in which men did all the cooking, and 36 in which women did all the
house building. (Gender)
According to UN statistics, women do 67 percent of the world’s work, yet their earnings for it amount to only 10
percent of the world’s income. (Gender)
Young women must control the dating or courting process, as young men are unable to control their sexual
urges. (Gender)
Females are fertile from puberty until menopause, while males are fertile from puberty until death. (Sex)
By nature, females prefer to have one sexual partner, while males prefer to have more than one. (Gender)
Boys are better at science and math, while girls are better at languages and the arts. (Gender)
In positions of management, men are better than women at making tough decisions. (Gender)
Most clients in family planning clinics are women. (Gender)
If there is a limited amount of food, it is better to give it to men and boys than to women and girls because men
and boys need to keep up their strength for heavier labor. (Gender)
Women consume an unfair proportion of the healthcare budget in most countries. (Gender)
Men, due to the way their genitals and skin are formed, are somewhat less susceptible to being infected with
HIV than women. (Sex)
Men are able to reproduce with more than one woman at a time. (Sex)

9

Self Esteem
discussion starter: exploring what helps us feel good about ourselves.
1) Have a word with yourself
Materials: Large sheet of paper/flipchart; small sheets
of paper; felt-tip/marker pens; pens; 45
minutes.

Aim: To encourage the participants to recognize when
they use negative ‘self-talk’ and show them how to
turn it around into positive self-talk

Process: Introduce the session by asking if any of
the participants can tell the group what self-talk is.
Make sure that all the participants understand that self-talk is how we talk to ourselves in our heads. It is
like a running commentary on what is going on and what we think about it in order to make sense of the
world. Self-talk might be something simple like reminding ourselves of the way to the shops or it could be
something more negative like telling ourselves how useless we are.
Explain that this session is going to explore negative self-talk and how to turn it into positive self-talk.
Split the participants up into small groups and start off by giving them the examples of negative and
positive self-talk (see below under ‘Discussion points’).
Now ask each small group to write some more negative statements and turn them into positive
statements.
When everyone has several statements written, come back into the large group and invite them to read
out
their ideas. These can then be written on a large sheet of paper/flipchart and displayed where
everyone can see them.
Encourage a discussion around ‘self-talk’, especially around:
if people are aware of this silent talking and what sort of things they think they say;
the sort of things they might say to themselves and what effect this might have on their
lives.
You may want to introduce these points into the discussion:
• What we say to ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves.
• Everyone self-talks : it is normal, not a sign of madness. Most of the time we don't even
notice we are doing it.
• The problem can arise if our self-talk is negative which in turn can make us feel lousy or

Instead of feeling miserable because someone has told you something horrible about yourself, turn it
around and tell yourself that you are happy with yourself and that is all that matters.
Negative example: "My dad says he thinks I am a no-hoper."
10

Positive example: “I feel okay about myself and that is all that matters."
Negative example: "I'm never going to get a girlfriend with these spots on my face."
Positive example:

"I'm a nice person with or without these spots."

Variations
Rather than using the negative self-talk statements provided, participants could write their
own, together with how to turn them into positive statements.
Participants could read out their answers in pairs with one giving the negative self-talk and the
other giving the positive.

11

Am I assertive?
Materials: Felt-tip/marker pens; pens;
photocopies of the ‘Being assertive’ cards (see
below); photocopies of the ‘10 rules of
assertiveness questionnaire (below); 40 : 50
minutes.

Aim: To help participants understand that
they can be assertive without being
aggressive.

Process: Introduce the session by explaining to the
participants that people tend to deal with tricky situations using one of three ways:
they might become aggressive by shouting or using physical strength;
they might act passively by walking away or just agreeing with what is happening; or
they can act assertively by ensuring that their opinion is heard but without resorting to aggression or
passivity.
Give each participant a photocopy of the 'assertiveness rules' . Tell them that this is what they are aiming
towards. Ask the participants to get into pairs and give each pair a 'Being assertive’ card (below).
Allow them 10 minutes to run through their cards and decide who will do what and how.
Ask each pair in turn to act out the situations on their card. Remind them that they are not to become
aggressive, no matter how unhelpful their partner is.



When all the situations have been acted out ask each pair to fill in their 'assertiveness rules' by ticking
the boxes against the rules they feel they need to improve on, or
against those they feel they act on already.
Ask questions to encourage a discussion on the advantages of using

Usually, people with low self
assertiveness and the disadvantages of using passivity and
esteem tend to be either
aggression, for example:
aggressive or passive. Make

Have
they been in situations where they have used aggression or
sure that the participants
passivity and not had a favourable outcome?
understand what is meant by
these behaviours and
• If they had been assertive would they have had a better result?
emphasize that the most
Variations : Ask participants to make up their own situations in
productive behaviour is
which they have to be assertive.
assertiveness. By acting out the
situations in this activity they
Participants could all watch one particular TV soap or chat show
will learn how to be more
and look out for signs of aggression,
assertive without being
aggressive or passive.

passivity or assertiveness.

Discussion points
In the discussion, explain that assertiveness means:




12

respecting ourselves : who we are and what we do,
taking responsibility for ourselves : how we feel and what we think and do, recognising our own needs
and wants,
making it clear that other people understand what we feel and think, allowing ourselves to make
mistakes,
allowing ourselves to enjoy our successes, changing our minds if and when we choose, asking for
time to think it over if we are not sure,
asking for what we want rather than waiting for someone to offer, setting clear boundaries about
what we will and will not do, recognising that we have a responsibility towards others, not for
others, respecting others and their right to be assertive too.

Being assertive in situations

1. Tell your partner you are annoyed with him/her
2. Pay your partner a genuine compliment.

3. Ask your partner to return some money owing to you.
4. Ask your partner not to smoke in your room.
5. Tell your partner that you disagree with something he or she has said.
6. Admit that you are wrong about something
7. Tell your partner about something you have done that you are very proud of.
8. You have to meet your partner to exchange some important papers. Arrange to
meet him or her at a specific time and in a specific place. Make sure your partner
agrees to turn up.

13

10 Rules of assertiveness.
In becoming more assertive a person develops an awareness of not only what they say but also how they say
it.

1. First decide what you want. This is important as otherwise everyone
confused, including you.

will be

2. Say what you want clearly and be specific. "I'll meet you at 2pm by the
postoffice", rather than "I'll see you in town sometime tomorrow afternoon".
3. Emphasise what you say by how you say it. If something! is serious: Look serious.
If you are laughing when you say something serious the other person often doesn't
know what to believe.
4.

Don't let yourself get side-tracked. Say what you want and if necessary repeat
yourself. Don't allow the other person to change the subject or bully you into
changing your mind.

5. Listen to the other person. Like you, they have the right to their own opinion.
6. Aim for a win/win situation. Being assertive isn't about getting your own way all
the time. A compromise that works equally well for both parties is much better.
7. Keep good eye contact. If you can look directly at the other person it conveys
honesty and assertion. Looking away signifies passivity.
8. Good upright posture also shows assertiveness. Standing or sitting slouched or
huddled up does not convey good self esteem or assertiveness.
9. Don't turn statements into questions by adding "don't you think?" on the end. This
shows that you are unsure and seeking reassurance. If it is your opinion, own it
and tell them "I think..."
10. Think about the words you use. 'I can't', 'I have to', and 'I imagine' are all passive
words. Use 'I won't', 'I choose to' and 'I know' instead. These are much more
assertive words and show that you have good self esteem.

14

I need to

I already

Improve

do

Reproductive Health Awareness, Gender, and Self-Esteem

Preparation
Prior to conducting this
activity review information on self-esteem,
including the tools for trainers “Reproductive
Health Awareness and Self-Esteem for Children.”
Reflect on the role of self-esteem and self-care
practices for children in the participants’
community. You will need large pieces of paper
and colorful marking pens for this activity. You may
also wish to copy the handout “Self-esteem and
Reproductive Health Awareness.”

OBJECTIVES: BY THE END OF THE ACTIVITY,
PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ABLE TO—



DEFINE SELF-ESTEEM
DESCRIBE HOW GENDER STEREOTYPES CAN
INFLUENCE A PERSON’S SELF-ESTEEM
LIST CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUNG PEOPLE WITH
STRONG SELF-ESTEEM
DESCRIBE HOW PARENTS AND PROVIDERS CAN
HELP CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS DEVELOP
AND STRENGTHEN THEIR SELF-ESTEEM

Directions
1. Invite participants to define self-esteem in
their own words. Describe the four elements of self-esteem. See the tools for trainers for more
information on the concept. Distribute the handout “Self-esteem and Reproductive Health
Awareness,” if appropriate.
2. Invite participants to form small groups of four to five participants. Ask all participants to think about
children or adolescents of a particular age range. Tell half of the small groups to focus on boys and
the other half to focus on girls.
3. In the small group ask participants to consider the four elements of self- esteem and discuss the
answers to the questions below.

-

What influences might cause a child to have a low self-esteem?

-

How might gender stereotypes influence a young person’s self-esteem?

-

What are the characteristics of a child or adolescent of this age who has strong self-esteem?
What is this child like? How does he or she “feel” on a regular basis?

-

What factors appear to enhance the child’s self-esteem?

-

How might a person’s self-esteem be associated with his or her ability to adopt self-care
practices?

4. Ask a representative of each group to present a summary of their discussion to the large group. Compare
the gender perspective of the groups that discussed girls with the groups that discussed boys of the
same age range.
5. Brainstorm ways that parents and providers can help children and young adults develop and
strengthen their self-esteem. Record responses and conclusions on large pieces of paper.
Wrap-up

15

At the end of the activity, conclude with the following points.

Each person is unique and special, just the way he or she is. However, some young
people may not feel that way on a regular basis.

Having strong self-esteem may help some young people avoid some of the

pressures to engage in risky behaviors. (Magnani et al., 1999)

Parents and providers can be instrumental in helping young people develop
and strengthen their self-esteem.

Evaluation
During the small group discussion and presentation, participants define self-esteem,
describe how gender stereotypes can influence a person’s self- esteem, and list characteristics of young people
with strong self-esteem. In the large group they list how parents and providers can help children and young
adults develop and strengthen their self-esteem. Participant ability to do this will be assessed by the trainer
during the classroom discussion.

16

Reproductive Health Awareness and Self-Esteem for Children
Tools for
Trainers

Elements of SelfEsteem
Sense of Connection:
Ability to relate
effectively and
comfortably to people,
places, and things

Characteristics of Children with
Strong Self-Esteem
• Have a sense of belonging to
someone (family, friends,
community, etc.)
• Feel comfortable with and
connected to their own
bodies.
• Trust their bodies will work well.
• Are able to have healthy
relationships with parents,
siblings, friends, teachers,
and others.
• Communicate well with others.

Ways to Help Strengthen SelfEsteem in Children
• Create a consistent
environment of warmth,
affection, good
communication, and
satisfying relationships.
• Help children overcome
any deep emotional losses.
• Reach out when it is not
expected (through speaking,
touch, gestures, smiles, notes
etc.) without requiring a
response.
• Teach children to be aware of
their bodies, including
sensations of good health and
illness.
• Model and teach

children good
communication skills.

Sense of
Uniqueness:
Respect for one’s
own special
characteristics

• Respect and appreciate
themselves and their bodies
as they are.

• Help children see and
understand what makes them
unique and special.

• Value their own special
characteristics and
differences.

• Teach children the wide range
of normal changes as their
bodies grow and develop.

• Are able to express themselves

• Provide children with a variety
of opportunities to
communicate and express
themselves in many different
ways.

in their own unique way.

• Do not shame or ridicule
children for touching and
exploring the body. This is
normal at every age.
17

Elements of SelfEsteem
Sense of Power:
Ability to have control
over one’s own life

Characteristics of

Ways to Help Strengthen

Children with Strong Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem in Children

• Intend to do the things that
keep their bodies healthy,
despite pressures they may
experience.
• Believe they can do what they set
out to do, such as practice
healthy behaviors.
• Feel others cannot make them
do things that will harm their
bodies.
• Are able to use the skills they
have to do things well, like avoid
health risks, monitor and observe
their own bodies, detect a
possible health problem and seek
resources, if needed.
• Feel comfortable about
acquiring new skills, including
ways to maintain or improve
health.
• Feel comfortable when they have

• Provide an environment of physical
and emotional safety.
• Encourage children to use what they
know and do well. Affirm their
successes.
• Teach children useful skills, like how to
observe and care for their bodies and
communicate effectively to protect
their health.
• Provide opportunities for decisionmaking. Encourage children to make
all of the decisions they are capable of
making.
• Help children set limits regarding
what they will not do to others and
not let others do to them.
• Help children acquire better control

over their feelings and physical
bodies through movement, sports,
exercise, dance, and other means.

a responsibility to fulfill such as
not causing others to become ill
or injured.

Sense of Models and
Mentors:
Sense of order and
purpose in one’s life

• Know people they feel are
worthy of being emulated.
• Have consistent values and
beliefs guiding and directing their
actions.
• Feel a sense of purpose
and direction.
• Are able to make sense of
what’s going on in their lives
and of the circumstances in
which they find themselves.
• Have a sense of order and

process, enabling them to
organize their environment to
accomplish tasks.

Source: Adapted from Bean, 1992
18

• Expose children to positive adult role
models who are able to relate their
experiences of success to children.
• Talk about and act consistently
regarding values, beliefs, and
standards. This includes issues
regarding sexuality, reproduction,
body awareness and self-care.
• Provide an orderly environment and
have children participate through
regular duties and responsibilities.
• Encourage children to solve problems
and figure things out on their own as
much as possible.
Model, repeat, and acknowledge
acceptable behaviors, norms, and
standards.

Self-Esteem and Reproductive Health Awareness
Handout

Self-esteem is confidence and satisfaction with oneself. Young people with strong self- esteem feel
satisfaction even when they are not doing something to “make themselves feel good.” Self-esteem
has to do with the way people generally feel about themselves. According to Bean (1992), people with
strong self-esteem often have the following feelings in many different circumstances and with a great
deal of intensity—

Sense of connection—Ability to relate effectively and comfortably to people, places,
and things

Sense of uniqueness—Respect for one’s own special characteristics

Sense of power—Ability to have control over one’s own life

Sense of models—Ability to refer to human, philosophical and operational models
to help make sense of the world

Gender stereotypes can have a negative influence on a person’s self-esteem. For example, if the family
or culture places a high value on strong, aggressive, and tough males, then a physically small and shy
boy may develop a low regard for his own special and unique characteristics. If a highly intelligent girl is
told that boys do not like smart girls she may decide not to study, or may leave school at an early age,
to relate more comfortably to those around her.
Children and young adults with strong self-esteem may be more empowered to advocate for their
own reproductive health needs and to follow healthy practices. In a recent study in Peru (Magnani et
al., 1999), youth of both sexes who felt important to or connected with their families were less likely
to have sex. In the same study, high self-esteem was an indication of delayed sexual activity among
girls, although for boys the effects of self- esteem were mixed. Parents and providers can learn
techniques for working with young people in ways that support the development of strong selfesteem.

19

Gender Debate
Time

30 - 50 minutes

Preparation
Write the following two
statements in large letters on large pieces of
paper.

Objective
By the end of this exercise,
participants will be able to describe the benefits and
disadvantages of having assigned gender roles within
their own society

Statement 1: “Gender roles in our society are
valuable, serve an important purpose, and should not change.”
Statement 2: “Gender roles in our society are prejudicial, limit individual growth, hurt the progress of our
society, and must be changed.”
Directions
1. On opposite sides of the room, hang a large sheet of paper with one of the two statements
written at the top.
Divide the class into two groups. Make sure there are both men and women in each group. Each group chooses
a recorder and a reporter.
Ask group one to identify key gender roles observed in their society and defend statement 1. Encourage the
group to include issues like access to health care, type and status of jobs, quality and quantity of educational
opportunities, etc.
Ask group two to also identify key gender roles seen in their society and defend statement 2.
If the group has difficulty getting started, you may wish to ask a couple of leading questions to start them off
such as the following.
Are men and women given the same respect when they seek medical care?
Are research dollars spent equally on male and female issues? Are complaints of symptoms considered equally?
Is access to care easy? Are there facilities and providers addressing male and female sexual dysfunction?
Is preventive care available, i.e., immunizations; health education; checks for breast, cervical, prostate and
testicular cancer; screening for hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol, etc.?
Do you see males and females offered the same opportunities?
Are there traditional occupations for the sexes? What happens if a child wants to work in an area traditionally
assigned to the other sex? For example, boys sewing? Girls farming? Boys nursing? Girls working as engineers?
Do men and women advance equally in large companies? In academic rank at universities? In military rank in
the armed forces?

20

Invite each group to defend their statement to the rest of the class. Following these two presentations,
discuss issues that arise. Possible discussion questions follow.
If we did not have clearly assigned gender roles, would our society be disorganized and unmanageable?
Would we have difficulty knowing what to expect from people?
Would children have less care? Would quality of education suffer?
How might society, organizations, and families be structured for more equitable gender roles?
Wrap-up

Summarize key points and close the activity with the following.

“Gender” is not a dirty word. Gender values and beliefs serve to help us organize our understanding of our
society. However, some gender values and beliefs can be limiting or unjust.
It is important to analyze our own society and our personal values regarding gender with the goal of
eliminating those values that are unfair or unjust.
The value we place on women and men or boys and girls affects how much we are willing to pay for their
health care, whether we immunize them, take them for care promptly when ill, offer the same nutritious
diet, value their reproductive role, etc.
Evaluation
Participants describe the benefits and disadvantages of having assigned gender roles during
the small group presentations and class discussion. This can also be measured on a pretest and posttest.

21

Personal Values Sentence Completion
Time

20 to 30 minutes

Preparation
Make sufficient copies of the
handouts “Male Sentence Completion” and “Female
Sentence Completion” so all participants have a
copy of both. This handout can also be given as a
homework assignment.

OBJECTIVES: BY THE END OF THE ACTIVITY,
PARTICIPANTS WILL—
INCREASE AWARENESS OF THEIR OWN VALUES
REGARDING GENDER ROLES AND WHETHER THEIR
OWN GENDER VALUES ARE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.
DESCRIBE HOW THEIR PERSONAL ATTITUDES AND
BELIEFS TOWARD GENDER MAY INFLUENCE THE
INTERACTIONS THEY HAVE WITH CLIENTS

Directions
1. The following activity helps men
and women learn about the pressures placed on
them by their culture to adopt certain attitudes. It
also helps them identity some of the origins of their attitudes regarding the opposite sex and reproductive
health.
Distribute the handout “Male Sentence Completion” to the men and the handout “Female Sentence
Completion” to the women. Ask participants to answer quickly with the first answer that occurs to them.
Depending on time available, pose several key sentences and obtain selected answers from the group. For
example, ask what the answers were to “Women seek medical care more often because ?”
Answers might include the following:
Women are responsible for taking children and elderly parents in for care.
Women become sick more often and need more treatment.
Women seek care more often––if they would just wait it out a while, the problem would disappear.
Women are neurotic.
Women’s bodies require more health maintenance at certain ages.
Women don’t seek care more often.
Ask the group which answers are biologically versus culturally based. Further discuss gender issues by
asking the following questions.
Are the attitudes we are expressing about ourselves positive or not?
What must we do to help people feel more positive about who they are?
How can we help people achieve better reproductive health?

After debriefing the participants, hand out the opposite sex’s questionnaire so that all participants have the
questions for both males and females.
22

Wrap-up

Close the activity with the following.

First, we evaluated gender issues universally. Then, we evaluated them through our own culture and society.
Now, we are evaluating them through our own personal values. By completing the open-ended questions on
the handout, we explore our own belief system and then examine how this system fits within society’s views,
may or may not promote individual growth, and how it may affect health practices, particularly reproductive
health issues.
We, as men and women, have different values. We, as individuals, have different views of the world and
different values.
To understand the differences in perception we have as individuals, good interpersonal communication is
essential.
It is important to review our beliefs and values from time to time to reduce gender discrimination and promote
equity, including money spent on reproductive health care, access to services, quality of services provided, etc.
Evaluation
During class discussion participants describe how their personal gender attitudes and beliefs
may influence the interactions they have with clients. On a self-assessment questionnaire, participants may
document whether they have experienced increased awareness of their own values regarding gender roles.

23

Handout
Male Sentence Completion

The best thing about being a man is

_____________________________________________________

A man would never let a woman see ________________________________________________________

A man would reject another man if ____________________________________________________________

A man would be praised by his parents if he ____________________________________________________

Boys cannot

_______________________________________________________________________

The parents of a boy let him _____________________________________________________________

Teachers expect boys to treat girls like ____________________________________________________

The health of men versus that of women is generally __________________________________________

Men’s bodies are better able to _____________________________________________________________

Men are fortunate in expressing their sexuality in that
Women really want men to

___________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

Men do not like ______________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
24

Women generally live longer than men do because

_____________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________
If I could do it all over again, I would be born a ______________

because _______________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
Women seek medical care more often because ___________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
If I could have only one child, I would like to have a ________________ because _______________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
When men go to a family planning clinic _________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
If a 25-year-old man has four children

__________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________
A man can protect his reproductive health by

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________

25

Handout
Female Sentence Completion

The best thing about being a woman is ___________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
A woman would never let a man see

___________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________
A woman would reject another woman if __________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
A woman would be praised by her parents if she _____________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Girls cannot

________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
The parents of a girl let her

___________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Teachers expect girls to treat boys like ____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
The health of women versus that of men is generally

_______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Women’s bodies are better able to

____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Women are fortunate in expressing their sexuality in that

________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Men really want women to

___________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Women do not like
26

_________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Women generally live longer than men do because

_______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
If I could do it all over again I would be born a ____________

because _________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Women seek medical care more often because ______________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
If I could have only one child, I would like to have a __________ because _________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
When women are having their menstrual bleeding they should ________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
If a 25-year-old woman has four children

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________
A woman can protect her reproductive health by

_______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Note to Trainers
We continue evaluating gender issues first universally, then through
one’s own culture and society, and now through one’s own personal
values. By completing the open ended questions on the handout,
participants explore their own belief system and examine how this
system fits within society’s views, may or may not promote
individual growth, and how it may impact on health practices,
particularly reproductive health issues.

27

Introduction to Sexuality
Materials: Board and chalk and newsprint and markers
Time: 15-20 minutes
Planning Notes:.
 Expect some laughing, teasing and acting out
behavior when you introduce the topic of
sexuality. Young people are not used to
discussing sexuality in a structured setting.
They may be uncomfortable and behave
inappropriately at times.

PURPOSE:
TO INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT OF
SEXUALITY AND PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO
IDENTIFY MESSAGES ABOUT SEXUALITY

 If you are using this program in a religious setting,
you may want to add or substitute 'What have you
learned about sexuality from our religions
teachings?"
Procedure:
1.

Explain that in the next sessions, the group will explore definitions of and messages about
sexuality. Acknowledge that it is normal for some teens to feel a little embarrassed or
uncomfortable. Point out that in our society, although we hear about sexuality all the time
in music, television programs and movies, people often do not have serious discussions
about the subject

2.

Write the word "sexuality'' on the board or newsprint Ask for definitions and write
the responses on the board or newsprint Avoid clarifying what sexuality is or is not

3.

Tell the teens they will work in groups to spend a few minutes thinking about what they
have heard about sexuality.

4.

Give the following instructions:
• You will divide into three groups. Each group will have a different assignment
• Group 1 will list what their parents have said about sexuality.
• Group 2 will list what their friends have said about sexuality.
• Group 3 will list what they have seen or heard about sexuality
through the entertainment media-movies, music, magazines and
television.
• Each group will share its finished list with the others.

5.

Clarify that it is okay to list whatever they have heard. There are no right or wrong answers
in this activity.

6. Have teens count off by three. Form groups in three different areas of the room.
28

7.

Give each group a marker and newsprint Assign "parents," "friends" or "media" to
each group. Tell teens they have five minutes to brainstorm, as discussed in Step 4.
Circulate and give suggestions to help groups start (For example, parents might say,
"Sex should wait for marriage;" friends might say,"Everyone is having sex;" a
common media message is,-''You'll·be sexier if you-use our product"·)

8.

9.

After five minutes, ask each group to post the newsprint and share its list of messages.

10. Conclude the activity using the Discussion Points.

Discussion Points:

29

1.

How are the messages from parents, friends and the media similar? Different? Why do you
think that is so?

2.

Which messages do you agree with? Disagree with?

3.

Can you think of any sexuality messages you have heard from other sources, such as
religious teaching, romantic partners or health teachers?

4.

If you were a parent, what is the most important sexuality message you would give your
child?

5.

Which of these messages might make a person feel uncomfortable talking or learning about
sexuality?

6.

Are there messages you think are incorrect and that you want more information about?

The Circles of Human Sexuality
Materials: Newsprint and markers, board and chalk,
one copy of the handout, Circles of Sexuality for
each participant, and the Leader's Resources, Circles
of Sexuality, An Explanation of the Circles of
Sexuality and Sexual Development through the Life
Cycle ; pens or pencils
Time: 45 minutes

Purpose: To develop and understand a broad
definition of sexuality

Planning Notes: Review the Leader's Resource, Circles of Sexuality, and draw a large version of it on newsprint
or the board.
Procedure:
1. Explain that when many people see the words "sex" or "sexuality," they most often think of sexual
intercourse. Others also think of other kinds of physical sexual activities. Tell the group that sexuality is
much more than sexual feelings or sexual intercourse. It is an important part of who every person is. It
includes all the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of being female or male, being attracted and attractive
to others, and being in love, as well as being in relationships that include sexual intimacy and physical
sexual activity.
2. Write sexuality on the board and draw a box around the letters s-e-x. Point out that s, e,and x are only
three of the letters in the word sexuality.
3. Display the five circles of sexuality and give each teen a handout. Explain that this way of looking at
human sexuality breaks it down into five different components: sensuality,intimacy, identity, behavior
and reproduction, and sexualization. Everything related to human sexuality will fit in one of these circles.
4. Beginning with the circle labeled sensuality, explain each circle briefly. Take five minutes to read the
definition of the circle aloud, point out its elements, and ask for examples of behaviors that would fit in
the circle. Write the examples in the circle and ask participants to write them on their handouts.
Continue with each circle until you have explained each component of sexuality.
5. Ask if anyone has any questions. Then conclude the activity using the discussion questions below.
Discussion Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

30

Which of the five sexuality circles feels most familiar? Least familiar? Why do
you think that is so?
Is there any part of these five circles that you never before thought of
as sexual? Please explain.
Which circle is most important for teens to know about? Least important?
Why?
Which circle would you feel interested in discussing with your parent(s)?
Which circle would you feel interested in talking about with someone you are
dating?

FACILITATOR’S RESOURCE

Circles of Sexuality
SENSUALITY
Awareness, acceptance of and comfort with one's own
body; physiological and psychological enjoyment of
one's own body and the bodies of others

The ability and need
to experience
emotional closeness to
another human being
and have it returned.

SEXUALIZATION
Body /image

The use of sexuality to
influence,control or
manipulate others.

INTIMACY

Human Sexual Response Cycle
Skin Hunger
Fantasy

Rape

Caring

Incest

Sharing

Sexual Harassment
Withholding Sex

Risk Taking

Seduction - Flirting

Vulnerability

Factual Information

Bias

Feelings & Attitudes

Gender Identity

Intercourse

Gender Role

Physiology and Anatomy of
Reproductive Organs

Sexual

Sexual Reproductive

Orientation

SEXUAL HEALTH AND REPRODUCTION
Attitudes and behaviors related to
producing children, care and maintenance
of the sex and reproductive organs, and
health consequences of sexual behavior.
31

Loving/Liking

SEXUAL IDENTITY
The development of a
sense of who one is
sexually, including a sense
of maleness and
femaleness.

Circles of Sexuality Explanation
Sexuality is much more than sexual feelings or sexual intercourse. It is an important part of who a
person is and what she or he will become. It includes all the feelings, thoughts and behaviors of
being female or male, being attractive and being in love, as well as being in relationships that
include sexual intimacy and physical sexual activity.
Circle 1:
SENSUALITY is awareness and feeling about your own body and other people's bodies, especially
the body of a sexual partner.
Sensuality enables us to feel good about how our bodies look and feel and what they can do.
Sensuality also allows us to enjoy the pleasure our bodies can give us and others.This part of our
sexuality affects our behavior in several ways:

Need to understand anatomy and physiology- with knowledge and understanding,
adolescents can appreciate the physiology of their bodies.·

Body image - whether we feel attractive and proud of our own bodies and the way they
function influences many aspects of our lives. Adolescents often choose media
personalities as the standard for how they should look, so they are likely to be
disappointed by what they see in the mirror. They may be especially dissatisfied
when the mainstream media does not portray positively, or at all, their types of
skin, hair, eyes, body sizes or other physical characteristics.

Experiencing pleasure and release from sexual tension - sensuality allows us to experience
pleasure when we or others touch certain parts of our bodies. As the culmination of
the sexual response cycle, males· and females can experience orgasm when they
masturbate or have a sexual experience with a partner.

Satisfying skin hunger- our need to be touched and held by others in loving, caring ways
is often referred to as skin hunger. Adolescents typically receive Jess touch from
family members than do young children. Therefore, many teens satisfy their skin
hunger through close physical contact with a peer. Sexual intercourse may result
from a teen's need to be held,rather than from sexual desire.

Feeling physical attraction for another person - the center of sensuality and attraction
to others is not in the genitals, but in the brain, the most important "sex organ."
The unexplained mechanism responsible for sexual attraction rests here.

Fantasy- the brain also gives us the capacity to have fantasies about sexual behaviors and
experiences. Adolescents often need help understanding that the sexual fantasies
they experience are normal, but do not have to be acted upon.

Circle 2:
32

SEXUAL INTIMACY is the ability and need to be emotionally close to another human being and
have that closeness returned.
Sharing intimacy is what makes personal relationships rich. While sensuality is about physical
closeness, intimacy focuses on emotional closeness. Several aspects of intimacy include:
 Liking or loving another person -having emotional attachments or connections to others is
a manifestation of intimacy.
 Emotional risk-taking- to have true intimacy with others, a person must open up and share
feelings and personal information. We take a risk when we share our thoughts and
emotions with others,but it is not possible to be really close to another person without
being honest and open with them.
As sexual beings, we can have intimacy with or without having sexual intercourse. In a full and
mature romantic relationship between two people, the expression of sexuality often includes
both intimacy and intercourse. Unfortunately,intimacy established through caring and good
communication is not always a part of adolescents' sexual experiences.
Circle 3:
SEXUAL IDENTITY is a person's understanding of who she or he is sexually, including the sense of
being male or female.
Sexual identity can be thought of as three interlocking pieces that, together,affect how
each person sees herself or himself. Each "piece" of sexual identity is important:
Gender identity- knowing whether you are male or female. Most young children determine
their gender by age two. Gender role -knowing what it means to be male or female, or what a
man
or woman can or cannot do because of their gender. Some things are determined by the way
male and female bodies are built. For example,only women menstruate and only men
produce sperm. Other things are culturally determined. In our culture only women wear
dresses to work, but in other cultures,men wear skirt-like outfits everywhere.
There are many "rules" about what men and women can/should do that have nothing to do
with the way their bodies are built This aspect of sexuality is especially important for young
adolescents to understand, since peer and parent pressures to be "macho" or "feminine"
increase at this age. Both boys and girls need help sorting out how perceptions about gender
roles affect whether they are encouraged or discouraged to make certain choices regarding
relationships, leisure activities, education and careers.
Sexual orientation- whether a person's primary attraction is to people of the same gender
(homosexuality), the other gender (heterosexuality) or both genders (bisexuality).

Sexual orientation generally begins to emerge by adolescence.

 Between 3 and 10 percent of the general population is believed to be exclusively
homosexual.
33

 Heterosexual, gay,lesbian and bisexual youth can all experience same-gender sexual activity
around puberty. Such behavior, including sex play with same-gender peers, crushes on
same-gender adults or sexual fantasies about people of the same gender are normal for
pre-teens and young teens and are not necessarily related to sexual orientation.
 Because of negative social messages, young adolescents who are experiencing sexual
attraction to, and romantic feelings for, someone of their own gender may need support
from adults who can help teens clarify their feelings and accept their sexuality.
Circle 4:
REPRODUCTION and SEXUAL HEALTH are the capacity to reproduce and the behaviors and
attitudes that make sexual relationships healthy, physically and emotionally.
Specific aspects of sexual behavior and reproduction that belong in this circle include:
 Factual information about reproduction is necessary to understand how male and female
reproductive systems work and how conception occurs. Adolescents typically have
inadequate information about their own or their partners' bodies. They need the
information that is essential for making informed decisions about sexual behavior and
health.
 Feelings and attitudes are wide-ranging when it comes to sexual behavior and reproduction,
especially health-related topics such as sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV infection)
and the use contraception, abortion and so on. Talking about these issues can increase
adolescents' self-awareness and empower them to make healthy decisions about their sexual
behavior.
 Sexual intercourse is one of the most common human behaviors, capable of producing
sexual pleasure and/or pregnancy. In programs for young adolescents, discussion of sexual
intercourse is often limited to male-female vaginal·intercourse,but all young people need
information about the three types of intercourse people commonly engage in - oral, anal
and vaginal.
 Contraceptive information describes all available contraceptive methods, how they work,
where to obtain them, their effectiveness and side effects.The use of latex condoms for
disease prevention must be stressed. Even if young peoplare not currently engaging in
sexual intercourse, they will in the future. They must know how to prevent pregnancy
and/or disease.
Circle 5:
SEXUALIZATION is using sex or sexuality to influence,manipulate·or control other people. Often
called the 41Shadow'' side of our sexuality, sexualization spans behaviors that range from

harmlessly manipulative to sadistically violent and illegal. Behaviors include flirting, seduction,
withholding sex from a partner to "punish" the partner or to get something you want, sexual
harassment (a supervisor demands sex for promotions or raises), sexual abuse and rape. Teens
need to know that no one should exploit them sexually.They need to practice skills to avoid or
fight against unhealthy sexualization should it occur in their lives.

34

Handout

35

Sexual Development through the Life Cycle
A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program
Leader's Resource for the Circles of Sexuality Lesson Plan
Many people cannot imagine that everyone—babies, children, teens, adults, and the elderly—are sexual
beings. Some believe that sexual activity is reserved for early and middle adulthood. Teens often feel that
adults are too old for sexual intercourse. Sexuality, though, is much more than sexual intercourse and humans
are sexual beings throughout life.
Sexuality in infants and toddlers—Children are sexual even before birth. Males can have erections while still
in the uterus, and some boys are born with an erection. Infants touch and rub their genitals because it
provides pleasure. Little boys and girls can experience orgasm from masturbation although boys will not
ejaculate until puberty. By about age two, children know their own gender. They are aware of differences in
the genitals of males and females and in how males and females urinate.
Sexuality in children ages three to seven—Preschool children are interested in everything about their world,
including sexuality. They may practice urinating in different positions. They are highly affectionate and enjoy
hugging other children and adults. They begin to be more social and may imitate adult social and sexual
behaviors, such as holding hands and kissing. Many young children play "doctor" during this stage, looking at
other children's genitals and showing theirs. This is normal curiosity. By age five or six, most children become
more modest and private about dressing and bathing.
Children of this age are aware of marriage and understand living together, based on their family experience.
They may role-play about being married or having a partner while they "play house." Most young children talk
about marrying and/or living with a person they love when they get older. School-age children may play sexual
games with friends of their same sex, touching each other's genitals and/or masturbating together. Most sex
play at this age happens because of curiosity.
Sexuality in preadolescent youth ages eight to 12—Puberty, the time when the body matures, begins
between the ages of nine and 12 for most children. Girls begin to grow breast buds and public hair as early as
nine or 10. Boys' development of penis and testicles usually begins between 10 and 11. Children become more
self-conscious about their bodies at this age and often feel uncomfortable undressing in front of others, even
a same-sex parent.
Masturbation increases during these years. Preadolescent boys and girls do not usually have much sexual
experience, but they often have many questions. They usually have heard about sexual intercourse, petting,
oral sex, and anal sex, homosexuality, rape and incest, and they want to know more about all these things.
The idea of actually having sexual intercourse, however, is unpleasant to most preadolescent boys and girls.
Same-gender sexual behavior is common at this age. Boys and girls tend to play with friends of the same
gender and are likely to explore sexuality with them. Masturbating with one's same-gender friends and
looking at or caressing each other's genitals is common among preadolescent boys and girls. Such same36

gender sexual behavior is unrelated to a child's sexual orientation.
Some group dating occurs at this age. Preadolescents may attend parties that have guests of both genders,
and they may dance and play kissing games. By age 12 or 13, some young adolescents may pair off and begin
dating and/or "making out."
Sexuality in adolescent youth (ages 13 to 19)—Once youth have reached puberty and beyond, they
experience increased interest in romantic and sexual relationships and in genital sex behaviors. As youth
mature, they experience strong emotional attachments to romantic partners and find it natural to express
their feelings within sexual relationships. There is no way to predict how a particular teenager will act sexually.
Overall, most adolescents explore relationships with one another, fall in and out of love, and participate in
sexual intercourse before the age of 20.
Adult sexuality—Adult sexual behaviors are extremely varied and, in most cases, remain part of an adult's life
until death. At around age 50, women experience menopause, which affects their sexuality in that their
ovaries no longer release eggs and their bodies no longer produce estrogen. They may experience several
physical changes. Vaginal walls become thinner and vaginal intercourse may be painful as there is less vaginal
lubrication and the entrance to the vagina becomes smaller. Many women use estrogen replacement therapy
to relieve physical and emotional side effects of menopause. Use of vaginal lubricants can also make vaginal
intercourse easier. Most women are able to have pleasurable sexual intercourse and to experience orgasm for
their entire lives.
Adult men also experience some changes in their sexuality, but not at such a predictable time as with
menopause in women. Men's testicles slow testosterone production after age 25 or so. Erections may occur
more slowly once testosterone production slows. Men also become less able to have another erection after an
orgasm and may take up to 24 hours to achieve and sustain another erection. The amount of semen released
during ejaculation also decreases, but men are capable of fathering a baby even when they are in their 80's
and 90's. Some older men develop an enlarged or cancerous prostate gland. If the doctors deem it necessary
to remove the prostate gland, a man's ability to have an erection or an orgasm is normally unaffected.
Recently, There are medications to help older men achieve and maintain erections.
Although adult men and women go through some sexual changes as they age, they do not lose their desire or
their ability for sexual expression. Even among the very old, the need for touch and intimacy remains,
although the desire and ability to have sexual intercourse may lessen.
Adapted from Life Planning Education, a comprehensive sex education curriculum. Washington, DC:
Advocates for Youth, 2007.

37

How do I relate to others

Values, Decision-making, Communication,
Assertiveness, Negotiation, Sexual Abuse,
Assault, Violence and Harassment
VALUES AND SEXUALITY
Agenda:

Session objectives:
Define and explore personal values about relationships
and sexuality.
Demonstrate the range of sexual values among
individuals.
Understand how sexual values influence decision
making.

opening activity, icebreaker or discussion (10
minutes)
defining personal values (30 minutes)
Values auction (30 minutes)
values voting (35 minutes)
values and sexuality (20 minutes)
closing activity or discussion and evaluations (15 minutes) Total Time: two and a half hours

38

DEFINING PERSONAL VALUES AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES
HOW DO THEY APPLY TO OUR SEXUALITY?
Structure:
Time:
Materials:

large group discussion
30 minutes
flipchart, markers

Procedure:
Write a definition of personal values - things or qualities
a person thinks are important – on the flipchart.

OBJECTIVE: PARTICIPANTS WILL DEFINE
PERSONAL AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND
EXAMINE HOW THEY CAN BE APPLIED TO
SEXUALITY ISSUES

Write a definition of democratic values – agreed upon principles or concepts that are promoted in Guyanese
society – on the flipchart.
Ask participants to give some examples of personal values (ex: loyalty, intelligence, dedication, attractiveness,
etc.) and democratic values (ex: fairness, equality, justice, respect for others, etc.) Note: there may be some
overlap between personal and democratic values.
Ask participants to discuss where they learn their personal and democratic values (ex: family, media, religion,
friends).
Point out that, since we all learn our values from different sources, different people will have different values.
In a democratic society, people respect everybody’s right to have his/her own values. However, to live
together in a free and fair society, we use basic democratic values like equality, justice, responsibility and
respect as guidelines for how our society is organized and how people treat each other.
Ask participants to give examples of how democratic values such as honesty, equality, respect and
responsibility apply to sexuality and interpersonal relationships. Following are some examples:
being honest about your feelings (eg: not deceiving a person about your feelings to get something from them)
having an equal relationship (eg: giving each person in a relationship an equal say in decisions about the
relationship, including sexual behaviour)
respecting the rights of others (ex: treating everybody with equal fairness whether they are male, female, gay,
lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual etc.; respecting the right of a partner to say no to sex)
taking responsibility for myself and others (eg: always using condoms if I have sex)
Conclude the discussion by suggesting that participants can keep these ideas about personal values and
democratic values in mind as the group moves on to explore choices, relationships and behaviour related to
sexuality and sexual health

39

VALUES AUCTION
Time: 30 minutes
Materials: Values for Auction list, play money,
flipchart, markers, index cards

Objective:
Participants will prioritize their values.

Procedure:
Before the session write the list of Values for
Auction on the flipchart.
Introduce Values for Auction by explaining that you have a list of values that are important to some people.
Read the values you have posted on the flipchart and ask participants to add others.
Explain the auction process. Give each participant $300 in play money. Tell the group you are going to auction
off the values on the list. Give the following instructions:
Use your money to buy the values most important to you.
You must bid at least $20 or a multiple of $20 for each bid.
Once you have spent your $300, you are out of the auction.
Open the bidding. Award each value to the highest bidder by giving her/him the index card with the value
written on it. Record the amount paid for each value on the flipchart. After the auction, identify the values
that received the highest bids.
Lead a discussion, using the following questions as a guide:
How did you decide which values to bid on?
What value did you really want that you were not able to buy? Point out that
in the real world, people can have any values they want because values are not for sale.
What were the top five values?
Which values seemed less important?
Which of these values would you want to pass on to your children? What process
would you use to teach your children your values?
How were your values communicated to you as a child?
Conclude by pointing out how understanding our values and what’s important to us is an
integral part of decision making and fostering healthy behaviour.

40

Values For Auction List
being a good friend to others
being well liked and popular
being good looking
having a well-toned, fit body
being honest
having money and nice clothes
being with someone I love
saving sex until marriage or a lifetime commitment
respecting others in relationships
feeling good about myself
being comfortable with my sexual orientation (gay, bisexual, heterosexual)
accepting people who are different from me
having a close relationship with my family
practising my religion or spirituality
having the freedom to make my own decisions
enjoying lifelong health
giving back to the community/helping others
fighting to right the wrongs in our society

41

VALUES VOTING
Structure:

large group activity

Time:

35 minutes

Materials:

Values Statements list, three
signs: AGREE, DISAGREE,
NEUTRAL, masking tape

Objective:
Participants will explore their values
regarding relationships and sexuality.

Procedure: Post the three signs around the room leaving enough space for participants to gather beneath
them.
Choose six to eight of the statements from the Values Statements list.
Explain the exercise is designed to explore personal values, and give the following directions:
“I will read several statements to you, one at a time. Most of the statements are about relationships, dating
and sexual behaviour.”
“Go and stand under the sign that represents your response to the statement: AGREE, NEUTRAL, DISAGREE.”
“When everyone is standing where they want to be, I’ll ask volunteers to explain their positions.”
Note: If participants are all standing under one sign, explore the position that is not expressed.
If necessary, give some of the beliefs from that point of view. Tell participants that they can
benefit from being exposed to all points of view and will be better prepared to respond when
someone challenges their values.
Read the first statement and ask everyone to take a position under a sign. Ask volunteers to explain why they
have chosen to stand where they are. Congratulate those willing to stand alone.
When the first statement has been fully discussed, go on to the next one. Pacing is important. Don’t drag out
the discussion; make sure most points of view have been heard.
End with these discussion questions:
How easy was it to vote on these values?
Which statements were the hardest for you? Why?
If your parents or partner voted on these statements, would their votes be similar to, or different from,
those of this group?
What happens when your values are different from those of your client?
What is one thing you learned about your own values from this activity?
What did you learn about the values in this group?

Conclude by pointing out how understanding our values, even when they differ from the majority, is an
integral part of decision making and fostering healthy behaviour. As health counsellors, it is important for us
to be aware of our values and how they may affect us in our role.
42

Values Statements
1. Most young people, 13 or younger, are too young to date.
2. Women who dress in sexy or provocative clothing are asking to be sexually harassed.
3. Gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers should be allowed to take their same-sex partners to school
dances and other social functions.
4. It’s okay for two people of different races to date.
5. Using birth control is primarily the responsibility of the woman in a relationship.
6. Men only need to use condoms when they’re having sex with someone who has had many sexual
partners.
7. It is irresponsible for a person to have sex without using protection from pregnancy and STIs.
8. Having sex with someone you don’t really care about is wrong.
9. A girl who carries condoms in her purse is probably “easy.”
10. Choosing not to have sex is the best choice for teenagers.
11. Adolescents are too young to decide how to deal with pregnancy on their own.
12. Teenagers are too young to be good parents.
13. There should be more restrictions on sexual images, language and soliciting on the Internet.
14. Women who continue to have multiple abortions are irresponsible.

43

Why Fairness Matters
OBJECTIVES: to help students
understand the importance of
fairness and the connection
between fairness and human
rights; to strengthen analytic
and writing skills.

OVERVIEW: Students think about the
issue of fairness by responding to
quotations from prominent people.

DURATION:
Steps 1–2: 15 minutes (may be assigned
as homework the day before Step 3)
Steps 3–7: 40 minutes

MATERIALS:

INSTRUCTIONS
Explain that these quotes are from prominent
people around the world. Have students read the quotes aloud, one at a
time. Do not discuss the quotes at this time.

Fairness is what justice really is.

Board + chalk

Women are not dying because of diseases we cannot treat, they are dying because societies have
yetto make the decision that their lives areworth saving.

TO PREPARE:

The futurewillbeshapedby ourfairness toother people’s children.

review the quotations. if you
have access to a photocopy
machine, produce copies of
all of the quotes for each
student. if not, write

Be kind, for everyone you meet in life is fighting a great battle.

all of the quotes on the
board before class. Decide
whether to assign Steps 1–
2 as homework prior to
conducting Step 3.

Live so that when other people think of fairness and respect, they think of you.

2

Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they’refairwithyou.
Fairness puts the twinkle in the stars.

In our hearts and in our laws, we must treat all our people with fairness and dignity, regardless
of their race, gender, age, political beliefs, or religion.

Read the following instructions to your students:

Pick a quote that inspires you.
Write at least one page about what you think it means and why it “speaks to you” or inspires you.
Include an example from your own life, or from something that happened in your community or elsewhere
where this message would have been helpful. It might be an example from a time when you were mistreated
or a time when you did not treat someone else fairly or witnessed an interaction between other people.
How could the message from this quote have been helpful?
You will have a chance later to read your work to the rest of the group, but you will not be required to do so.
Does anyone have a question about the assignment?

44

Introduction to Human Rights
OVERVIEW: Students develop a list of rights they
would want for an imaginary new country and
compare their list with the Universal Declaration
of human rights. they also interview adults about
their understanding of the term “human rights.”

DURATION:

TO PREPARE:

Steps 1–2: 40 minutes

this activity should be conducted after students have explored

Steps 3–5: 45 minutes

MATERIALS:
Board+chalk; at least one
her sheet: “the Universal
Declaration of human
rights.”

OBJECTIVES: to enable students to describe the
concept of human rights and be able to name
several basic human rights; to strengthen
abstract thinking skills.

1

the values reflected in human rights, such as equality and nondiscrimination. review the Universal Declaration of human rights, and be
sure that you understand the meaning of each right.

INSTRUCTIONS

Divide students into groups of four or five individuals. Tell students:

2

You will be settling a new island that has everything necessary for sustaining human life. No one has
ever lived there, so no laws and no history exist.
You must draw up a list of ten human rights that will automatically apply to every person on this
island.

3

None of you knows what your position, gender, ethnicity/race, class, or sexual orientation will be. You
have ten minutes to write your list.

4

5

Have each group present its list. Compile a unified “group list” that includes all of the rights mentioned.
Introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Explain that it is a list of rights for
everyone in the world. Ask each person to read one “Article” aloud. After reading the last of the articles,
ask if anyone has a question about any of them.
Ask students to return to their small groups for ten minutes to consider:
What are some of the similarities between our list and the UDHR list?
Which rights from the Universal Declaration did we fail to include?
Do we want to add any more rights to our list? Were any rights on the group list not included in the
Universal Declaration?
Bring the groups back together and review their responses to the questions under Step 4. Ask how
important is it to have a universally agreed-upon list of human rights that apply to every person.
Homework: Interview two adults, asking them
“What does the term ‘human rights’ mean to you? Can you give me at least one example of a human
rights issue you have heard about?” Write down what issue the person talked to you about, what you
learned, and something that you think might be done to address the issue.

45

INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS
The universal declaration of human rights in simple language

Handout

The following list explains each human right in simple language.
For the official text in english, see <www.ohchr.org/en/UDhr/Pages/Language.aspx?LangiD=eng>.
ARTICLE1:

When children are born, they are free, and each should be treated in the same way. They have

reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a friendly manner.

ARTICLE2:

Everyone can claim the following rights, regardless of his or her:
• gender;
• skin color;
• language;
• political beliefs;
• r eligion;
• wealth or poverty;
social group;

• country of birth; and
• country’s status as independent or not.

ARTICLE3:

You have the right to live and to live in freedom and safety.

ARTICLE4:

Nobody has the right to treat you as his or her slave, and you should not make anyone your
slave.

ARTICLE5:

Nobody has the right to torture you.

ARTICLE 6:
ARTICLE7:

You should be legally protected in the same way everywhere and in the same way everyone else is
protected.
The law is the same for everyone; it should be applied in the same way to all.

ARTICLE8:

You should be able to ask for legal help when the rights your country grants you are not respected.

ARTICLE9:

Nobody has the right to put you in prison, to keep you there, or to send you away from your
country unjustly or without a good reason.

ARTICLE 10:

If you must go on trial, the trial should be conducted in public. The people who try you should not
let themselves be influenced by others.

ARTICLE 11:

You should be considered innocent until you are proved guilty. If you are accused of a crime, you
should always have the right to defend yourself. Nobody has the right to condemn you or punish
you for something you have not done.

ARTICLE 12:

You have the right to ask to be protected if someone tries to harm your good name, enter your
house, open your mail, or bother you or your family without a good reason.

ARTICLE 13:

You have the right to come and go as you wish within your country. You have the right to leave
your country to go to another one; and you should be able to return to your country if you
want.

46

ARTICLE 14:

If someone hurts you, you have the right to seek asylum (safe haven) in another country. You may
lose this right if you have committed a serious violation of human rights.

ARTICLE 15:

You have the right to belong to a country, and nobody can prevent you, without a good reason,
from belonging to another country if you wish.

ARTICLE 16:

As soon as a person is legally entitled to do so, he or she has the right to marry and have a family.
Neither the color of your skin, nor the country you come from, nor your religion should be
impediments to doing this. Men and women have the same rights when they are married and
also when they are separated. Nobody should force a person to marry. The government of your
country should protect your family and its members.

ARTICLE 17:

You have the right to own things, and nobody has the right to take these from you without a good
reason.

ARTICLE 18:

You have the right to profess your religion freely, to change it, and to practice it on your own or
with others.

ARTICLE 19:

You have the right to think what you want and to say what you like, and nobody should forbid
you from doing so. You have a right to share your ideas with anyone — including people from
any other country.

ARTICLE 20:

You have the right to organize peaceful meetings or to take part in meetings in a
peaceful way. No one has the right to force you to belong to a group.

ARTICLE 21:

You have the same right as anyone else to take part in your country’s political affairs. You may
do this by belonging to the government yourself or by choosing politicians who have the same
ideas as you do. Governments should be elected regularly, and voting should be secret. You
should be allowed to vote, and all votes should be counted equally.

ARTICLE 22: The society in which you live should help you to develop and to make the most of all the
advantages (culture, work, social welfare) that are offered to you and to everyone in your
country.
ARTICLE 23:

ARTICLE 24:

ARTICLE 25:

47

You have the right to work, to be free to choose your work, and to receive a salary that allows
you to live and support your family. If a man and a woman do the same work, they should
get the same pay. All people who work have the right to join together to protect and defend
their interests.
Workdays should not be very long, because everyone has the right to rest and should be
able to take regular paid holidays.
You have the right to have whatever you need so that you and your family do not become ill;
do not go hungry; have clothes and a house; and receive help if you are out of work, if you are
ill, if you are old, if your wife or husband is dead, or if you are unable to earn a living for any
other reason that you cannot help. Both a mother who is going to have a baby and her baby
should get special help. Every child has the same rights as every other child, whether or not
its mother is married.

ARTICLE26:

You have the right to go to school; everyone should be able to go to school. Primary schooling should
be free. You should be able to learn a profession or skill or continue your studies as far as you wish. At
school, you should be able to develop all your talents. You should be taught to get along with others,
whatever their race, religion, or background. Your parents have the right to choose how and what you
are taught at school.

ARTICLE 27:

You have the right to share in your community’s arts and sciences, and in any good they do. Your works
as an artist, a writer, or a scientist should be protected, and you should be able to benefit from them.

ARTICLE28:

To ensure that your rights are respected, an “order” must be established that can protect them.
This “order” should be local and worldwide.

ARTICLE29:

You have duties toward your community. The law should guarantee your human rights. It should
allow everyone to respect others and to be respected.

ARTICLE 30:

No society and no human being in any part of the world should act in such a way as to destroy the
rights that are listed here.

48

Power, Privilege, and Equality
OVERVIEW: Students identify and reflect on
the relationship between social power and
the experience of privilege or discrimination.
DURATION:
45 minutes
MATERIALS:
Board+chalk
TO PREPARE:
add any groups to the list on the right that
may be relevant to your particular
community. Complete Step 1 before the
session begins.

OBJECTIVES: to enable students to discuss power
arrangements in society, to identify how holding
power relates to the experience of privilege,
discrimination, and oppression, and to relate these
issues to their own lives; to strengthen analytic and

Groups that tend to have unequal power in society:
Rich people / Poor people
Men / Women
Heterosexual / Homosexual Boss / Worker
Politician / Community member
Citizen / Refugee
People without disabilities / People with disabilities
Majority ethnic groups / Minority ethnic groups
Majority religious groups / Minority religious groups
People considered attractive / People considered
unattractive

INSTRUCTIONS
1

Draw a chart with two columns on the board.
Label the first column “greater power/privilege” and the second column “less power/privilege.”
Explain that students will be discussing concepts of power, privilege, and equality in their own lives,
and in society.

2

From the list entitled “Groups that tend to have unequal power in society,” read the first example (rich
people and poor people).

3

Ask: Which group goes in the “greater power”
column? Which in the “less power” column? Remind students that these characterizations are not
uniformly true or absolute.
Record students’ answer in the appropriate column.

4 Go through the rest of the list, entering their responses in each column. (For ethnic, racial, and religious groups you may wish to mention the name of the specific groups in your area.)

5

Ask:


49

Look at the list of groups that tend to have more privilege in society. Can you find a group in
this list that you identify with personally? Do you agree that this group generally enjoys more
power in the society? Write a few sentences describing an experience you had or heard about
that illustrates this power difference. [Allow3–5 minutesfor students to write.]
Look at the list of groups that often have fewer privileges. See if you also identify personally
with any of these groups. Do you agree that the group you chose tends to have fewer
privileges? Write a paragraph describing an experience you had or heard about that
illustrates this power difference. [Allow 3–5 minutes for students to write.]
Raise your hand if you found that you identified with at least one group on each list. Do
most of us know what it is like to enjoy greater privilege AND to have less privilege?


6

Ask for a few volunteers to read their anecdotes about being in a group with less power or privilege.
(Do not pressure anyone to read.)
Discuss as follows (take 1–2 responses per question):

7


What do you notice about the treatment that people in less privileged groups receive?
[Probe for: those without power are often discriminated against or oppressed.]

What emotions can this treatment lead to among people with less power? [List these emotions
on theboard.Be sure they are emotion words,not descriptions of what happened.]

What do you notice about the feelings or emotions listed?

8

9

Go back to the two lists, and ask:
Think about the concept of equality. Take the first pair (rich and poor people), for example. How might
you complete the sentence: “Equality between rich and poor people ___________________”
What comes to your mind? [There is no single correct response.]

Who can complete the same equality sentence for another pair of groups? Try to use different
words or even develop another idea. [Repeat for several pairs, as time allows.]

Who remembers the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? [Note: It
is the right to equality. Write the first article on the board: “All human beings are born free and equal in
dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a
spirit of brotherhood.”]

Close with discussion of the following question (or simply encourage students to ponder the question as
they leave class):
What must happen for everyone to enjoy equality andthe right todignity?
Homework: Respond in writing to the question:
What might you be able to do in your own daily life to promote greater equality and acknowledge each person’s
dignity?

50

Case studies concerning sexual and reproductive rights

OVERVIEW: Students examine and discuss true stories
involving violations of sexual or reproductive rights.

DURATION:

OBJECTIVES: to enable students to describe how intimate
relationships and sexuality are affected by our ability to
exercise our human rights; to strengthen critical
thinking skills.

40–60 minutes, depending on whether two or three
case studies are analyzed

MATERIALS:
Board+chalk; a copy of each case study that you will use. You may want to put Part one on one side of the paper and
Part two on the other side.

TO PREPARE:
This activity should be presented after students have been introduced to the idea of sexual and reproductive rights.
Select three case studies from the next page, or use cases from your country. Write Step 2 questions on the board
ahead of time.

INSTRUCTIONS
1

2

Today we are going to discuss true stories about sexual and reproductive rights. Ask a volunteer to
read aloud Part One of Alicja’s story. Read Part One of the story only.
After Part One has been read, ask students to write responses to the following questions in their notebooks.
Read the questions aloud from the board:



3
4

How does this case make you feel?
What sexual or reproductive rights relate to this case?
Do you think this represents a human rights violation? Why?
Who is responsible? List everyone who bears some responsibility for what happened.

For each question, ask one or two volunteers to read their answers and then ask for comments.
Have the original reader read Part Two (“What Happened?”). Then discuss:


How do you feel about the outcome?
How might the case have been different if the victim had been wealthy (or male, or
heterosexual)?
What attitudes must be changed to protect this sexual right?

5

Repeat these steps for each case study in your lesson. (Allow ten minutes per case.)

6

After completing all of the case studies, conclude the lesson by asking:



51

Do you know of similar cases that have happened here? Which rights were violated?
Have you heard of any other kinds of sexual rights violations in our country or in other
places?
What must be done to stop such violations?
What conclusion can we draw about the relationship between human rights and our
intimate, romantic, and sexual lives? [Ask for ideas, write the conclusion on the board.]

Handout

Alicia
Part One: Alicia’s Story: When Alicia, a Polish woman
with vision problems since childhood, became
pregnant, she was advised by numerous doctors that
her pregnancy and delivery posed the risk of
irreversible eye damage. By law, Poland allows
women to have abortions when their health is in
danger. However, the doctors refused to issue Alicia a
certificate authorizing an abortion, so she was left
with no choice but to carry her pregnancy to term.

Part Two: What Happened to Alicia? The birth
resulted in further deterioration of Alicia’s eyesight.
She became unable to work, dependent on assistance
for day-to-day activities and childcare, and wholly
reliant on public assistance. Alicia’s case was taken to
the European Court of Human Rights, which found
that governments have a duty to establish effective
mechanisms for ensuring that women have access
to abortion where it is legal. The court awarded her
significant financial damages in recognition of her
“anguish and suffering.”

Amina
Part One: Amina’s Story: Amina was a divorced
Nigerian mother of three. After she had been
dating Mohammed for 11 months, he asked her
to have sex with him, promising to marry her. She
agreed and became pregnant. Mohammed,
however, did not marry her, and she gave birth to
a baby daughter out of wedlock. She was charged
with adultery under religious law. Mohammed
swore that he was not the father and was allowed
to go free, but Amina was convicted of adultery
and sentenced to death by stoning. She appealed
but the verdict was upheld. Her execution was
deferred for two years so that she could nurse her
baby.
Part Two: What Happened to Amina? Following
another appeal, Amina was acquitted and the
verdict of death by stoning was revoked. The judges
agreed that she had not had sufficient opportunity
to defend her case. The government denies that
she had been condemned to be stoned to death.
She has since remarried.

Lakshmi
Part One: Lakshmi’s Story: Lakshmi, a young girl from Nepal, was forced into marriage at the age of 12 and was
exploited at her husband’s house. Unable to bear her situation, she escaped and returned to her parents’
home, but her parents forced her to go back to her marital home. “On the way, I managed to escape, and a
kind lady helped me,” Lakshmi said. “She said her sister was working for a factory in another part of Nepal and
I could join and all that needed to be done was to sell the clothes from the factory.” On the way, Lakshmi was
drugged and taken to India. Lakshmi said, “It was then that I learned that I was sold for 15,000 Indian rupees. I
was beaten when I refused to be a sex worker. For one year I was trapped in the brothel. Later the police
raided the brothel and I was rescued and sent back to Nepal. By then I was 14 years old.”

Part Two: What Happened to Lakshmi? Upon Lakshmi’s return her parents refused to accept her. She

later married but has tested positive for HIV. Whether she contracted the virus when she was forced into sex
work or after marrying is not clear.
52

Fatima
Part One: Fatima’s Story: Fatima, an 11-year-old West
African girl, overheard her parents discussing her
circumcision. She was frightened because she
remembered how her elder sister had returned from
the ceremony — in pain and miserable. She thought
also about her best friend, who had been in and out
of the local clinic with severe infections caused by her
circumcision. She did not want to experience what
she saw the other young girls around her go through,
and she begged her parents not to force her to be
circumcised. They were reluctant to listen to their
daughter because they believed she would be
unmarriageable if she were not circumcised, and they
did not think the choice should be made by someone
so young and inexperienced. Fatima’s sister, however,
had heard of an organization in town that worked to
educate local families about the dangers and health
risks of female genital mutilation (FGM). She asked a
member from the organization to her family’s hut to
speak with her parents about Fatima’s situation.
Part Two: What Happened to Fatima: The aid worker
convinced Fatima’s parents that circumcision was
dangerous to their young daughter’s health and that
there were other ways to mark the important rite of
her passage into womanhood. Today Fatima is happily
married and grateful that her parents were so openminded. She works for the same organization that
helped her avoid FGM, educating girls in school about
how to talk to their parents about circumcision.

53

Handout

Matthew
Part One: Matthew’s Story: Matthew was a
homosexual university student in the United
States. One night, two young men pretended to be
gay and offered him a ride home from a bar.
Matthew went with them and they took him to a
remote area, robbed him, tied him to a fence, beat
him brutally with a gun, and tortured him. They
left him there to die. Matthew was found 18 hours
later, still tied to the fence, by a cyclist, who first
thought that he was a scarecrow. Matthew was still
alive, but in a coma.

Part Two: What Happened to Matthew?

Matthew’s skull was shattered and his brain
severely damaged. His injuries were too severe for
doctors to repair. He never regained consciousness
and died five days later. The murderers were
arrested, and each eventually received two
consecutive life sentences. Matthew’s story drew
national attention to hate crimes. A law was
passed in Matthew’s name that extends hatecrimes legislation to include hate crimes against
gays and lesbians, women, and people with
disabilities.
Matthew’s mother established the Matthew
Shepard Foundation, which seeks to “replace hate
with understanding, compassion, and acceptance”
through education, outreach, and advocacy.

Talking with adults about sex

Activity: Picture code

1

Show the picture on the next page. Ask:

4

▲ What do you see happening in the
picture?

▲ Why do you think some parents get
angry if their children ask them
about sex?

▲ Who are the boy and the older man?
▲ What do you think the boy is thinking
and feeling?

▲ Why do parents and children find it
difficult to talk about sexual things
with each other?

▲ What do you think the man is thinking
and feeling?

2

▲ Do you think we should try to change
the way that parents talk to their
children about sexuality?

Ask the group to act some role-plays to
show what might happen next. Ask:

▲ What will the boy say? What will the
man say?

▲ Is it better to talk with other people
we feel comfortable with and help
them to talk with us in the best
possible way?

▲ What is the worst thing that might
happen?
▲ What is the best thing that might
happen?

3

54

Ask the girls to role-play what might
happen if a girl showed the condom to
her mother.

After the role-plays, ask:

5

Ask people to make a plan to help young
people and parents or other adults to
communicate better about growing up
and sexuality.

Talking with adults about sex
Activity: Picture code

55

Aims

Shall we have sex or not?

▲ To think about the good and bad things about having
sexual intercourse at this time in our lives.
▲ To make good decisions about our sexual lives.

Group
10-24 years. Mixed males and females.
It may be best to separate boys and girls
and then bring them together to share
their ideas.

Activity

1

Make sure that both boys and girls think
carefully about their answers to the
questions. Remember that both boys
and girls can get STIs, including HIV, or be
reinfected with HIV.

Ask for two people to play the role of a boy
and girl who are thinking about whether to
have sex or not. Make one of them the same
age and sex as the group members.

Time 1 hour

Key facts
▲ Many young people have sex

2

without thinking carefully about the
results.
▲ Young people often do not make a
decision to have sex. It just ‘happens’
to them in an unplanned way.
▲ Sex is a very powerful feeling and can
overcome people’s common sense.
▲ Some young people are forced into sex
against their will.
▲ It is very important that young
people learn to make strong
decisions on whether to have sex or
not; to say the real ‘No’ and the real
‘Yes’ when it is right for them.
▲ Young people may decide to have sex
for a number of reasons, including
love, desire, power, money or to be
part of a group.

56

3

4

5

Give the pair names. Ask them to leave the group
and get into their roles. They should agree on
their past, how long they have known each other,
how and where they are together and how they
feel about each other.
Put the rest of the group into pairs and tell them
to imagine that they are thinking about having sex
with someone. Tell them to talk about what
questions they would need to answer to make a
good decision.
Tell them to remember their questions so that
they can put them to the boy and girl who are
making the decision.
Invite the couple to join the group. Explain that
the group members are going to help them to
make a decision on whether to have sex or not by
asking them some questions.

6

Ask the couple to introduce themselves, giving
only their names.

7

Then ‘hot-seat’ them, asking them to stay in role
while the questions are asked.

8

Tell people to make sure that they ask questions to
both the boy and the girl, because they should
make the decision together.

Shall we have sex or not?
9

Do you want to have a child with this
person? Does he or she want to have a
child with you?

Tell people to take care that they ask
open questions that do not tell the couple
the answers that they want to hear. Tell
them not to ask moral questions.

If you don’t want a child, what will you do to
avoid pregnancy?

For example, don’t ask: ‘Don’t you
think that it is wrong to have sex before
marriage?’ Instead ask: ‘What do you think
about having sex before marriage?’

Methods of avoiding pregnancy can fail. If
this happens, what will you do?

Tell them to try to ask questions that follow
on from the question the person before
them asked. For example: ‘Do you want to
have a child with this person?’
If the answer is no, ask: ‘What are you
going to do to prevent pregnancy if you
have sex?’

10

How would your life change if you have to
bring up a child at this time?
Will you share the responsibility?
Could you have a safe abortion if you
wanted it?
Could either of you have HIV or
another STI?

When people have asked all the questions
that they can think of, ask any of the
following questions that they have left out
(or give them to members of the group to
ask):

What will you do to protect yourself from
this possibility?

11
Why are you thinking of having
sex with this person?
If you do have sex, what will be
your reasons for doing it?
Do you want to have sex with this
person? Does he or she make you
feel sexy? How do you know this?
Have you talked with this person
about having sex?
Will you be able to have sex in a
private place and have enough time
to enjoy it?
Are you high from drinking alcohol
or using drugs?
If so, would you still want to have

57

12
13

When they have answered all the
questions, ask the couple to go away for
five minutes and decide whether to have
sex or not. Ask them to weigh up
the good points about having sex and the
bad points, and see which one weighs
heavier.
Ask the group to vote on whether they
think the couple should have sex or not.
Invite the couple back to give their
decision and the reasons for it. Tell them
how the group voted.
Ask:

14

▲ What are the good and bad points
about the decision?
Ask people what they learned from the

15 activity and summarise.

Saying ‘No’ to sex until I’m ready

NO

Aims

▲ To look at ways to keep to our decision
to say ‘No’ to sex.

▲ To practise saying strongly that we do not
want to have sex.

Group `10–24 years. Mixed males and females.
Time 1 hour

Key facts
▲ Abstinence means not having sexual intercourse. Sexual
intercourse is when a man puts his penis in a woman’s
vagina or into the anus.
Good points about saying ‘No’ to sex
▲ We can wait to have sex in a loving relationship
with someone we trust.
▲ If we wait until we are ready, our first sex will be better
because we will be prepared and can enjoy it in a
good way.
▲ We will not be in danger of being forced, badly
treated or used.
▲ Saying ‘No’ to sex is the only 100% safe way of
protecting ourselves from
pregnancy and STIs, including HIV and HIV reinfection.
Condoms are around 90% safe if used correctly and
every time you have sex. They can sometimes break
and no contraceptive is 100% safe. If we say ‘No’ to
sex, we will not have any worries about these
problems.
▲ If we value sex as something to only be done in
marriage (or with a person whom you plan to marry),
we will feel happy with ourselves for keeping to our
values.
▲ If our friends and parents value sex as something to do
only in marriage, they will think we are good people.
▲ We may have more time and energy for education
and skills training.

58

Possible bad points about abstinence
▲ We miss the enjoyment of sex.
▲ We may miss chances to get close to a young
man or woman who will make a good future
partner.
▲ Young women may not get help with money to
pay school or training fees or start work.
▲ We may feel sad and left out if all our friends
are having sex and we are not.
▲ We may feel that we are not giving enough love to
our boyfriend or girlfriend and we are hurting their
feelings.
▲ Our peers may insult us.
▲ Young men may see girls who refuse sex as a
challenge and force them to have sex.
▲ We may feel bad because our body wants to have
sex and we are not allowing it.
▲ We may feel that we are not yet grown up.

Ways to avoid sexual intercourse
▲ Saying ‘No’ to sex requires motivation, making a
stand and skill. We can practise these skills
through role-play.
▲ People have sex for different reasons, so they
need different ways to avoid sex.
▲ Find a safe place to talk, where you won’t feel like
getting romantic.
▲ Say, ‘I want to talk to you now, before we go too
far.’

Saying ‘No’ to sex until I’m ready
Activity
Saying ‘No’ to sex assertively

1

2

Come on. You
Know you want to.

Tell the group to imagine that they have
decided that they want to say ‘No’ to sex.
Tell them to think of all the places and
situations where they might be in danger of
having sex because someone is proposing
them.
Divide the group into pairs. Give each pair
two of the situations to role-play. Start with
the first situation. One person should try to
persuade the other one to have sex, using
any ways they wish. The person who wants
to say ‘No’ should use strong ways to keep
to his or her decision to abstain.

3

The pairs now change over and role- play
the second situation, with the person who
wanted to abstain playing the one who
wants to have sex, and vice versa. This
allows them both to practice being strong in
saying no.

4

5

Bring everyone together and watch some of
the role-plays, choosing different situations.
For example, the female wants to have sex
and the male does not, and vice versa;
people of different ages; the pair love each
other, or they have just met, or money is
offered.
Ask:
▲ Which ways worked well to keep to your
decision about delaying sex?
▲ Which ways used by the proposer were
diffi cult to resist?
▲ Which were the best ways to resist
them?

6

59

Ask what people have learned from
the activity and summarise.

Listen to me. I
said ‘No’. I do not
want to. I feel
happy to talk and
cuddle, but if this
is not OK with you,
I’m going home.

Saying ‘No’ to sex until I’m ready
Divide people into single sex groups. Ask them to talk about how
people of their sex are expected to behave about sex. For example:
▲ Should girls ask boys for sex?
▲ Should they say ‘Yes’ when a boy asks for sex?

In some cultures a girl is expected to say
‘No’ to a proposal of sex, even if she later
intends to say ‘Yes’. She is expected to be
polite to a man, even if she really means no.

▲ What do boys feel, think and do when a girl refuses to have sex with
them?

A young man is expected to keep trying
to get the girl to have sex. He may think
that she is playing hard to get when she
says ‘No’.
This makes it difficult for men and women
to communicate clearly about what they
want.

▲ What do girls feel, think and do when a boy refuses to have
sex with them?

The roles may be reversed and girls may
also pressure boys into having sex.

▲ What about when an older man asks them?
▲ Should boys ask girls for sex?
▲ What do people think of boys who do not ask girls for sex?

2

Ask the group to do some role-plays to show how an ideal girl or boy
should behave.

3

Ask:
▲ What are the consequences of these ideas about ideal boys and
girls?
▲ How would we like to change things?
▲ How can males and females communicate more clearly with each
other about what they want?

60

Saying ‘No’ to sex until I’m ready

Activity
Activity
How are boys and girls expected to behave?

Avoiding having sex

1

Make a map on the ground and ask people to mark on
it all the places where they might find it difficult to avoid
sexual intercourse.

2

Divide into small groups and give one place to each
group. Ask them to discuss what makes it difficult to avoid
sex in that place and ways that could make it easier. Ask
them to prepare a role-play, story or song to share the
ideas with the big group.

3

In the big group, role-play each situation and ways to
avoid that situation.

Ways to be happy together without
having sexual intercourse
Activity

1

61

In small groups ask people to think of all the
ways that a boy and girl could express their
love and be happy together without having
sexual intercourse.

2

Ask: What would be good about enjoying
being together without intercourse at this
time?

3

Ask them to share their ideas with the
group.

4

Together find and agree on ways to avoid
having sexual intercourse.

Helping ourselves
Group All groups
Time 1 hour
Activity
Warm up
1 Go around the circle asking people to finish the
two sentences below one at a time:

Aims
▲ To talk about one way that people have found to cope
safely with their sexual feelings.
▲ To talk about our feelings and beliefs about
masturbation.
▲ To learn correct information about masturbation.
▲ To feel OK about masturbation as a way to stay safe from
pregnancy, STIs, including HIV and HIV reinfection.

▲ The thing I like most about my body is…
▲ The thing that makes me happiest about
growing up is…

Key facts
▲ As our bodies change, we may start to have sexual
feelings towards other people and in our own bodies.
Certain parts of our bodies can become very exciting to
touch, especially the private parts. For boys, this area is
the penis and testicles. For girls, it is the area around the
opening to the vagina, especially the clitoris.
▲ Some people enjoy rubbing these areas in a certain way.
If they do this for a while, they may reach a moment
when it is very exciting and reach or have an orgasm.
▲ The penis and vagina often produce fluids during
masturbation. Semen comes out of the penis and vaginal
fluid comes out of the vagina. This is normal.
.

▲Masturbation is a natural way of coping with

sexual feelings. There is nothing wrong with it.
It causes no harm to your private parts or to
your mind. It does not make you less interested
in boyfriends or girlfriends, or stop you
marrying when you are older. Most young
people and adults masturbate at some time or
another.
▲ Sometimes parents or teachers or religious
leaders may say that masturbation is wrong and
this can make you feel guilty. There is no need to
feel guilty about it. It is a private matter and a
personal choice.
▲ Masturbation is a very safe way of coping with
sexual feelings. It is much safer than having sex
with another person – you cannot catch any
diseases or get pregnant from masturbating.

How to masturbate safely
▲ Always make sure that your hands are clean when masturbating, as dirty fingers can carry germs. Keep your
fingernails short and clean.
▲ It is safest to use your fingers, but if do you use an object, make sure that it is very clean and cannot break
inside you. If it does break, use your fingers to pull out the pieces. Do not use any object that could cut or
bruise you.
▲ Rub yourself gently to avoid soreness. Stop if you feel any soreness and do not masturbate again
until it is cleared up.

62

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AND HIV/AIDS
This module has been adapted from the
Canadian Federation of Sexual Health, Beyond
the Basics; A Sourcebook on Sexuality and
Reproductive Health.
Agenda:

1. opening activity, icebreaker or discussion (10
minutes)

2. general STI questions and review of
common STI (30 minutes)*

3.
4.
5.
6.

STI quiz (20 minutes)*
STI case studies (30 minutes)
break (10 minutes)

Session Objectives:
Learn the various types of sexually transmitted
infections (STI).

• Define and describe HIV.
• Identify attitudes and values
about common behaviour or
characteristics of people at risk
for HIV/AIDS.

• Understand the modes of transmission of STI and
HIV/AIDS.
Identify ways to prevent the spread of STI and HIV

HIV attitudes and values clarification (35
minutes)

7. HIV continuum of risk (30 minutes)
8. closing activity or discussion and evaluations (15 minutes) Total Time: three hours
* Facilitators may want to replace the first two activities (general STI questions and STI
quiz) with a guest presentation from an STI nurse specialist from the local public health
office or STI clinic. A nurse could present information on common STI including
transmission, symptoms, treatment and prevention.

63

GENERAL STI QUESTIONS
Objective:
Participants will identify general
issues related to STIs: transmission, effect, treatment,
community resources and prevention.

Structure:

small group

Time:

20 minutes

Materials:

handout: General STI Questions, STI
fact sheets downloaded from the
Sexuality Education Resource Centre at www.serc.mb.ca, flipchart, markers.
Procedure:

64

1.

Copy individual questions from the STI Questions handout onto the
flipchart and tape sheets up at different points in the room.

2.

Divide your group into smaller working groups (less than six).
Distribute one handout per group. Each will work on a
different question.

3.

Have groups choose a recorder and a reporter. Give participants 5 to
10 minutes to move from station to station and answer the
questions. After a few minutes at each station, have them rotate to
the next question, so that each group can add their responses to
each question. Continue until each group has added something to
each question.

4.

Bring groups back to the larger group and have the reporters from
each group share their group’s responses with everyone. The activity
leader can review the responses instead of a reporter. Provide
additional information as necessary (following the answer key).You
can also ask groups if they have anything to add to the responses.

5.

Conclude by pointing out that the best ways for people to protect
themselves from STI is to abstain from intercourse, engage in lower
risk sexual activities or, if having intercourse, use condoms every
time.

GENERAL STI QUESTIONS

65

1.

What are the names of some STIs (sexually transmitted infections)?

2.

How are STIs transmitted?

3.

How do you know if you have a STI?

4.

Can all STIs be treated? Where can someone go for help?

5.

How can people protect themselves from getting STIs?

Handout

ANSWER KEY

GENERAL STI QUESTIONS
What are the names of some STIs?



Chlamydia




Human Papilloma Virus (causes genital warts)

Gonorrhoea
HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
Herpes (one strain of this virus causes cold sores on and around the mouth)
Hepatitis B
Syphilis

How are STIs transmitted?



through sexual contact: vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex
some through blood-to-blood contact (ex: needle sharing,
piercing or tattooing equipment that is not properly sterilized)
passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby before or
during birth (HIV can also be passed from an infected mother to
her baby through breast milk)

How do you know if you have a STI?

66

Get tested (the test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, for example, is
a simple, non- invasive urine test).


People can have STIs without any symptoms!
People may also have symptoms including:



burning during urination



pain in testicles

unexpected bleeding from the vagina (not a period)

clear, white, or yellowish discharge from the male’s urethra
a change in the usual vaginal discharge a woman has
(different colour, increased amount, unusual odour)
lower abdominal pain (for women), pain during intercourse
sores or bumps on the genitals

Can all STIs be treated? Where can someone go for help?

Some STIs can be cured with antibiotics (Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis).

STIs caused by viruses cannot be cured, although there is often
medication that can slow the virus down and improve symptoms.
A vaccine has been developed against Hepatitis B.

For help see a doctor, go to a health centre, health outpost,
health clinic

How can people protect themselves?

67

Choose not to have sex – the only choice that is 100 per cent effective.

Choose low-risk sexual activities like kissing, petting, etc.

Use condoms every time you have sex. They can be used
with water-based lubricant but must be used correctly.

STI QUIZ

Objective:

Structure:

individual

Time:

20 minutes

Materials:

handout: STI Quiz

Participants will explain the
prevention, transmission,
symptoms, and treatment for a
variety of STIs.

Procedure:
This quiz can be done out loud in a group or written out individually.
Answer key

1.

A person can have a STI and not know it. TRUE

2.

It is normal for women to have some vaginal discharge. TRUE

3.

Once you have had a STI and have been cured, you can’t get it again. FALSE

4.

HIV is mainly present in semen, blood, vaginal secretions and breast milk. TRUE

5.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. TRUE

6.

A pregnant woman who has a STI can pass the disease on to her baby. TRUE

7.

Most STIs go away without treatment, if people wait long enough. FALSE

8.

STIs that aren’t cured early can cause sterility. TRUE

9.

Birth control pills offer excellent protection from STIs. FALSE

10. Condoms can help prevent the spread of STIs. TRUE
11. If you know your partner, you can’t get a STI. FALSE
12. Chlamydia is the most common STI. TRUE
13. A sexually active woman should get an annual pap test from her doctor. TRUE
14. What advice would you give someone who thought s/he might have a STI?
Go to a STI clinic or physician’s office for a check-up.

15. How can you avoid getting a STI?

68

Abstain from sexual intercourse.

Engage in lower-risk sexual activities.

Use condoms every time you have sexual intercourse.

Get a Hepatitis B vaccination.

Refuse to share needles.

STI QUIZ
True or False?

Handout

1.

A person can have a STI and not know it.

2.

It is normal for women to have some vaginal discharge.

3.

Once you have had a STI and have been cured, you can’t get it again.

4.

HIV is mainly present in semen, blood, vaginal secretions and breast milk.

5.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

6.

A pregnant woman who has a STI can pass the disease on to her baby.

7.

Most STIs go away without treatment, if people wait long enough.

8.

STIs that aren’t cured early can cause sterility.

9.

Birth control pills offer excellent protection from STIs.

10. Condoms can help prevent the spread of STIs.
11. If you know your partner, you can’t get a STI.
12. Chlamydia is the most common STI.
13. A sexually active woman should get an annual pap test from her doctor.
Short answer

14. What advice would you give someone who thought s/he might have a STI?
Short answer

15. How can you avoid getting a STI?
Short answer

69

STI CASE STUDIES

Objective:
Participants will describe STI
symptoms and consequences.

Structure:

small group

Time:

25 minutes

Materials:

handout: STI Case Studies, STI fact sheets
(downloaded from the Sexuality Education
Resource Centre website at www.serc.mb.ca)
Procedure:

1.

70

Divide participants into groups of four or five. Give each a copy
of the STI Case Studies handout. Explain the group assignment:

Read the case studies.

Complete the worksheet by using the fact sheets.

2.

Discuss group work on the case studies and correct any
misconceptions (the answer key is provided on the next page).

3.

Conclude by pointing out that many STIs are serious. While
some are curable, others are not. The best thing to do is to
prevent getting a STI in the first place. The only 100 per cent
effective method of prevention is to abstain from
intercourse. Engaging in lower-risk sexual activities decreases risk. If
you’re having sex, condoms should be used every time.

ANSWER KEY
STI CASE STUDIES
Chris and Pat

1.

herpes

2.

There is no cure for herpes. Medication can be used to heal
sores more quickly and to reduce the spread of the virus.

3.

Condoms provide some protection but they do not protect all of
the skin that touches during intimate contact. Pat should not have
intercourse when sores are present or at the first signs of an
outbreak (tingling or redness in the usual attack area). Pat may
have been infected by Chris or by a previous partner.

Laura and Shane

1.

Small, cauliflower-like warts appear on and around the
genitals. However, sometimes there are no symptoms at
all.

2.

Human Pamplona Virus (HPV) can be passed on to other sexual
partners and can increase the risk of cervical cancer.

3.

Shane has likely been infected. Condom use is not always helpful in
preventing transmission. Condoms provide some protection but
they do not protect all of the skin that touches during intimate
contact. Having warts removed will decrease the virus particles on
the skin. Laura should get regular pap smears.

Greg

1.

gonorrhoea or Chlamydia

2.

antibiotics

3.

If left untreated, Greg may transmit gonorrhoea/Chlamydia to
his other sexual partners or become infertile.

Karen

71

1.

Antibiotics cure Chlamydia.

2.

Discharge may come from genitals, burning or pain while
urinating, unusual bleeding from the vagina, pain in the pelvic
area. Often there are no symptoms.

3.

It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

STI CASE STUDIES

A.

Chris and Pat
Chris and Pat had been attracted to each other for a long time.
When they finally began to date, things moved very quickly and they
decided to have sex. Almost a month after having sex with Chris, Pat
developed small, fluid-filled blisters on his genitals.

Handout

1. What STI might Pat have?

B.

2.

How can this STI be treated?

3.

How can Chris be protected from getting this STI?

4.

What other advice would you give Chris and Pat?

Laura and Shane

Laura and Shane have dated throughout high school. They love and care for each
other very much. One evening, Laura told Shane that she had an abnormal pap test
and may have HPV.

C.

1.

What symptoms might Laura experience?

2.

What are the consequences of HPV?

3.

How can Shane protect himself from getting HPV?

4.

What other advice might you give Laura and Shane?

Greg

Greg was excited to go away to university. At university, he began to visit a local
bar on weekends. One night, Greg went home with someone he had just met at
the bar and they had intercourse. A few weeks later, Greg experienced pain with
urination and discharge from his penis.

D.

1.

What STI might Greg have?

2.

How can this STI be treated?

3.

What will happen if Greg does not get treated?

4.

What other advice might you give Greg?

Karen

Karen had a crush on someone she worked with at her part-time job. They
dated a couple of times and then one night they had intercourse. A few weeks
later, after a full gynecological examination by her doctor, Karen found out she
had chlamydia.

72

1.

How is chlamydia treated?

2.

What symptoms might Karen have?

3.

What are the consequences of chlamydia if left untreated?

4.

What other advice might you give Karen?

HIV/AIDS ATTITUDES AND VALUES CLARIFICATION

Structure:

small and large group discussion

Time:

35 minutes

Materials:

handout: Values Statements,
signs: Agree, Strongly Agree,
Disagree, Strongly Disagree,
flipchart, markers

Objective:
Participants will identify
attitudes and values in relation to
common behaviours or characteristics of
people at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Procedure:

1.

Explain this exercise explores the range of values and attitudes about HIV/AIDS that exist in
any group. It helps improve understanding about why people hold the attitudes and values
that they do.

2.

Post the four signs around the room. Explain to participants that you will read three value
statements and after each statement you would like them to circle the word that reflects their
degree of agreement or disagreement with the statement. Participants should be
spontaneous and honest in their responses. Instruct participants not to put their names on
the sheets or share their responses with anyone else.

3.

Read the following statements out loud giving participants a moment to record their answers:

a.

“It is hard for me to understand why people who know how HIV is spread continue to
risk infection.”

b.

“Anal intercourse is normal behaviour.”

c.

“I would personally trust a condom to protect me in sexual intercourse with a
person I know is infected with HIV.”

4.

Collect and redistribute all the sheets. It can be helpful to collect sheets from half the group,
hold that set of papers aside, collect the second half and then reverse the sets for
redistribution.

5.

Instruct participants to move to the area where the opinion poll placard matches the
response recorded by #1 on the sheet they are now holding. Tell participants that they are
going to present the rationale for the opinion position they are now holding as though it were
their own opinion. For the duration of this portion of the exercise each person has to act as
though the opinions on the sheet are what they really believe. Suggest that no one needs to
say “This is not what I really believe, but...” since everyone knows that the person speaking is
not holding their own opinion sheet.

6.

Restate the opinion and have participants talk with the other participants in that area to
rationalize this view. Have them take turns very briefly expressing their rationale for the
opinion to the rest of the group. Do not allow debate, challenge or discussion between the
different areas. Do not express your own opinions at any time.

7.

If participants are struggling to come up with responses, you may want to state one or two
yourself. Avoid sarcasm, ridicule or exaggeration. Refer to some of the sample rationales
below as needed:

a. “It is hard for me to understand why people who know how HIV is spread
73

continue to risk infection.”
Agree: Why would anyone risk contracting a very serious and possibly fatal
infection? Most risky behaviours are in a person’s control, so why not avoid
them?
Disagree: It can be really difficult to change behaviour. Sex and drug use habits
are particularly difficult to change. Who am I to judge someone else’s
behaviour?

b. Anal intercourse is normal behaviour.”
Agree: Human beings have been doing it forever. Who am I to judge what two
consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms? Some people find it
a pleasurable and intimate experience. Who judges what is normal? It is used
by some to avoid pregnancy.
Disagree: It’s perverted, sick, disgusting, immoral against some religious
values. The rectum is an exit not an entry. It isn’t tough enough to withstand
intercourse, consequently the act creates more vulnerability to infection.

c. “I would personally trust a condom to protect me in sexual

intercourse with a person whom I know is infected with HIV.”

Agree: When condoms are used properly and consistently, they offer a high
level of protection against infection. I’d better feel that way; after all, it’s the
message I’m always giving clients.
Disagree: I’m not willing to take the risk of having intercourse with an infected
person no matter what.

8.

When all three statements have been discussed, ask participants to return to their seats. Debrief the
activity by asking:

a. What did you observe in doing this exercise?
b. How did it feel to defend an opinion that was not your own?
c. What may happen when people’s opinions are in the minority? How did it

feel to be in the minority if, for example, they were the only one of the group
to initially agree or disagree with a statement?

d. What were the feelings generated by the statements, and by others’
points of view?

e. If the statements had been worded differently, would they have
minimized disagreement?

f. What is the point of doing this activity?
g. How can we as SRH counsellors show non-judgmental behaviour?

74

HIV/AIDS ATTITUDES AND VALUES CLARIFICATION
For each of the following statements, circle the answer that best indicates
the extent to which you agree or disagree. Do not put your name on this

Handout

sheet. Do not share your answers with anybody else.

1.

It is hard for me to understand why people who know how HIV is
spread continue to risk infection.
Strongly Agree

2.

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Anal intercourse is normal behaviour.

Strongly Agree

Agree

3.
I would personally trust a condom to protect me in sexual
intercourse with a person I know is infected with HIV.
Strongly Agree

75

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

HIV/AIDS CONTINUUM OF RISK ACTIVITY

Structure:

large group discussion

Time:

30 minutes

Materials:

flipchart, cards or post-it notes with
sexual activities on them, masking tape

Objective:
Participants will
discuss the risk levels of
various sexual activities, and
problem solve how these
activities can be made safer.

Procedure:

76

1.

Draw a stoplight on the flipchart with the red light representing “high risk”,
the yellow light representing “low risk” and the green light representing
“negligible or no risk.” Distribute cards or post-it notes with different sexual
activities written on them to participants. Have participants stick their notes
onto the flipchart according to what the level of risk is to transmit HIV
through this activity.

2.

Example of sexual activities and correct risk level (Note: do not correct any
wrong answers until after the activity is complete):

anal sex – no condom

High risk

anal sex – with a condom

Low risk

vaginal sex – no condom

High risk

vaginal sex – with a condom

Low risk

oral sex on a man – no condom

Low risk

oral sex on a woman – no latex barrier

Low risk

oral sex on a man – with a condom

Negligible risk

mutual masturbation

No risk

kissing

No risk

hugging

No risk

3.

Once participants have placed their notes on the flipchart, go through each
activity and have the group explain what the activity means. Discuss whether
it is a high, low or no-risk activity and why. Ask participants to identify ways to
make each activity safer.

4.

Note: Remind the group that some STIs other than HIV, can be spread
by activities that are low risk for HIV transmission. For example, while
oral sex is lower risk for HIV than unprotected anal or vaginal sex, the
risk for other STIs is high.

.

WORKING WITH DIVERSITY

Agenda:
opening activity, icebreaker or discussion (10
minutes)
tree of oppression (15 minutes)
labels: definitions and terms (30 minutes)

Objectives:
Recognize the nature of oppression.
Recognize definitions, terms and labels that influence
responses to diversity.
Examine ethnic, racial, social and cultural identity and the
similarities and/or differences in experiences based on
that identity.
Identify underlying fears and ignorance behind
discrimination.
Examine methods of dealing with discrimination.

identity: personal awareness inventory (20
minutes )
discrimination (20 minutes)
strategies for being culturally responsive (20 minutes)
closing activity or discussion and evaluations (15 minutes)
Total Time: two hours fifteen minutes

77

TREE OF OPPRESSION
Procedure: Before you begin, draw the diagram below (with the words) on a flipchart. (See handout for a
representation)
Tree of oppression

Fruit: pain/violence

Branches: discrimination/oppression

Soil: fear/ignorance

Roots: power/domination

Distribute handout: Tree of Oppression. Explain that the roots of oppression are power and domination. The
soil in which oppression flourishes is fear and ignorance. The branches are the different forms of oppression and
discrimination. The fruit of this tree is pain and violence.
Have participants work with a partner and come up with some examples for each of the four parts of the tree.
Ask participants to think of a couple of examples of power – who is oppressing who and why? Name some forms
of discrimination and write them near the branches. Think about some effects of discrimination and write
examples beside the fruit. Think about fear and ignorance. What issues are people afraid of that make them
discriminate?
After groups have had an opportunity to work on their handouts and discuss, ask for a pair of volunteers to
come up to the flipchart and talk about examples they came up with for the branches – the forms of oppression.
Have participants write the key words on to the flipchart as they present. Have other pairs come up and present
their examples for the three other areas and discuss.
Say: “Different forms of oppression are distinct, as reflected by their positions on different branches, and yet
they are fed by the same soil, share common roots and have similar results.”

78

Handout

Fruit: pain/violence

Branches:
discrimination/oppression

Soil: fear/ignorance

Roots: power/domination

79

LABELS – DEFINITIONS AND TERMS
Note: Throughout this session the facilitator should be aware that participants may be coming to the session
with their own personal experiences of being labeled. Be conscious of how the exercise may affect those who
have had personal experiences with discrimination in the past. Spend time debriefing either with the entire
group or one-on-one as needed at the end of the activity.
Procedure:
1.Read the following paragraphs to the group:
It is important for people to be able to name the multiple sources of their oppression before they can begin to
challenge this oppression. It’s also important to begin to make links between various kinds of oppression.
Various kinds of oppression often share similar characteristics. They are all part of the overall structure of
domination at the personal, societal and institutional levels. People use stereotypes of the oppressed group to
justify continuing the oppression. There is a cycle of socialization about this oppression. Whether we are a
member of an oppressed group or not, we are socialized to accept the existing beliefs about that group.
Oppression continues because of our co-operation in its continuation – by not paying attention to it, not
confronting it or not considering it important. By understanding the similarities between the different types of
oppression, we may be able to reflect on personal situations of discrimination, empathize with other types of
oppression that we have not experienced and begin to work to challenge oppression.
Ask the group what a label is. Explain that the terms we choose to use when describing people – or groups of
people – can have very powerful effects. Appropriate terminology is viewed by some people as an important
indicator of respect for and belief in the dignity and worth of individuals and groups. Even unintentional slights
are noticed and may be interpreted as an indication of insensitivity, disrespect or even hostility. Selfidentification is often an important step in community awareness and growth. However, not all terms are
accepted even by people within the same group.

Distribute handouts: Definitions and Terms and Labels. Divide participants into groups of four. Have groups look
through the handout: Labels and divide the words into positive names and negative labels. Groups can add
words to the list if they wish. While dividing up the list, have participants think about and note why they find
some terms to be negative or offensive and why they think the positive ones are OK. Give groups 15 minutes to
work.
After 15 minutes stop participants and ask them to discuss responses to the list of terms and labels. Have
participants tell the group why they reacted to some of the words on the list and how they sorted them into
positive or negative.
Distribute handout: Suggestions for Using Appropriate Language. Ask for volunteers to read out the
suggestions on the handout to the group. After the list has been read out, ask participants if they have any
questions and discuss as a group.

80

Prejudice

DEFINITIONS AND TERMS

an unfavourable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge,
thought or reason
any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favourable or unfavourable

Handout

unreasonable feelings, opinions or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, directed against a racial, religious or
national group
negative personal behaviour that discriminates against individuals of such a group
Bias
a mental leaning or inclination
partiality
Bigotry
holding blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.
being narrow-minded and intolerant
Discrimination
differential treatment of an individual on the basis of the individual’s actual or presumed membership in or
association with some class or group of people, rather than on the basis of personal merit
differential treatment of an individual or group on the basis of:












81

ancestry, including colour and perceived race
nationality or national origin
ethnic background or origin
religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity
age
sex, including pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy
gender-determined characteristics or circumstances
sexual orientation
marital or family status
source of income
political belief, political association or political activity
physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances
failure to make reasonable accommodation for the special needs of any individual or group, if those
special needs are based upon any characteristic listed above

LABELS
people of colour
non-whites
coloured people
developmentally disabled
Aboriginal people
Inuit people
First Nation Indians
natives
Two-spirit Eskimos
Jewish people
Jews
Hebrews
Afro-Canadians
ethnic minority Black people
black
brown
yellow
red
white
Negroes
Orientals
Caucasians
Negroid race
Mongoloid race
Caucasoid race
Anglo-Saxon
w.a.s.p.(white Anglo-Saxon Protestant)
Asians
South Asians
East Indians
mulatto
mixed-race person
bi-racial
middle-eastern person
Arab
Muslim
physically-challenged
disabled
handicapped
blind
visually-impaired
hard of hearing
deaf
hearing impaired
mentally-challenged
mentally handicapped

82

mentally retarded
developmentally delayed
natives
Two-spirit Eskimos
Handout
Jewish people
Jews
Hebrews
Afro-Canadians
ethnic minority
multicultural people
ethnics
third world people
mainstream groups
normal
world majority people
queer women of colour
lesbian
gay
homosexual
dykes
fags
queers, homos,
bisexual, transsexual
two-spirited people of the First Nation
hyphenated-Canadian (African-Canadian, ChineseCanadian, etc.)
person of (Polish, Korean, Italian, etc.) extraction
person of (Polish, Korean, Italian, etc.) heritage
Latino
Hispanic
Spanish-speaking people

Handout

SUGGESTIONS FOR USING APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE
1.

Ask friends, co-workers, clients or social contacts how they want to be addressed. This is the surest way
to learn what term or phrase is appropriate.

2.

Use inclusive language (“us” or “Guyanese”) and avoid words or labels that exclude people (“them,”
“those people”).

3.

Never use obsolete, clinical, quasi-scientific terms (“Caucasoid race”).

4.

Learn and use terms preferred by the listener.

5.

Use words that identify group similarities (“people of colour”) instead of those which are based on
differences (“non-whites”).

6.

Avoid paternalistic phrases (“our Chinese community”) and quaint but offensive terms (“of the African
persuasion”).

7.

Avoid all demeaning slang and derogatory terms.

83

IDENTITY: PERSONAL AWARENESS INVENTORY
Procedure:
1.

Distribute handout: Personal Awareness Inventory. Have participants work individually and complete
the exercise on the handout. Give participants 10 minutes.

2.

Have participants discuss their responses to the exercise. Record any key points on a flipchart.

84

IDENTITY: PERSONAL AWARENESS INVENTORY
Here are some categories that people frequently use to identify themselves.
How do you define yourself? Do you define yourself using any of these categories:

religion

economic group

ethnic group

racial group

gender and sexuality group

nationality

other

Handout

Using the categories (or any other information you choose), write a brief identity statement: “I am a...”
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
Using your identity statement, briefly answer these questions:
a)
I was first aware of being (identity statement) when..
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
b)

I am most aware of being (identity statement) when...

___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
c)

For me, being (identity statement) means...

___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
d)

Because of being (identity statement), I have experienced the following forms of discrimination...

___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

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DISCRIMINATION – FEAR AND IGNORANCE
Procedure:
1.
Distribute handout: Discrimination – Fear and Ignorance. Read the following paragraph to
participants:
Discrimination often has its origins in fear and ignorance. People often hold discriminatory attitudes because
they have hidden fears or are in pain about something they associate with a specific group. They may be
afraid of losing something of value they believe the other group may take from them. Or they may be in pain
about perceived unfairness to themselves which they believe the other group is responsible for. To
challenge oppression, this underlying fear and pain has to be located and validated. This fear or pain is
genuine and needs to be acknowledged. It’s the person’s ignorance of the link between their fears or pain
and their discriminatory attitudes that is the problem to be worked on.
One method for working on this involves reframing the person’s discriminatory attitude to identify and
rationally examine the hidden reasons for these attitudes.

2.
Ask participants to work with a partner and complete the exercise on the handout. Give groups 15
minutes to complete the activity. Discuss as a large group, the definitions of the problems and the challenges
to the attitudes that the groups came up with. Have pairs provide their responses to each situation. Record
any key points on a flipchart.

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DISCRIMINATION (FEAR AND IGNORANCE)
Examine the following discriminatory complaints to
a)
b)
c)

locate the underlying fear or pain
acknowledge the fear or pain
reframe the complaint to address the discrimination

Handout

example of discriminatory complaint: “They’re all on welfare.”
a)
underlying fear or pain
“I work hard. My parents worked hard. So much of our hard work goes to support others.”
b)
acknowledge the fear or pain
“It must take a lot of strength to work so hard.”
c)
reframe the complaint
“Has anyone in your family ever needed financial help? How did you decide whether they should get help or
not? Was it based on their behaviour, their customs, the way they looked? What would you do if you needed
financial help and the government said you couldn’t get it because of your ethnic group? Do you think that
would be fair to you?”
i)
discriminatory complaint: “They’re all violent. They’re all criminals. They all come here and sell drugs
and shoot people.”
a)
b)
c)

underlying fear or pain
acknowledge the fear or pain
reframe the complaint

ii)

discriminatory complaint

“They’re all promiscuous. All they do is have sex. They spread disease because they have hundreds of partners.”
a)
b)
c)

underlying fear or pain
acknowledge the fear or pain
reframe the complaint

iii)

discriminatory complaint (client speaking)

“They stick to their own kind. They don’t mix with anyone else. They keep their money to themselves and won’t
speak English.”
a)
b)
c)

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underlying fear or pain
acknowledge the fear or pain
reframe the complaint

VISUALIZATION

Structure:

large group

Time:

30 minutes
Materials:

Objective:
Participants will discuss and
challenge heterosexual privilege.

handout: Visualization Story

Procedure:

1.

Ask participants to relax and listen to the story.

2.

Read the story from the handout.

3.

Ask participants to take a few moments to think about the story.

4.

Facilitate a discussion:

5.

88

What is your response to the story?

Was this real?

What did you think or feel while listening to the story?

Conclude by pointing out that gay, lesbian, and bisexual
people face certain challenges in our society. We should
respect all people and where possible, lend our support.

Visualization Story
It is a beautiful spring morning as you awake. You take a shower, dress and sit down
to your breakfast. You glance outside and enjoy the tulips and daffodils that are
finally starting to grow. It is a work day, but unlike any other because today, for one
day in your life, you are a heterosexual person living in a gay world-and you are the
minority.
You don’t feel any different, and you wonder how your day will go. You glance at a
magazine and listen to the radio. It’s almost time to go to work, but wait... a
magazine ad catches your eye. Two women models hold each other, sensuously
displaying bathrobes on sale for half price. The cartoon on the opposite page tells of
a funny mishap in a family of two men and their dog.
You listen again to the radio playing a catchy song about the love between two
women and the distance that keeps them apart. The doorbell rings and you grab
your coat.
Your carpool has arrived and it’s time to leave for work.
On the way to work, your friends are talking about their latest same-sex love
interests. It seems normal: no one is surprised and the conversation continues. You
would like to tell your friends about what you did this weekend and about the cute
opposite sex person that you met, but now you are kind of afraid of how your friends
will react.
When you arrive at work, you go to make yourself some coffee in the lunch room.
Around the table a group of your co-workers are laughing as a joke about
heterosexuals is shared. You leave, wishing you could have told them to “shut up.”
On your way to your staff meeting, a group of guys purposefully bump into you, and
they tell you they hate heterosexuals and that you had better stay out of their way.
You make your way to your meeting and take a seat. Your boss has decided to have a
team building activity. This morning everybody will be talking about how they balance
their work life with their personal relationships. Everybody is talking about their
relationships with their same sex partners. You don’t feel that you can share with your
group about your heterosexual relationship and you feel like you are being forced to lie.
You look out the window as the bright spring day continues...

89

STRATEGIES FOR BEING CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE

Procedure:

1.
Ask participants to share some strategies for being culturally responsive. Record key points on a
flipchart.
2.
Distribute handout: Strategies for being Culturally Responsive. Review handout with participants
while providing the information below to highlight each point.

Distinguish misunderstanding from prejudice

When inter-group conflicts arise, be prepared to distinguish between what is simply a misunderstanding and
what is prejudicial. Misunderstandings are clarified by giving people insights that broaden their awareness.
This is very different from prejudice, which is often malicious and unfounded.

Challenge prejudices

Challenge prejudices by stimulating some discussion about the issue with group members. An alternate
approach is to provide them with scenarios that show different points of view.

Learn about cultural customs

Misunderstandings, whether they are based on linguistic, racial or cultural differences, can be damaging. For
example, a male may take the hand of an Asian woman with the intent of showing his concern for her
comfort
or well-being. However, in some communities, touching strangers (even handshakes) is considered an
unacceptable liberty. This is a case of a cultural misunderstanding; learn about cultural customs to avoid such
misunderstandings.

Acknowledge discomfort

Interact with clients in a way that is comfortable to them. Listen and watch closely for non-verbal indicators of
stress, discomfort or confusion. If you feel you have made someone feel uncomfortable, acknowledge it by
providing an appropriate apology.

Be empathetic

Put yourself in someone else’s position. If someone says he/she is afraid of someone with HIV/AIDS, express
your understanding of the fear of the
disease, but deal with the misunderstanding of the routes of transmission or whatever issue is creating the
fear.

Be non-judgmental

Encourage people to express their concerns. This does not mean that you cannot challenge values or ideas
that people have. Just use a positive
approach and ask why the person feels this way; follow his/her logic and try to get the person to examine the
value.

90

Avoid cultural stereotyping

Every individual combines the general characteristics and tendencies of his/ her culture with his/her own
perceptions, values, attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices. Do not generalize.

Listen to others

Intercultural communication requires two-way communication. Let people define their needs and in
response, find ways to handle their concerns.
Paraphrase and reflect on the ideas and suggestions they have raised.

Find common ground

Personalize your knowledge and perceptions. When you talk about your own feelings, ideas and experiences,
people may be able to identify with you and relate their personal experience with your own.

Get to know other cultures

Familiarize yourself with the terms, values, traditions and belief systems of various communities with whom
you work. Find out about day-to-day aspects (food, music, customs, etc.) of cultures other than your own. Buy
publications, listen to radio or television programs and shop at businesses that are owned by other ethnic,
racial or cultural groups.

Examine organizational practices

Be aware of values and assumptions that are inherent in your organization and need to be challenged. When
doing education work, ask yourself whether your educational materials (posters, brochures, videos, etc.) are
culturally diverse and are available in an understandable language that is sensitive to the values of your
audience.

Practise zero tolerance

Interrupt racist remarks and jokes as they happen. Challenge racism and other forms of discrimination
whenever and wherever you encounter them by pointing out the discriminatory implications of assumptions
that come up in everyday conversations with people.

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STRATEGIES FOR BEING CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE

Distinguish misunderstanding from prejudice.

Challenge prejudices.

Learn about cultural customs.

Acknowledge discomfort.

Be empathetic.

Be non-judgmental.

Avoid cultural stereotyping.

Listen to others.

Find common ground.

Get to know other cultures.

Examine organizational practices.

Practise zero tolerance.

92

Handout

CHAIN COMMUNICATION
Procedure:
Say: “We’re going to do a brief activity about listening to get right into the topic of communication skills.
Some of you may have done this before. I’d like someone to volunteer to come over here and I’m going to
whisper some information very quietly so no one can hear what I’m saying. I then want that person to select
someone else to come over and whisper what I told them to the next person. Then, the next person will do
the same thing with another person and so on. When we’re at the second last person, I’d like the last person
to bring a piece of paper and pen with them and write down what they are told. Then, we’ll compare that
information with the actual information I started with. Can I have a volunteer, please?”
Whisper to the volunteer: “I want you to go to the nearest grocery store and buy me some apples, pakchoy,
cheese, french fries, salt biscuits and soap.”
Say “OK. I’d like you to select someone and whisper to them exactly what I just whispered to you.”
Go around until all participants have taken a turn. Remind the last person to write down what they hear.
Ask the last person to read out what they wrote. Then, read out the list you originally whispered.
Discuss the activity briefly by asking:

Did the final list differ substantially from the initial one?

If so, why do you feel this happened?

Can you pinpoint any areas of breakdown in communication?

Was there anything that made the information easier to remember?

Was there anything that made it difficult to remember?

Was memory the only factor involved here or was there something else going on?

93

EXPLORING ATTITUDES ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Structure: large group
Time: 30 minutes
Materials: handouts: Is it All Right...?, The
Rape of Mr. Smith

Objective:
Participants will identify their attitudes concerning
sexual violence.

Procedure:
1. Distribute the Is it All Right...? handout.
Explain that the questions are about rape and that respondents answered for themselves, not as
they thought their friends would.
Ask what attitudes are reflected in this handout. Responses should include:
• Sexual violence is okay in certain situations.
• If someone behaves in a certain way (dresses sexily, turns a partner on, doesn’t pay for
expenses, or is drinking), they are perceived to be asking for it, and can be blamed for the
sexual violence that happens to them.
2. Ask how these attitudes increase sexual violence. Responses should include:
• The message, “Sexual violence is always wrong.” is not clearly delivered if we: excuse violence
in certain situations; believe that it is to be expected; and blame the survivor for the violent
behaviour that occurred. If we make excuses and exceptions for violence, we are allowing and
supporting it.
3. Explain that you want to look at a different type of violation and at the issue of blame.
4. Have two volunteers read The Rape of Mr. Smith aloud.
5. Ask participants what the point of the story was and how it relates to sexual violence. Responses
should include:
• Blaming the victim of a robbery for getting robbed is absurd. It is not absurd in our culture,
however, to blame the person who was raped for the rape, or to blame the person who was
sexually violated in other ways for the sexual violence.
6. Ask participants how we develop our attitudes about what is right and wrong behaviour. Point out
that some of the ideas of how to behave and what to expect in a relationship are hurtful and others
are helpful.
7. Give some examples of messages or ideas we get about how to behave and what behaviour to
expect from others that would harm a relationship. Some ideas are:
• We expect that conflicts will be resolved with violence.
• We are taught we don’t need to talk about sexual intimacy: people should just know what their
partners want.
8. Ask participants if they can think of other behaviours to add to the list.
9. Conclude by pointing out:
• Sexual violence occurs, in part, because of some of the messages in our society, about how we
are to behave and what we are to expect from each other in a relationship.
• We are all susceptible to those messages. It is important to be aware of what they are, and
which ones will lead to a relationship that will be in the
best interest of both people involved.
• Promoting healthy sexual relationships for young people and adults can help change some of
those messages into ones that promote relationships based on mutual respect-not
exploitation.
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Handout

IS IT ALL RIGHT...
These are the results of a survey conducted by Jacqueline Goodchilds of
the University of California, Los Angeles. She asked high school students:
“Is it all right if a male holds a female down
and physically forces her to
engage in intercourse if ...”
Conditions

95

Percentage of “yes” responses
Males

Females

1. He spent a lot of money on her?

39%

12%

2. He is so turned on he thinks he can’t stop?

36%

21%

3. She has had sex with other guys?

39%

18%

4. She is stoned or drunk?

39%

18%

5. She lets him touch her above the waist?

39%

28%

6. She is going to have sex with him and
then changes her mind?

54%

31%

7. She has led him on?

54%

26%

8. She gets him excited sexually?

51%

42%

9. They have dated for a long time?

43%

32%

THE RAPE OF MR. SMITH
Handout

In the following situation, a lawyer asks questions of a hold-up survivor.
“Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main?”
“Did you struggle with the robber?”
“Why not?”

`````````````````` “Yes.”

“No.”
“He was armed.”

“Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than resist?”
“Did you scream? Cry out?”

“Yes.”

“No, I was afraid.”

“I see. Have you ever been held up before?”

“No.”

“Have you ever given money away?”

“Yes, of course.”

“And you did so willingly?”

“What are you getting at?”

“Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given money away in the past. In fact, you have quite
a reputation for giving your money to charity. How can we be sure that you weren’t trying to have
“Listen, if I wanted -”
your money taken from you by force?”
“Never mind. What time did this hold-up take place, Mr. Smith?”

“A bout 11:00 p.m.”

“You were out on the street at 11:00 p.m.? Doing what?”

“Just walking.”

“Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street that late at night. W eren’t you
aware that you could have been held up?”
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?” “Let’s see ...a suit.
“An expensive suit?”

“ Yes, a suit.”

“Well, yes. I’m a successful lawyer, you know.”

“In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that
practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I
mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to
happen, mightn’t we?”

96

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS COMPARISON

Procedure:
1.

Depending on the size of the group, divide it into two or four equal groups.

2.

Assign one group the topic of “healthy relationships” and the other group “unhealthy relationships.”

3.

Give each group five minutes to brainstorm as many characteristics of their subject as possible.

4.
Have each group present its list, either written on the board or on taped up flipchart papers. After all
of one subject has been presented, let anyone else contribute to the list until there is a list for “healthy” and
another for “unhealthy” relationships. Leave these lists up on the walls for the rest of the session.

Sample List:
Healthy Relationships

happiness

comfort

trust

kindness

love

acceptance

affection

strong self-esteem of both partners

equality

humour

mutual respect

fun

friendship

can be yourself

laughter

no fear of partner

common interests

still independent people

support

honesty

fair fights

communicate well

acceptance

faithfulness

empathy

Unhealthy Relationships

no trust

unfair fights

no respect

partner tries to change you

jealousy

lies

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abuse-emotional, physical

manipulation-mental, sexual

bad/no communication

lack of understanding

low self-esteem

no fun

power issues

fear

based only on physical attraction

5.

Lead a discussion by asking:

How do you feel in a healthy relationship?

How do you feel in an unhealthy relationship?

Why do people sometimes stay in unhealthy relationships?

What can you do if you know someone is in an unhealthy relationship?

Who can help them?

What are some ways to end an unhealthy relationship?

6.
Conclude the activity by pointing out how important it is to recognize the qualities of both healthy
and unhealthy relationships. In counseling, this will help us work with our clients to develop and negotiate
satisfying and meaningful relationships.

98

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS STATEMENTS
Procedure:
1.

Before the activity begins, paste the three signs on different walls within the room.

2.
Read out one statement from the list below. Have participants walk towards the sign that describes how
they feel-agree, disagree, unsure. This activity can be modified so that seated participants hold up signs. Use
different coloured signs to make tabulating easier. Alternatively, have participants respond as though they were
teenagers.
3.

Ask them to explain why they feel this way. Try to bring up relevant points with each statement.

4.
Continue by reading another statement. They don’t have to be done in any particular order, and if the
points relating to the statement have already been discussed, skip that statement and move on. Choose the
ones that are most appropriate to your group.
5.
Conclude by pointing out that young people are exposed to a lot of stereotypes and misinformation
about sex and relationships. It is important to challenge these messages to develop healthy relationships and
positive self-esteem.

Statements
1.

2.

3.

4.

99







Most young people are having sex.
Most young people are not having sex: it just seems like it.
What is the influence of the media? (people lie, etc.)
Why do people have sex? (popularity, love, insecurity, etc.)
Why don’t people have sex? (religion, readiness, values, etc.)
Why shouldn’t people be made to feel they have to do something just because everyone else seems to
be?
A girl who has sex with several different partners is easy but a guy is a player.
Is this double standard fair?
How do girls see each other? How do guys see each other?
How can we stop double standards?


Young women have sex to get their partner to love them.
Is this because they have poor self-esteem? With a healthy self-esteem, you know someone loves you
for who you are not how far you go.
What can you do to boost your self-esteem?
Will sex make someone love you?




Young people feel social pressure to be sexually involved in some way.
Where does it come from? (ex: media, peers)?
Is it effective?
How is this pressure dealt with/resisted?
What are the self esteem issues?

5.

6.





It’s easier to have sex than to talk about it with your partner.
Why do women go one step further because they are too embarrassed to talk about it (ex: kissing to
petting)?
Why is it difficult to talk about? (Sex is considered a taboo subject-not often talked about at home,
therefore not used to talking about it).
How important are communication skills?


Dating someone is better than dating no one.
What are the self esteem issues?
Why is it important to love and value yourself for who you are and not for whom you’re with?



S/he wouldn’t be so jealous if s/he didn’t really love me.
What are the trust, respect issues?
What are the abuse issues?
What is love?


7.

8.

100

Everybody has to put up with a certain amount of disrespect in a relationship.
What are the self esteem issues?
What are the abuse issues? (physical, verbal, emotional, sexual).
Where do you draw the line?
What is disrespect?
What do you do if a client is in an abusive relationship?

Children by choice, not chance
Activity
Avoiding pregnancy

1

Activity

Ask: What ways do you know
that people can avoid pregnancy
2 if they have sex? (Keep to those
that prevent pregnancy if people
are having sex. We talk about
abstinence in another meeting.)
Note down all the ways.

3
Why not use contraceptives?

1
2

▲ Is this true?

Ask each group to perform a role-play to show one of the

▲ Is it a good way for young
people who are having sex to
use to avoid pregnancy?

why they don’t use contraceptives.)
Show the role-plays one by one.
For each role-play, ask:

▲ What are the reasons that this boy (man) and
girl (woman) did not use condoms or another
contraceptive?
▲ What can help them to use a contraceptive in
future?
Provide additional information as needed. Make a plan of

5 action with the group to help young people to use
condoms or another contraceptive if they decide to have
sex. For example, work with the health providers to make
services friendly to young people. (See also Session 36 on
condoms.) Ask what people have learned and summarise.

101

Take each way that they suggest
to avoid pregnancy one by one
and discuss:

Ask people why young people who have sex don’t use
contraceptives. Make a note of the reasons given.
Divide into small groups.

▲ Why is it true or not true?

3 reasons. (Do not show why young people have sex, only
4

Explain that you are going to talk
about how young people who have
decided to have sex can avoid
pregnancy. The safest way to
avoid pregnancy is to abstain from
sex, but once people have
decided to have sex they can avoid
pregnancy by using a
contraceptive.

4

Help people to share ideas and
give them correct information if
you need to.
Show them the different
contraceptives, if you have them.
Say that condoms are best for
young people because they
protect against pregnancy and
STIs, including HIV.

Taking responsibility for pregnancy
Aims
Groups All ages from 7 years and above,
including adults. Mixed groups of males
and females.

▲ To learn about taking responsibility for our
actions.
▲ To learn how we can prevent teenage pregnancy.

Time 1 hour
I am responsible for this tragedy
because I sent them away without
information or condoms. From now
on I will teach young people how to
manage their sexuality safely.

Key facts
▲ Being responsible means that others can depend on us and we are accountable for our
actions. We keep to our agreements and give our best to any job.
▲ Taking responsibility means accepting our role in whether things go well or badly. It means
taking control of a situation rather than letting things just happen to us.
▲ Responsibilities are linked to rights. If we have the right to decide on whether to have sex or not,
we also have the responsibility to make sure that if we do decide to have sex, we do it with the
full agreement of the other person and not harm ourselves or anyone else.
▲ When things go wrong, we are responsible if we acknowledge our mistakes and make
amends instead of excuses and blaming.
▲ We should not take responsibility for things that are not our fault. For example, when
children are abused, they often blame themselves, but it is never their responsibility.
▲ We can encourage each other to act responsibly and also ask adults to take up their
responsibilities for protecting and supporting young people.
▲ Men often expect women to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy, STIs, including HIV
and HIV reinfection, even though men tend to make the decisions about sex and wear the
condoms.
▲ It is best if young men and women share responsibility for their behaviour and what
happens in relationships.

102

Taking responsibility for pregnancy
Activity
Community responsibility

1 Divide into two groups.
one group to create a drama showing a typical situation where someone like them gets
2 Ask
pregnant or impregnates a girl. Bring different characters into the drama who have some
responsibility for the situation – for example, a teacher, nurse, initiation advisor, parents,
friends, drug store, older man, as well as the girl or boy concerned.Perform the role-play to
the rest of the group.

3

Ask the characters to stay in the middle and remain in their role.

4

Ask the audience:

▲ Who has some responsibility for the pregnancy?

5 For each character, ask the group:
▲ What responsibility did this person have for the pregnancy?

6
7

Explain the four-point plan for taking responsibility.
Ask each of the characters in the play to stand up and say how they will follow the four- point
plan.

8

Continue the drama to show how all the characters follow the four-point plan in making things
turn out as well as possible and avoiding having the same problem again.

9

Ask people what they have learned from the activity. Summarise.

I am sorry I didn’t take
responsibility and
come and ask for your
advice.

I am sorry you couldn’t come
and talk to me about this. I
should have asked if you
knew about contraception.

Four-point plan

1

ACKNOWLEDGE what
we have done

103

2

ACCEPT our part of the
responsibility for it

3

ACT to make things turn
out as well as possible for
everyone

4

THINK about how we can
avoid doing it again

Coping with teen age pregnancy
Group All ages
Time 1 hour

Take care!
This is a sensitive topic but
young people need to have
true facts about abortion.

Aims
▲ To learn correct information about the choices for young people with
an unplanned pregnancy.
▲ To think about the advantages and disadvantages of all the choices,
taking into account values, health and future.
▲ To learn about how to reduce the bad effects of teenage pregnancy
on young women’s and men’s health and lives.
▲ Organise drama and community activities on unwanted pregnancy to
raise awareness of community responsibility for its prevention and
support to girls with unwanted pregnancies.

Key facts
▲ The choices for coping with unplanned teenage pregnancy are to end the pregnancy by having an

abortion, to have the baby and get married, or look after it as a single mother or give it to a relative to
take care of.
▲ Young women and men with unplanned pregnancies need to think carefully about the advantages and
disadvantages of these choices from the point of view of their own lives and health and those of the
baby, and their own values.
▲ Many girls and women would not seek an abortion if they were better supported by their family, health
workers and communities. This includes:
▲ having trusted relatives or friends to talk over their pregnancy
▲ having information, services and enabling environments for young people to help them to make
good choices about sexual life
▲ a reduction in stigma and discrimination against pregnant girls
▲ opportunities to return to school after delivery or to find work.
Abortion
▲ People feel very strongly about abortion. Many people believe that it is a sin. However, women will
find ways to abort even if they cannot do it safely and legally and
many girls and women are injured every year because of unsafe abortion.
▲ Women use different methods to cause unsafe abortion, including drugs, herbs, and a certain twig
inserted into the mouth of the womb. These methods are ineffective and/or dangerous and may cause
death, infertility and serious injury.
▲ Young women should go to a health worker at once if they have continuous bleeding, smelly liquid
coming out of the vagina, pain in the lower belly or fever and shaking after an abortion. They may need
further treatment, counselling on not having sex until they are healed and information on sexual and
reproductive health and contraception.

104

Coping with teenage pregnancy
▲ In Guyana abortion is legal and women can
have an abortion if they choose to after
receiving counselling. The abortion is safe
if done within three months by a qualified
practitioner in a health facility.
▲ In Guyana it is possible to get a safe
abortion privately, but doctors have to be
licenced to carry out the procedure.

Having a baby
▲ Pregnant teenagers may decide to have the
baby. If the couple love each other, they
may get married. If not, the family should
see the man and his family and ask him to
support his partner and child.
▲ Counsellors, peer educators and parents/
carers can help teenagers to see that
it is not the end of the world to have an
unplanned child, although it will be difficult
at first.
▲ Now that girls are allowed to return to
school after delivery, they should be
encouraged to continue with their
schooling.
▲ Encourage the girl’s parents and the baby’s
father to care for the girl, give her loose
dresses, good food and not too much
work.
▲ Help her to attend the antenatal clinic to
keep herself and the baby healthy.
▲ Help her to deliver her baby in a health
centre or hospital in case there are any
problems, for example obstructed labour.
▲ Help her to care for herself and her baby
after the birth.
▲ Suggest positive choices and try to build
her self-esteem. Do not blame her.

Activity
Drama

1

Divide into four single sex groups. Ask each
group to act a short role-play to show a
situation where someone like them has an
unplanned pregnancy or impregnates
someone. Try to make up different
situations.

2

Ask the group: What choices do the girl,
the father of the pregnancy and the
families have now?

3 Get into four single sex groups and give each
group one of the following choices; abortion or
having the baby.
Ask one group to prepare a role-play to show
the choice working out well and one to show
it working out badly.

4 Perform the role-plays. Perform the good and

bad role-plays for one choice first and discuss
them. Then perform the other choice and
discuss.
Ask:

▲ What are the good and bad points about this
choice?
▲ If a person makes this choice, what can
everyone do to make sure that it works out
as well as possible?
For example, if abortion is the choice, the girl,
boy and families would have to find enough
money to get a safe abortion.
If the girl has the baby, she should be able to go
back to school, the father of the baby and
their families should be able to support the girl
and raise her self-esteem.
what people learned from the
5 Ask
session. Summarise the main learning
points.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
The modules/lesson plans compiled in this document were taken from the following online resources:
Mobilising Communities on Young People’s Health and Rights: an advocacy training guide, Family Care
International, 2008
Volunteer Manual and Training Curriculum for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
Counselling/Education, Healthy Child Manitoba, 2006
Reproductive Health Awareness: a wellness, self-care approach, Centre for Development and Population
Activities, 2003
Life Planning Education: A Youth Development, Advocates for Youth
Sexuality and Life-Skills, International HIV/AIDS Alliance
ReCapp: Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. http://recapp.etr.org/recapp/
It’s All ONE Curriculum. www.itsallone.org

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Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA)
The Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association is
a non government organisation which is dedicated
to the positive sexual health for all people in
Guyana. Through awareness, education, and health
services based in a confidential and friendly
environment, the Association promotes individual
choice, family planning and quality Sexual and
Reproductive Health services. The GRPA is also an
advocate for sexual and reproductive rights,
demanding full human rights for all people to live
with dignity.
GRPA was founded in 1973 as an educational,
training and family planning institution. In 1995, the
Association embarked on a more holistic approach
to Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights. In 2014
the GRPA merged with the Family Planning
Association of Guyana and striving to fully meet the
sexual and reproductive needs of the people of
Guyana. Today it is recognized as a leading SRH
organization, providing efficient and optimum SRH
services and serves to educate, inform, assist and
advocate for sexual and reproductive rights.

The GRPA is a Member Association of the
International Planned Parenthood Federation
(IPPF). It has Special Consultative Status with the UN
Economic and Social Council and is a recipient of a
National Award - the Medal of Service (for service
of a consistently high standard).
Vision
All people in Guyana live in an environment where
they are free to make healthy choices about their
sexuality and wellbeing, and to access quality sexual
and reproductive health services.
Mission
GRPA is a leading provider and enabler of sexual
and reproductive health services and an advocate of
sexual and reproductive rights.
Values
The guiding principles of GRPA’s work are: Integrity
and Accountability, Social inclusivity, Diversity,
Equality, Volunteerism, Commitment to Service,
Love, Justice, Quality, Respect and Resourcefulness.

Youth Advocacy Movement (YAM)
The GRPA has a Youth Advocacy Movement which comprises a cadre of young people who are
working together for the development of themselves and their peers
Key objectives of YAM

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To increase the knowledge and skills of young people on sexual and reproductive health and
rights so that they can be equipped to make wise choices and to live healthy lifestyles.
To strengthen the capacity of young people to advocate and promote adolescent sexual and
reproductive health rights and to equally participate as active citizens in the society.

GRPA SERVICES
COUNSELING
Psychosocial Support GRPA believes in the importance of maintaining good mental health and well being for
individuals. A major focus of our department is the provision of psychological and social support for persons,
couples, families, etc, who require assistance. We have trained Counselors, Social Worker and Volunteers, who
provide counseling, support and empowerment services to persons through different mediums -face to face or
telephone
EDUCATION
Information and Education- We work with diverse groups to promote SRHR education to develop positive and
enabling Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSAs). This is done through community awareness sessions, outreach,
and one on one or Peer Education, to enhance lives. We work closely with multiple partners and stakeholders,
including Faith Based Organizations, Guyana police Force, Health Care Providers, among others, to conduct
information and empowerment sessions with formal and non formal groups to promote awareness of SRHR.
GRPA works with youth -in and out of school-, adults, marginalized groups, Faith Based organization (FBOs),
corporations, etc, providing information around self, sexuality, family planning, Gender Based Violence (GBV),
health and other social and health issues. Much of our work serves to empower persons to access services, as
well as live full, healthy and meaningful lives.
OUTREACH
GRPA works across Guyana to promote safe and healthy lifestyles for persons. We work in different settings and
adapt our approach to meet the needs of persons and communities. We continue to conduct mobile medical
clinics and information outreaches across Guyana, working in different settings.
In our outreach activities, we usually conduct community walk about, where we meet persons on the streets and
at their homes. We also, work at public events and set up satellite tables at various locations to provide services
and information. We take the information and services to the people.
ADVOCACY
Advocacy plays a key role in determining and shaping an enabling environment where legislation, policies and
programmes address and meet the needs of citizens. GRPA works with partners and stakeholders, to influence
the decision making process within social, political, economic systems and institutions. We work at the
community, national, regional and international levels to lobby state and non state actors, to promote policies,
programmes, legislation OR initiatives that serve citizens.

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