Rachel Goldstein, Brooke Porter, and Anita Dabirzadeh took part in the Rwanda: Culture, Society and Reconstruction course, French 3140B, in May-June 2015. These outstanding Western undergraduate students went on to win the 2015 World's Challenge Challenge with their idea of enhancing sexual health education and learning about consent in Rwanda.
"[In summer 2015], our team spent 6 weeks working with various NGOs in Kigali, Rwanda as part of a community engagement learning course through Western University. Through this experience, we had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with hundreds of children and youth in Rwanda. One common theme that we noticed was the significant lack of sexual health education and a complete absence of consent education in their school curriculums. We saw that when sexual health was taught, it was often fragmented and left the youth with many questions and nowhere to turn to for answers. Moreover, it was clear that the country was dealing with the problem of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections reactively, after they had already happened, rather than proactively."
"We also observed that the topic of sexual health, while not exactly a taboo, was one that parents did not feel comfortable discussing with their own children. As such, we believe that schools should be the venue where this important information is clearly and correctly taught to youth. Through discussion with various school administrators, we came to understand that teachers would be willing to teach this subject as part of their curriculum however they lacked the resources and the training to do so. For example, a high school biology teacher that we had contact with was very interested to teach this subject in his classroom but he had personally not been taught the information to adequately do so."
"As such, we wish to create a comprehensive curriculum that teachers can use to educate themselves on sexual health and consent."