In Honduras, a platform called Nosotras Lideramos (We Lead) unites 14 human rights organizations. Its mission is to improve young women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights through nationwide awareness-raising strategies. We interviewed the national coordinator of Nosotras Lideramos, Ligia Destephen and et Andrea Rosales, project manager.
How would you define “comprehensive sex education”?
Comprehensive sex education is an educational process that teaches children and teenagers cognitive, emotional, physical, and social concepts of sexuality. It is based on a step-by-step approach using scientific information. Most importantly, it must be age-appropriate for every phase of human development.
Why is it so important to provide comprehensive sex education?
Comprehensive sex education ensures that children and teenagers learn everything they need to thrive in society. By teaching sexual and reproductive health in a rounded approach, children and teenagers are given the best information to make healthy, responsible, and well-informed decisions that impact their lives.
It also helps students prevent sexually transmitted infections, identify the right people to turn to in cases of sexual violence, build healthier relationships by expressing their feelings, and reject all forms of discrimination.
What is advocated by the Ley de Educación Integral de Prevención al Embarazo Adolescente (Comprehensive Education for the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy Act) approved by the Honduran National Congress in March 2023?
This law promotes the teaching of comprehensive education to prevent teen pregnancy using a rights-based approach at all levels of the educational system. It also emphasizes the importance of including teenagers along the way and having them take part in every decision-making process regarding prevention strategies.
The UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA) reports that Honduras has Latin America’s second-highest teen pregnancy rate. This situation calls for a coordinated response from various stakeholders to help teenagers prevent unwanted pregnancies and guarantee their access to diversified opportunities for entertainment, work, and social life.
Do you consider the law to be satisfactory?
This law is undeniably a big step forward for Honduras, and we are fortunate it was approved. But the decisive milestone will be when its regulations are published. That is when we will indeed be confident that the law is sufficiently comprehensive to meet the needs of our youth. As such, the upcoming regulations and educational guidelines must be closely monitored to ensure they reflect a commitment to achieving equality and non-discrimination.
How can we ensure that the law is effectively implemented now that it has been approved? And what role will you play in its implementation?
As a civil society organization, we are watching this law’s progress with great vigilance to anticipate its publication in the Official Gazette of Honduras. Once it gets published, we will have to wait another two months until the drafting of the regulations. In sum, as long as the law is not published, its regulations will not be enforced across the country’s different educational systems. We are working in teams to create an environment conducive to implementing the law via communication, awareness-raising, and advocacy.
Andrea Rosales, Feminists in action project manager.
It is imperative that civil society oversees the enforcement of this law and assists the government, the schools, and the parents so that this ambition does not become a dead letter but rather translates into real action that positively impacts the lives of students and the Honduran society.