about sex, Design mapping, infographic, sex, Sex education, Uncategorized

Giga Map

To paint a clearer picture of the situation of sex and sexuality education in India and the world today, we decided to use the metaphor of lamp posts on the riverside.

Considering the fact that sex, sexuality and all related terms have been shoved into the darkest corners of our rooms and away from our children, whether at home or at school, we want these lamp posts to stress on our belief that light needs to be shed onto these corners, conversations regarding these topics and issues need to be started by us all.

And only when we turn the lights on will we see how good or bad sexuality education can potentially affect us, and this is where the riverside comes in. The actions of the facilitators and givers of sex ed will clearly reflect on the actions of the receivers of sex ed, and any inept guidance will in turn make inept givers and facilitators out of them.
And similarly, our process of ideation using our GMTN cards at the bottom is a reflection of sexuality education’s current scenario at the top. After looking at the sex ed policies and relevant data of various countries, we came to the conclusion that spreading awareness among the receivers should be our primary objective, and using our ideation process we reached eight different approaches that can make that happen.

giga map finished vertical

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Around the World

We found out what the rest of the world is doing, regarding sexuality education.

world map 2

So to put it concisely:

  • The first world countries seem to be letting parents decide whether their children should receive sex education or not.
  • Puberty and adolescence, contraception, STIs, menstruation and the anatomical aspects of reproduction are prevalent in most sex education modules. Everything else varies from being non-existent to unnecessary.
  • Governments with strong ties with religious institutions have implemented and actively supported pro-abstinence sex education.
  • Oceania – Strong age-appropriate frameworks prevalent, has teacher and parent specific guidelines too.
  • The Indian Sub-Continent – Very superficial; influenced by various religions, pro-abstinence, only based on biological aspects of reproduction and STI prevention.
  • South-East Asia – Modern and unorthodox, undergoing periodic curriculum revisions, age-appropriate topics.
  • Africa – Mostly about AIDS prevention, educational institutions and NGOs have formed partnerships.
  • Eastern Europe – Lacking, very basic; heavily influenced by the church.
  • Central Europe – Comprehensive, well structured and supportive; empowering for the students.
  • United Kingdom – Not structured at all, several important topics are considered ‘unnecessary’ for discussion.
  • North America – Varies according to state/province, influenced by the church, has two modules (abstinence only and abstinence plus).
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about sex, research, sex, Sex education, system design

Research, Round III

10th October 2015 : Kishori Shakti Yojana Centre

The Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) scheme is a redesign of the already existing Adolescent Girls Scheme being implemented in Ahmedabad as a component under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

We visited a KSY Centre on Saturday along with a few NGO workers from Manav Sadhna. Each centre is managed by a main teacher along with an assistant teacher, with 20 to 25 girls between the age of 11 and 18 as participants. They use the existing ICDS infrastructure. Their activities aim to improve the nutritional health and development status of adolescent girls. The proliferation of awareness regarding health, hygiene, nutrition and family care is done verbally with the help of illustrative books. Some sessions are accompanied by music and prayers. Lessons are revised by holding quizzes and playing games such as card games and snakes & ladders, adding an element of fun to their learning.

Out of all the different aids and props they use to explain concepts, the most fascinating one was an apron, on which female reproductive organs were drawn, which one teacher would wear while the other explained.

The centre also had a small temple, and the girls were influenced by its presence, and in fact they wanted photographs with the idol. Only the elder girls who were married had a cell phone. The younger ones had no access to the internet, yet they were well aware of the concept of selfies and even requested for one with us! Also, it was surprising that these girls had similar television watching habits (in terms of channels and shows) as the school girls belonging to middle class households whom we had spoken to earlier.

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Insights

  1. For economically backward households, sexuality is even more of a “dirty” topic.
  2. The first reaction when a diagram of the vagina was shown was to look away in disgust. Even after marriage a few were hesitant to accept that they menstruate.
  3. Sexual revolution has yet not reached the far and narrow corners of Indian society.
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about sex, research, sex, Sex education

Research, Round II

9th October 2015 : Diwan Ballubhai Senior Secondary School

Our second destination was a high school close to our college. This was our first experience of speaking to young adults; we were very shy to ask them any questions initially, due to our own stigmas. However, once we became comfortable with our approach, we realised that the students were interested in talking about the topic and were themselves coming up to us and participating.

We were lucky to catch the students outside school at such a time since their exams had just gotten over. We spoke to a bunch of students from class X and XII, coming from simple, lower middle class Gujarati families. While speaking to the boys, we found out that they speak about sex extensively, but only among themselves. They don’t speak to girls about it. On being asked if they watch porn, most of them said yes and one of them mentioned that since they will need to be participants in the act of intercourse later in life, they might as well watch porn and learn from it. This response showed us how young adults feel about unfiltered information that they receive on the internet. They also told us that they sometimes ask sex-related questions to their female classmates, and were extremely shy and mischievous about it.

On speaking to the girls, we found out that they knew about menstruation but were very shy to talk about anything related to sex and sexuality. We identified a huge difference in the respective outlooks of the boys and the girls. Most of them owned smartphones and were active on Facebook and watched Hindi TV serials.

Insights

  1. Girls and boys despite receiving the same education in school had separate views on sexuality.
  2. Boys were more at ease while the girls shied away from it, since any inquisitiveness on a woman’s part is met with scorn and contempt.
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about sex, Make it normal, sex, Sex education

Research, Round I

8th October 2015 : Better We Institute of Psychiatry

Listen_DaVinci_esque

Our first visit was to a psychiatrist to understand the cases and the clinical way of dealing with sex education. The age group of patients ranged from 5 to 25 and were usually accompanied by their parents. The amplitude of issues varied an IT professional who refused to get married when she found out about the exact physical act of sex at the age of 28.

The psychiatrist pointed out an alarming issue of how parents allow their children to sleep with them. They would indulge in the act of sexual intercourse assuming the child is asleep. Yet a number of children do witness this and develop distorted ideas about the act and the people involved.

The first rule of treatment is to listen and understand what and how much they know. Then group discussions and one to one therapy are employed to explain the morals and responsibility that comes with sexuality.The framework also involves enabling better communication between the parents and their children.

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Data Days I

Over the past two weeks we devoured articles, blogs, websites, ted talks and educational videos, and tried put together everything we knew. Assimilating and analysing what we came across became our second mammoth task. Hours of indecision, arguments and discussions finally helped us put a semblance of order to the vast amount of information we had gathered.

This is what it looked like.

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