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Sex Education Crosses Genders, Generations, Conflict Zones, and Goal Lines

Mothers and daughters learn about sexual and reproductive health, teach the fathers and sons, and educate their communities in the DRC.

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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

Intergenerational attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health: High esteem for elders in Congolese culture means traditions - harmful and healthy - hold fast to daily practices and beliefs. A result of this is a severe lack of education and access to information about sexual health, compounded by gender inequalities making girls and women the farthest from the information meant to serve their interests. Masculine culture where a man is defined by how many children he has: Such expectations for men to tally their babies and for women to provide their bodies for the purpose of reproduction without question and often without the means to support all the children have severe effects on the health of communities.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

How can we create a safe space for the mothers and daughters to lead the men of their community through the activities and discussions? If the men resist how can we adjust so everyone can benefit? How can we better support the women and girls to continue leading and pursuing information about their bodies beyond the scope of the project?

Explain Your Idea

The ASK for Choice program is designed by our local partners around the world. Their insight into the unique challenges of their communities fuels every activity, every policy, every discussion. CAC's Self-Directed learning model equips our team with the skills to create spaces for experiential and participatory learning, elevating the solutions of the community leaders and partners we team up with in over 40 countries. ASK for Choice takes a step in the direction of women and girls in order to amplify their voices and create opportunities where women, men, and communities can make more responsible choices. This particular ASK for Choice project in Lubumbashi, DRC will expand on past years partnering with Malaika. Together we've built a strong infrastructure working with their leaders and educators at their all girls school in order to use unique curriculum as a tool for empowerment. What we've learned over the years working and sharing this space with the Lubumbashi community is how much of an influence the older generations carry with them, and how, at times, that power limits the progress of the wider community. If daughters need health services, they first need the information. In order to get this information they need cultural permission so that it is a safe decision. This project will inform and equip mothers and daughters with the knowledge and skills to confidently and responsibly make choices about their bodies, and then create space for them to teach the men.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

1 - ASK for Choice curriculum and methodology will equip female community leaders - old and young - with localized Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge to make healthy and responsible Choices for themselves and future generations. 2 - This project will unite generations in order to move collectively towards a healthier community where women, men, girls, and boys have information about sexual and reproductive health, awareness of services that exist in the community, and spaces to discuss and challenge harmful traditions, myths, and stereotypes. 3 - During the ASK for Choice training and year-round programming these leaders will design, develop, and implement specific and actionable policies that address sexual health issues

How is your idea unique?

CAC is an organization uniquely positioned to bring this idea to life. Our near decade of experience with a network of thousands of organizations across six continents paired with our constant questioning and challenging of ourselves and our realities affords us the capacity to deliver on this project. We prioritize asking questions and local solutions in everything we do. We believe in the power of play to inspire inclusive, healthy human interaction regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, financial means, etc. We have extensive experience working in communities where sexual education is considered taboo and after two days on a CAC field, these same communities are discussing the benefits of using condoms. We know this idea is unique because it sits at an intersection of sport, health, education, community, gender, tradition, age and partnership. Other organizations do not have the curriculum, methodology, or relationships to make this work.

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

We still need to secure funding for this initiative. Once we do we are ready to launch. As we develop the idea with the community leaders we will look into how we can involve other local organizations, governing bodies and sports teams, and how we can develop our existing monitoring and evaluation systems to improve our ability to measure the effectiveness of ASK for Choice in this specific context.

Who are your end users?

1) Community leaders in Kalebuka, a community in Lubumbashi, will participate in year-round ASK for Choice programming. These leaders will then be the key facilitators of program delivery throughout their community and beyond. 2) Families - current and future families will be impacted by this project as women, men, girls and boys are able to make more responsible choices regarding their health and that of their families 3) Communities - Kalebuka and the Malaika school will be the model for a program that could expand across the country revolutionizing the way schools approach sexual education. This project will initially impact the families of the 275 Malaika schoolgirls.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Democratic Republic of Congo

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Armed conflict

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

There is currently uproar from the Congolese people over the “force and financial corruption” of President Kabila during his reign over the country filled with depredation, and pillaging of country resources for personal gain. Kabila has been running a government method based around threats and terror of citizens. There is an estimated 6 million people that have been killed as a result of war-induced causes, and there are countless human rights abuses,

What is your organization's name?

Coaches Across Continents Malaika

Tell us more about you.

Coaches Across Continents is a team of 10 full-time staff plus nearly 100 volunteers. We work directly with hundreds of community partners in more than 45 countries. CAC mentors organizations through our Education Outside the Classroom program to create legacies of positive social change. We have worked in the DRC for 4 years now and are invested and educated on the ongoing issues and effective ways to lift up the solutions of our local partners. The mission of Malaika is to empower Congolese girls and their communities through education. CAC has worked with Malaika for several years sharing knowledge and resources to deepen their social impact at their school and with leaders in the broader community.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Women-led organization
  • International/global organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - 1+ communities within 1 country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

Coaches Across Continents is a US (EIN:32-0249174) and UK (Charity No: 1126743) registered non-profit organization.

What is your organizational status?

  • Registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.


CAC Annual review 2016: Past work in Congo:


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