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New Digital Ways of Delivering Sex Education: A Practice Perspective

Future Health Systems

Waldman L and Amazon-Brown I (2017) New Digital Ways of Delivering Sex Education: A Practice Perspective, IDS Bulletin, Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/1968-2017.104


This article explores new, under-researched genres of sex education for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa resulting from access to the internet through mobile phones. It examines the history of developing online health information platforms tailored for youth through the experiences of digital developers and the reflections of users. Unlike traditional sources of sex education, the internet offers portability, anonymity, informality, ‘personalised’ responses, and the ability to interact with peers who are not local or part of face-to-face networks.

This article draws on a literature review, complemented by qualitative and quantitative material generated by Every1Mobile in its production of online health communities for young people. We found massive enthusiasm for online sex education in Africa but little knowledge about how young people use, perceive and respond to this. We recommend that practitioners, funders and researchers invest more in understanding not only the many fantastic opportunities associated with digital sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information, but also the interwoven contradictions, challenges and potential for misuse.