Chilean Youth Given a Forum
to Discuss Their Sexuality

Box 25

In Chile, which has one of the highest rates of illegal abortion in Latin America, the non-governmental organization Education for Improving the Quality of Life has created a forum where young people can discuss their feelings and sexuality, and receive the information they need to understand their fertility and make informed choices about sexuality and childbearing.

The NGO programme (known by its Spanish acronym, JOCAS), organizes group discussions of 20 people or fewer. The dialogues cover a range of previously taboo topics (including the use of condoms and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases). Participants are encouraged to share information, explore prevailing attitudes, discuss their values, and express their doubts, anxieties and questions about sexuality. Facilitators are trained to encourage participation and to respect silences during the two-hour dialogues. Questions are noted and answered the following day by nurses, psychologists and clerics.

The UNFPA-supported programme started in several regions in 1995. It was expanded in 1996 and now covers most of the country.

Source: “La Nueva EducaciĆ³n Sexual del Estado,” Reportajes (Santiago), 8 September 1996