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Let’s talk about sex

IMAGE: Screen grab of one of the videos on sexual orientation
IMAGE: Screen grab of one of the videos on sexual orientation

Are you a kid? Do you worry about having sex and talking to your parents about it? It is probably not easy for parents to have “the talk” either. Marie Stopes South Africa — which offers safe abortions and support to men and women for “healthier sexual lives” - have just released animated videos to help children and parents.

Marie Stopes has partnered with the online series AMAZE to produce the short educational clips centering around sex and reproductive health. The series tackles the tough questions that young people may have about their changing bodies and sexuality among other things.

AMAZE started out in the US‚ and is now being adapted for the South African market. Among the adaptations are translations into Afrikaans and Xhosa and the inclusion of country-specific public health contexts.

Whitney Chinogwenya‚ Brand and Communications Manager for Marie Stopes‚ said: “The South African AMAZE series hopes to be a resource for 10-14 year olds to help them navigate their adolescence with accurate‚ age appropriate information about sexuality that’s presented in an educating and entertaining way.”

The videos are designed to serve two main purposes. Firstly‚ it can help serve as a natural segue into conversations with parents and family members that can often turn awkward and uncomfortable for many.

“The series creates the opportunity for fun‚ youth-friendly tools to help start these conversations earlier‚ with tweens and teens‚ in a way that resonates with their everyday experiences‚” Chinogwenya said.

Secondly‚ the videos provide real‚ age-appropriate information to help prepare young people for experiences they may encounter in the future.

Emphasis has been placed on HIV/Aids because it is so prevalent in South Africa. According to UNAIDS‚ about 7.1 million people in the country were living with the disease in 2016.

Since the launch on November 1‚ the videos have not gained much traction online yet — the most viewed content-related video has just 95 views. But focus group feedback from young people‚ parents‚ and educators was positive‚ indicating that they are important and relevant.

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