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Webinar Series on SHAPE Adolescents for ALS Learners

Adolescence is the period when boys and girls undergo enormous physical and psychological changes to become adults - a natural and healthy period in life. It is a time for boys and girls to grow and develop to their full potential in preparation for adulthood. However, many of them go through this period experiencing sexual and reproductive health problems like unwanted pregnancy as a consequence of early, unsafe or unprotected sex. For this reason, ensuring the health and well-being of adolescents remain a key development concern in the country. The Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) component of the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP) coordinated by the Commission on Population (POPCOM) is one of the country’s responses in pursuing the overall objective of contributing to the improvement and promotion of the total well-being of young people. In particular, the AHD program aims to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy through adolescent sexuality and reproductive health education and services.

This new Sexually Healthy and Personally Empowered (SHAPE) Adolescents resource material is the Commission on Population’s latest addition to the Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health (ASRH) learning package. It makes use of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) both as a principle and as an approach. As an approach, the CSE enables the adolescent learners to: a. acquire accurate information on human sexuality and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in the context of human rights; b. explore and clarify values, adopt positive attitude towards SRH, and develop self-esteem, and respect for human rights and gender equality; and c. develop and practice life skills that allow them to nurture respectful and productive relationship with family members, peers, friends, and romantic or intimate partners.

For the past seven years, through the initiative of PopDev San Juan City LGU and in partnership of DepEd SDO San Juan, the SHAPE Program continuously conducted for the benefit of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Learners.

Social Context

a. Today’s youth is studying (36%) or working (24%). However, there are others who are either idle (9%) or looking for work (7%). This means that sexual and reproductive health education should be offered both in formal and informal settings to reach as much number of older adolescents and youth.

b. Most of today’s youth rely more on the internet rather than on newspaper, television, and radio for entertainment and information. This implies that adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) education should optimize the online platforms and channels to reach out to them. It also indicates the challenge to appropriately guide adolescents in determining “right” and “wrong” information.

Health and Lifestyle

a. Young people consider themselves in good health condition, with 16 percent even giving themselves very healthy self- assessment, while 26 percent said they are healthier than average. In addition, they also find their body weight as “normal” or “alright” while 20 percent said that they feel they are too thin.

b. However, a typical diet of a young Filipino includes instant noodles, chips, grilled street food and carbonated drinks. Sixty-eight percent reported that they consume carbonated drinks at least once a week. Six in 10 have instant noodles and chips in their weekly fare while slightly more than half eat grilled street food at least once a week.

Non-Sexual Risk Behaviors

a. Smoking, drinking, and drug use while on the decline, are precursors to risky sexual behavior among adolescents.

b. Reported suicide attempts remained almost constant but actual suicide attempts increased in the past decade, by age and sex.

c. Experience of physical violence either as victim or as aggressor, is higher among the 15-19 year olds and among males. But there are more victims than aggressors. The most common aggressors are friends, classmates, romantic or sexual partners, and a parent, or a sibling. More males have been hurt by non-relatives (others, friends and classmates), while more females were hurt by relatives or people with whom they have close ties (spouse/Boyfriend/Girlfriend, parents or siblings).

Sexual Risk Behaviors

a. More young people are having sex before they reach the age of 18 years and before they are married.

b. Many of them (78%) do not use protection against unintended pregnancy and STIs.

c. Most of them acknowledge their lack of knowledge about sex particularly on the risk of conception.

Teenage Fertility

a. The proportion of 15-19-year-old females who have begun childbearing doubled in the past decade.

b. More teenage mothers are in living-in arrangements and there are also more teenage mothers who never marry.

c. Teenage mothers are mostly high school undergraduates and graduates.

d. Teenage childbearing and prevalence of premarital sex are highly correlated.

Given this situation, there is a need to intensify CSE that enables adolescents to prevent unintended pregnancy and high fertility giving them access to information and appropriate reproductive health services.

Many of the images of the youth we see today are created, shaped, influenced and perpetuated by media. Mass media casts young people either as overgrown, highly dependent children or as juvenile delinquents needing correction. Traditionally, the youth has been portrayed as happy-go-lucky, reckless, and irresponsible individuals. Contrary to such negative societal perception against adolescents, this module builds on the principle that adolescents are vital resource that provides significant contribution to national development. They have the qualities, idealism, and characteristics that can propel the country to socio-economic growth today and in the future. They are indeed vital partners in societal development. As such, there is a need to create an enabling environment for them to achieve their potentials and aspirations. There is a need to empower them in making responsible, sound, healthy, and informed choices and decisions through accurate information and services. Adults and the society, at large, serve as their partners towards growth and development.

DAY 1:Webinar Series on Sexually, Healthy and Personally Empowered (SHAPE) Adolescents for Alternative Learning System (ALS) Learners

DAY 2:Webinar Series on Sexually, Healthy and Personally Empowered (SHAPE) Adolescents for Alternative Learning System (ALS) Learners

Article Written by:

Erwin C. dela Cruz

Education Program Specialist II – ALS

Division ALS Focal Person


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