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“Training of trainers” for teachers of Turkestan region has taken place in Shymkent. Teachers of Sayram, Keless, Maktaaral and Saryagash rayons (“districts”) and the cities of Shymkent, Turkestan and Zhetysay met to learn how to deliver courses in “Valeology” with an extended curriculum on reproductive health and the equality of women and men. The UN Population Fund helped enrich the “Valeology” course with new content as part of the project designed to promote the empowerment of girls in the Turkestan region. This project is being realized with support from the British Embassy in Kazakhstan.

The purpose of the meeting was to equip teachers to deliver the “Valeology” course in their schools and colleges. The new course has a number of new chapters, with a focus on gender equality, promoting non-violence in family and exploring ways of countering gender-based violence, child and forced marriages.

“Nowadays many adults and young people don’t know how to lead a healthy life. As a result, they get infections and fall ill. That’s why all of us should get adequate access to health-related information. Trainings like this one help spread that knowledge. There should be more such trainings to cover as many people as possible,” said teacher Gulnara Manzurova from Sayram district.

“This is a much needed course. Unfortunately, even parents largely don’t understand how to talk about sexual and reproductive health with their children. So, it is also important to convey this knowledge to parents of adolescent children. What you’re doing is very useful,” said teacher Zabira Amanova.

Turkestan region had the fifth highest number (9,3%) of girls aged 15 to 19 who were in official or unofficial marriage in 2015, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.[1] Once married at a young age, a girl often falls into the vicious cycle of poverty: once married, girls often drop out of school, without proper education they can’t find a job, become poor, develop health problems, tend to fall into dependence on their partners. Besides, children of mothers who married early often repeat their mothers’ destiny.

“Teenage years are often the time of risky behaviour. Unfortunately, sometimes consequences of such behaviour can be unprotected sexual relations and sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies. Age-appropriate sexuality education equips young people with knowledge how to protect themselves from these risks. We also put a lot of emphasis on the equality of women and men, boys and girls. We do this because girls run an additional risk of child marriage, which then undermines their opportunities in life,” said Raimbek Sissemaliyev, Assistant Representative of UNFPA Kazakhstan.

Previous results of the trial run of the course in a number of regions of Kazakhstan showed that adolescents in one of the groups who had the course decided to postpone the start of sexual life (4,3%). In the group where adolescents didn’t have the course the number of students who started early sexual relations went up by 10%.


[1] Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Kazakhstan 2015