, 24 May, 2020 / 11:25 AM
Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have renewed their opposition to the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the country in an online campaign that aims at collecting at least ten thousand signatures from Kenyans.
The Bishops are “totally opposed to CSE,” Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki who heads the Commission for Education of KCCB that is spearheading the campaign told ACI Africa Friday, May 22, cautioning that if the program is included in the education curriculum in Kenya, it “will bring in lesbians, gays and that is going to destroy our country.”
“We believe that we should teach our children the values and virtues,” Bishop Kariuki who is the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Embu diocese said and added, “If you look at the CSE, it is so dirty that if we go that way, we are going to destroy the moral fiber of our country.”
It is an online campaign that the Bishops have undertaken in collaboration with Family Watch, a UN-affiliated organization.
“We are collecting online signatures to pressure the government to pull out our country from the CSE commitment,” the Bishops in Kenya stated in a May 22 Facebook post that also indicates that the campaign seeks to collect “at least ten thousand (10,000) online signatures.”
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has defined CSE as a rights-based and gender-focused approach to sexuality education that includes information about contraception, sexually transmitted infections, childbirth, human rights violation, including gender-based violence and sexual abuse, human development as well as reproductive health.
The Kenyan government signed a declaration committing to scale up comprehensive rights-based sexuality education beginning in primary schools in 2013.
However, the “Stop CSE” online campaign is opposed to the curriculum saying it “is one of the greatest assaults on the health and innocence of children.”
“CSE runs counter to Kenya’s cultural values,” the Bishops in Kenya underscore, explaining that the proposed curriculum “gives children the right to decide when and with whom to have sex and it also promotes harmful gender identity ideology, sexual promiscuity and abortion.”
The Bishops also argue that CSE takes a “controversial rights-based rather than health-based approach to sex education and that such a curriculum places emphasis on “sexual rights” over “sexual health.”
“Rolling out CSE without prior parental involvement, guidance and approval violates well-established parental rights,” the Bishops says and add that such a move “violates the rights of parents who were not consulted.”
“The research UN agencies use to claim CSE is effective and will prevent teen pregnancy and STDs including HIV and that abstinence education is ineffective has recently been thoroughly discredited in a global study,” the Bishops further say.
“We call on parents to support this initiative because at the end of the day, these are their children and what they will be taught is not going to help them tomorrow,” Bishop Kariuki told ACI Africa.
CSE has been rejected in different African nations including Ghana where Catholic Bishops described the curriculum as “a subtle way to introduce homosexuality to school-going children.”
In Kenya, the leaders of the Catholic Church and other religious bodies had previously opposed the introduction of CSE syllabus. These efforts have not been fruitful, Bishop Kariuki told ACI Africa, adding, “When struggling, you don’t expect everyone to come on board.”
He explained, “The people supporting the CSE are heavily funded. They use the power of the money to force this into our curriculum. They force it not through the best method, but through a corrupt way.”
“It is not just a question of education, but through it (CSE), the consumer will also make those industries benefit,” the 57-year-old Prelate said and added, “if you look at all the things the young people will consume, the question is who benefits from this?”
He cautioned Kenyans against the tendency to embrace “everything that comes from outside nations” explaining that “if we get everything from outside, they will destroy us and we will not have a good society.”
As an alternative to CSE, Bishop Kariuki said the Education Commission he is heading has developed a different syllabus in collaboration with the curriculum developers in the country.
“We have a lot of material for primary and secondary together with the curriculum developers,” he told ACI Africa May 22.
The World Youth Alliance, which is collaborating with the Bishops in the latest campaign against CSE has also proposed a Human-Dignity based Curriculum (HDC) that aims at helping young people gain “an understanding of who they are, who they can become and on to behavioral changes.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa