Replicable, scalable, high-quality comprehensive sexuality education programs are few and far between.
Yet since 2013, Projet Jeune Leader has grown from reaching 2,700 students a year, to nearly 30,000, with holistic, youth-led comprehensive sexuality education. And during this time, we have gotten closer to building a model that can scale for lasting, transformational impact in Madagascar.
Building and harnessing communities' support for sexuality education is a critical part of this model.
As our program and organization has grown, we have developed, tested, and integrated key strategies to improve our transparency, responsiveness, and overall accountability to the youth and schools where we work. These strategies help us build lasting, trusting relationships with students, parents, teachers, and school officials. Importantly, they also prevent and address misconceptions and misunderstandings about sexuality education within our partner communities.
Now, our youth-founded, youth-led, and youth-centered organization works across three regions of Madagascar. We sustain and expand our program each school year because of positive word-of-mouth and high demand, especially from increasingly hard-to-reach rural communities.
Excitingly, by documenting this support and demand from communities, we were able to secure an official partnership agreement with the national Ministry of Education in late 2020. This unprecedented partnership clears a path for us to deliver our program in any school across the island.
Partnerships at the national level like this are rare, given the sensitivity and resistance surrounding sexuality education. However, for the past eight years we have demonstrated the positive impact of our model on Madagascar's public schools, as well as shown that our approach deeply resonates with local communities.
Officially partnering with the national Ministry of Education is an important step in our journey to national institutionalization of sexuality education. Our vision is ambitious, but we believe that we can bring the highest-quality comprehensive sexuality education to an entire country of youth who need it most, enabling an entire generation to achieve their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“You are leading the charge in the Vakinankaratra, Amoron’i Mania, and Haute Matsiatra regions – and that is already important. Our hope is that you expand throughout Madagascar and we welcome your initiative to do so because it is really needed.
We are happy to see youth and women take responsibility in [the field of] education. We hope that each of you will have a long life, that Projet Jeune Leader will have strength and vigor and be implemented long into the future, that it will continue to grow and develop, and that cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Projet Jeune Leader will also last.”
- National Minister of Education, Speech at partnership convention,