Changing Attitude England is supporting an application by Uche, the Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, to attend a sexuality leadership development programme being held in Lagos from 17 to 30 July 2011. It’s a surprise to discover such a programme being organized in one of the most virulently anti-gay countries in Africa where the Anglican Church is at the forefront of a campaign to condemn and reject homosexuality.
The programme is part of a Ford Foundation initiative held under the auspices of the Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre (ARSRC), established in 2003 and “aimed at giving visibility, depth and legitimacy to the field of sexuality.”
The programme will address contemporary sexuality issues and emerging best practice in policy and programming for sexual well-being in Africa. The curriculum focuses on sexuality, sexual health and rights, sexual diversity, pleasure, HIV/AIDS and vulnerabilities, gender and violence against women.
The ARSRC initiative recognises that since the late 1990s, there has been a steady rise around the world of political conservatism and religious fundamentalism that has tended to create a climate of repression, stigma, social criticism and negative moralization around sexuality issues.
Within the same period, there has also been a counteracting trend especially in Africa and some other parts of the developing world, of a growing desire for more open and realistic discussion of sexuality issues as a result of the triple epidemics of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, and abortion-related deaths that disproportionately affect young people.
Changing Attitude Nigeria is one of the few Christian organisations working on the ground in Nigeria and Kenya (with Integrity Uganda) focusing on engaging reluctant Churches with the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Leaders such as Uche will benefit significantly from this programme which is structured to promote the sharing of ideas, teambuilding and collaborative work among participants.
The goal of the ARSRC
ARSRC’s goal is to promote more informed and affirming public dialogue on human sexuality and to contribute to positive changes in the emerging field of sexuality in Africa, by creating mechanisms for learning at the regional level.
The Global Dialogue on Sexual Health and Well-being Initiative emerged out of the need to promote more informed and affirming public dialogue on human sexuality and to contribute to positive changes in relevant policies and programs, by creating mechanisms for learning and advocacy at local, regional and global levels.
Action Health Incorporated, a Nigeria-based non-governmental organization is hosting the centre. Activities under the initiative focus on four of the most populous countries in Africa: Egypt (North Africa), Kenya (East Africa), Nigeria (West Africa) and South Africa (Southern Africa).