ENGAGING RURAL YOUNG PEOPLE
The SHOUT initiative aims to provide simple and practical ways to foster young people’s involvement, to listen to their perspectives and experiences and to be guided by them in ways to improve sexual health information, resources and supports.
It is now well recognised that an approach that promotes positive values for young people and their sexuality will help create conditions in which good sexual health can flourish. This calls for workers that engage with young people to:
encourage skill development to make informed and ethical decisions
avoid an emphasis on disease and risk - instead focus on rights to access services to maintain sexual health and taking care of self and others when it comes to relationships
acknowledge that sexual and reproductive health is challenging for people of all ages to discuss - our diverse cultures, abilities, sexualities, faiths, family and community contexts and attitudes play a key role
challenge stereotypes and discrimination and open up opportunities for young people to discuss these issues
Below we have provided an outline of an engagement activity that CERSH has successful facilitated, as well as some recommended resources to assist in starting conversations with young people about sexual health.
Contact CERSH for help and information on engaging with the young people you work with.
CREATIVE FOCUS GROUP ACTIVITY
What is the activity?
Using mock-ups of sexual health posters as a basis for discussion, facilitators encourage the group of young people to write and draw on the posters with suggestions for changes and improvements to the design and messages. The group can be prompted with questions like:
What is the message in the poster telling young people to do? Are young people in this town likely to do this?
Are posters appropriate ways to get these messages out there for young people to see?
Where would you put these posters in your community for young people to see?
What settings would suit this activity?
Schools, youth groups, youth council, flexible learning centres
What is the objective of this activity?
To encourage discussion and engagement with issues around sexual health, treatment and testing and preventive behaviours.
SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE IN SEXUAL HEALTH
LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS
Developed as a teaching resource with activities exploring relationships, sexual consent, equity and sexual and reproductive health. The content can also be used across other settings to engage young people.
The resource includes age-appropriate lesson plans; fun videos to use with young people; videos of teaching tips; and links to the Australian Curriculum - HPE.
PLAY SAFE PRO
Developed by the NSW Government, this website has some great tools, fact sheets, activities and protocols for working with young people around sexual health.
Includes fun games, quizzes and activities to help start positive conversations about sexual health.
BITS & BODS
Bits and Bods is a web series targeted at teen girls and gender diverse teens about sex, bodies and all the awkward bits in between.
There are currently seven episodes in the series and they are great conversation starters for youth groups or diversity groups.