Sexuality education remains a taboo topic in Nepal

With children and young people being so vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence, misinformation about sex and gender roles, the need for comprehensive sexuality education is crucial. That's why in Nepal, YUWA is working to promote comprehensive sexuality education as a vehicle for social change.

February 20, 2023 by Shreya Shrestha, YUWA
4 minutes read
Credit: YUWA

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is often looked at and judged upon from an angle of social norms, morals and traditions. This is wrong. It should be looked at from an educational, skill building point of view, which is context relevant and specific.

Shrouded in shame and secrecy, the stigma and taboo around comprehensive sexuality education make it difficult to initiate and engage in conversations about it.

Schools and parents, two major sources of information for young people while growing up, tend to avoid or shy away from discussing these issues. They fear that the more the information given, the more likely it is that young people will experiment and engage in sexual behavior, even if there is no evidence or studies to support this claim.

CSE is needed for all children and youth around the world

The need for CSE is not particular to any specific country, region or age group. Children and young people all around the globe are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence, misinformation about sex, gender roles, relationships, sexuality and much more.

These limitations or restrictions take away young people’s agency, compromising their chance at living up to their fullest potential.

Be it information on changing bodies, puberty, sex, sexual and reproductive rights, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender roles, consent, sexual harassment and gender-based violence, too many young people do not have access to accurate and reliable information and services that enable informed decision making.

Comprehensive sexuality education is key to create avenues for resources and discussion spaces on sexuality and related issues. Three areas should be prioritized:

  1. Young people in all their diversity should be included in the process of developing and updating CSE curriculum regularly, to ensure it responds to their specific needs.
  2. We need to scale up all types of CSE that are engaging for young people, curated from a human centered approach with youth-friendly teaching and learning methodologies, including on digital channels. But at the same time not forgetting the value of non-digital learning.
  3. We must be strategic in how we promote CSE: we must tailor interventions and advocacy to actors who are open to CSE but not yet committed. We need to focus on our allies and build our network to create demand for CSE from the ground up.

Actions by Nepal youth to improve and promote CSE

YUWA in Nepal has been working in this sector for over a decade with many interventions aimed at creating and enabling young people as change makers and leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), while at the same time holding government agencies accountable.

Part of our work entailed developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Nepalese national CSE program based on UNESCOs Sexuality Education and Review Assessment Tool and we were the first organization to conduct an assessment of the national CSE program beyond an analysis of the curriculum.

The framework can be used to monitor the whole system for CSE coverage by a team of people from across multiple bodies, including from within the government, the UN, with youth led organizations and CSOs.

And the comments received in the framework can be used for developing an action plan to guide the curriculum revision process.

This, combined with the country profiles just released by UNESCO and the Global Education Monitoring Report on the PEER website show the policies that each country has in place on CSE, which can be used to compare like for like in other contexts and regions.

YUWA is also focusing on the digitalization of CSE to improve sustainability of the work. This means creating free e-learning courses, which are context specific, and are fun and innovative while making sure that they are accessible to people living with disabilities with features such as sign language interpretations, text to speech plugins, subtitles in videos, language options, etc.

This also led to us to create a website dedicated to answering young people’s most innate and nuanced topics on CSE and SRHR - the first of its kind in Nepal. The aim is to promote open, honest and judgment-free information.

We also regularly organize peer-to-peer education classes with schools and teach the contents that our national curriculum does not cover. We have a special memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of education to develop teaching and learning materials in CSE for these events.

We are also supporting the ministries of health and education to create implementation guidelines for national adolescent and health strategies focused on CSE.

We believe that comprehensive sexuality education is a vehicle for social change. It has the power to foster a new generation of young people who believe in bodily autonomy, healthy relationships, affirming each other’s identities, and building a stronger community of connection and respect.

In a time as uncertain and challenging as this, it’s crucial that we focus on naming and shaming the society-shifting power of sexuality education.


  • Read the PEER country profiles on comprehensive sexuality education.
  • Read the paper on countries’ policies and legislation on CSE.
  • Watch Shreya’s inputs into the launch webinar for the CSE PEER profiles.

Related blogs

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Global and entity tokens are replaced with their values. Browse available tokens.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.