‘World starts with Me’ for UNESCO

In 2003/4 we developed and piloted  ‘The World starts with Me’ for Ugandan teenagers on issues of identity, self-expression, sexuality, teenage pregnancy and hiv/aids prevention. We really looked at the issues holistically and through various (creative) research methods delved into the lives of a typical Ugandan teenager. The resulting product you can see at www.theworldstarts.org

It’s a creative digital curriculum which uses two virtual ‘peer educators’ Rose and David to convey all the complicated issues from a teenagers perspective, it includes quizzes, games and possibly more importantly a full step by step teachers guide for doing a series of experiential activities with young people so they really reflect on their own lives, going way beyond just learning that some things are dangerous, or not good for you.

Now 7 years later this program has been translated into 5 other languages on three continents, in total there are 13 versions of the program developed (the contents fill a thick book) for different age groups, primary and older and even for HIV positive young people.

This week UNESCO ear marked the program as one of the curriculum it considers a best practice in this area, ‘an ideal program’ and it is being used as a basis for the development the UNESCO curricula guidelines worldwide. You can read more about these developments here (Dutch)

Oftentimes when we develop new approaches or programs it takes quite some convincing of our partners that the method will work or makes sense, this is the second time that it took a few years for something we developed to really get to some scale and impact level. Is this because we are a bit too early with the approach or is this the typical life cycle for new inventions. Be glad to hear other peoples thoughts.

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