skip to primary navigation skip to content


ARCHIVE: This material is no longer maintained and should be viewed for reference only


HSRC Review

'A study of 15 schools in six African countries examined whether a process of dialogue between teachers, community members and Grade 6 learners could help build a participatory curriculum in HIV/AIDS and sex education that takes into account learners’ knowledge of sexuality. Duncan Scott, Sharlene Swartz, Colleen McLaughlin and Susan Kiragu report that participants’ attitudes towards the curriculum and each other changed over the year, but it involved developing strategies to transcend cultural barriers to learning.'  

Scott, D., Swartz, S., McLaughlin, C. and Kiragu, S. (2012) Let's talk about HIV and Aids, HSRC Review, 10(3). Read Article

Research Horizons

An article on Phase 1 of the ASKAIDS project is featured in the University of Cambridge Research News, together with a link to an interview with Dr. Colleen McLaughlin.  Breaking sex education taboos in Africa to tackle AIDS.

Book Launch

McLaughlin, C., Swartz, S., Kiragu, S., Walli, S., Mohamed, M. (2012) Old Enough to Know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.  ISBN: 978-07969-2374-5.

The team marked the publication in March of Old Enough to Know by holding launch seminars in Cambridge and Cape Town, followed by dissemination conferences in Manzini, Swaziland, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.  The book has also been featured in an article in South Africa's Mail & Guardian Online.  Download article here.

Old Enough to Know (book cover)Description

This compelling study, involving a sample of eight schools in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania – examines the sources, contents and processes of children´s community-based sexual knowledges and asks how these knowledges interact with AIDS education programmes in school. Old enough to know showcases the possibilities of consulting pupils using engaging, interactive and visual methods including digital still photography, mini-video documentaries, as well as interviews and observations. These innovative methods allow children to speak freely and openly in contexts where talking about sex to adults is a cultural taboo.

The study also sheds fresh light on teachers´ fears and struggles with a lack of training and limited opportunities for reflection on practice. It engages in dialogue with conflicting voices of community stakeholders who are both aware of the dangers faced by children living in a world with AIDS and who are also afraid of the many cultural, religious and moral restraints to sex education in Africa.

Publication details and free download available via HSRC Press.

See also: Books LIVE