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Adolescent pregnancy

Adolescent pregnancy remains a major concern in Cambodia: 12% of girls aged 15-19 are already mothers (CDHS 2014). In Cambodia, adolescent pregnancy is often not out of deliberate choice, but rather a consequence of community expectations and traditional mindsets, lack of education, lack of sexual and reproductive health knowledge and the lack of understanding of the social and health implications involved with pregnancy at a very young age.

To address adolescent pregnancy, UNFPA Cambodia has been partnering with the Government, NGOs and civil society to provide quality and accessible sexual and reproductive health education. UNFPA has been supporting the development of a Comprehensive Sexuality Education and supports dissemination of information through media, including TV programmes, radio shows and public forums.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)

“A safe, healthy and successful transition from adolescence to adulthood is the right of every child” (UNFPA Strategic Framework 2014-2017). Many young people in Cambodia do not have adequate knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues and existing cultural barriers make it difficult to discuss such sensitive issues openly with friends and family. Comprehensive sexuality education aims to empower young people to be able to make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health.

UNFPA has been supporting the Ministry of Education, Youth and Support in the development of a comprehensive sexuality education programme, to be implemented in the upper primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school curriculum nationwide.

Youth leadership & participation

Youth aged 10-24 make up over two-thirds of Cambodia’s population. Yet many are unaware of their rights and cannot participate fully in society. Large numbers of youth are also leaving home for urban areas in search of better opportunities, making them especially vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health risks, gender-based violence, drug abuse and gang violence.

UNFPA cooperates with the Government, local partners and consults youth from all backgrounds on the UN Youth Advisory Panel. UNFPA works to raise awareness on youth civic engagement and the importance of adopting correct strategic investments to empower youth to speak up for their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and be the drivers of change needed for social, economic and sustainable development.