About The ABCs of Sex Education

Our Vision:

A Kenya free of HIV and AIDS. 

Our Mission:

To prevent HIV and other STDs, to reduce unwanted early pregnancies, and reduce rape and other gender-based violence for a healthy and vibrant Kenya. We accomplish this purpose by:

    • advocating for the rights of adolescent girls and boys;
    • offering the knowledge and skills to make wise, responsible, and healthy decisions about sexual interactions;
    • engaging respectfully with others;
    • fully supporting our teams as they do this important work.

Check out the videos below to learn more about our organization and see us in action!

Managing Director Phylis Magina was invited to present at the Global Health and Innovation Conference held at Yale University in 2015. She discusses the successes and challenges that the ABCs faces in reducing stigma and teaching HIV prevention, early pregnancy prevention, and comprehensive sex education.

In 2015 Managing Director Phylis Magina and Executive Director discuss the formation of the ABCs of Sex Education in 2014. Some of the rural educators talk about their work.

The website address on the last screen should read www.abcsofsex-ed.org

History of ABCs

Co-founded in 2014 by friends Phylis Nasubo Magina and Kathy Tate-Bradish, the ABCs trains rural Kenyans to teach HIV prevention, early pregnancy prevention, and comprehensive sexual health education in their own communities.

 

The organization is largely based in western Kenya where the HIV prevalence rates are highest. Trained teams of educators teach a 5-part behaviour-change curriculum in schools, churches, support groups, and other groups and organizations, to ages 12 and above. There are currently about 40 trained educators in 5 counties.

 

Kathy and Phylis first met in Evanston, Illinois, in 2006 when Phylis and her husband (and children) were temporarily in the US pursuing advanced degrees. Phylis, an 11-year classroom veteran of high school Swahili with a degree from Kenya’s prestigious Kenyatta University, was a key colleague on a small sex education project that Kathy had been developing. Phylis was instrumental in bringing the project to the next phase, translating key elements into Swahili and working on cultural content.

 

Fast forward to 2009, Phylis had been back in Kenya for a year as Deputy Director of a primary school she co-founded in Nairobi. She took part in a training workshop lead by Kathy, and the two began teaching together on Kathy’s trips to Kenya. In 2012 they explored the idea of setting up an NGO to further the work, in 2013 Phylis agreed to leave her teaching/school administrator job at the end of the year, and in January 2014 Phylis and Kathy launched the ABCs as an international NGO based in Kenya.

 

2014! A pivotal year for Phylis and Kathy, they attended a project management and development course together in Rwanda, run by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, called DPMI. Jessy Bradish, Kathy’s daughter and holder of an MBA and Masters degree in International Environmental Policy, also attended and helped (and still helps) guide the co-founders in the development of the NGO. Phylis and Kathy invited 5 colleagues to join them on a Board of Directors, and the group wrote their constitution. It was approved in 2016 by the Kenya NGO Board, and the ABCs has been operating in Kenya ever since.

 

Since inception the ABCs has developed a behaviour-change curriculum based on input from local stakeholders, taught over 70,000 rural Kenyans a life-saving knowledge- and skills-based curriculum, and reduced pregnancies in schools where the educators have taught the full curriculum.

 

Recently, robust monitoring and evaluation procedures have been put in place by M&E officer Beatrice Wambugu, who holds a Masters Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation from the University of Nairobi.

 

The ABCs works with Ministry of Health officials at the local level, known as the Constituency AIDS Control Council (CAAC), reporting data from teaching sessions which are used by the National Ministry of Health in their reports.

 

In terms of employee policies, we believe strongly in supporting our incredible local staff. All volunteer educators receive National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) paid monthly. The ABCs also pays into all educators’ retirement funds and their social security (NSSF). Most receive monthly stipends. The ABCs also sets up each educator group with a program called “table banking”, which allows the members to save and borrow money. There is a burial policy whereby the ABCs pays part of the costs of burials for educators, their spouses, and their children. This is no small commitment in Kenya, where we have lost three educators to complications of AIDS and a number of spouses and children.

 

July 2020 Update: Currently, and since March, all educators are furloughed with full pay and health insurance, due to COVID-19. The ABCs has been distributing free masks to vulnerable populations, and is now partnering with the Makini-Pad initiative of Kenya Works to donate washable and reusable sanitary pads to girls and women in hard hit areas.