Study finds Sex & Relationships Education doesn’t reduce STIs and teen pregnancy

Young Couple Relaxing Near River Enjoying Sunny Day

The following is excerpted from an online article posted on LifeSiteNews:

A new peer-reviewed study of multiple “sexual and reproductive health” educational programs in several countries finds no evidence of improved health outcomes in any program studied.

According to the authors of the study, “School-based interventions for preventing HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy in adolescents,” published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, “There is little evidence that educational curriculum-based programs alone are effective in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for adolescents.”

The study’s authors reviewed eight studies that examined sex-education programs in schools in Africa, Latin America and Europe with a total of 55,157 participants, and performed randomized controlled trials on their data. They found the programs had no measurable impact on the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases among participants or rates of pregnancy.

“In these trials, the educational programs evaluated had no demonstrable effect on the prevalence of HIV or other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections),” the authors write, noting that in addition to HIV infection they also looked at results regarding herpes and syphilis. “There was also no apparent effect on the number of young women who were pregnant at the end of the trial,” they add.

The authors note that many studies of adolescent sex-education programs measure the programs’ effectiveness by examining their “effects on knowledge or self-reported behavior” rather than “biological outcomes” such as the rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among program participants. In examining biological outcomes, the authors could find no benefit from such programs.

The findings of the study are consonant with other studies of “comprehensive” sex-education programs that show them to be ineffective or even counterproductive, particularly in comparison with abstinence-only programs.

£18,000 Grants For Charities To Redevelop Their Website

 

The Transform Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the 2017 funding round of its Charity Website Grant Programme, which will be providing £18,000 grants to charities to fund the redevelopment of their website.  If you are a charity interested in receiving funding to redevelop your website then click here to be taken to the Transform Foundation website for more information on the grant programme and how you can apply.

The Transform Foundation is a charity that provides grants and other resources to the charity sector to fund innovative digital projects.  The Charity Website Grant Programme forms part of their wider efforts to support the charity sector in effectively making the transition from traditional forms of fundraising and service delivery towards more digitally focused models.

The 2017 funding round follows the successful pilot funding round in 2016 which funded the development of websites that have already gone on to raise hundreds of thousands pounds online for the successful applicants.

The grant is principally aimed at charities with annual incomes between £500k and £30m, although smaller charities with ambitious plans for digital can also apply.  Larger charities will also be considered for specific project or fundraising sites.

Any type of non-profit organisation may apply, with successful applicants in the past including causes as diverse as community development, disability, education, theatre, mental health, hospices, national heritage, volunteering, family, children & youth, addiction, homelessness, international aid, and arts.

To apply for the grant or find out more details on it, visit the Transform Foundation website at: www.transformfoundation.org.uk

 

Children’s and Young People writing

Key findings about children and young people writing in 2015 from the Literacy Trust, based on a survey of 32,569 children and young people aged 8 to 18, include:

  • Fewer children and young people enjoyed writing in 2015 compared with the previous year, with enjoyment levels dropping from 49.3% in 2014 to 44.8% in 2015.
  • Fewer children and young people wrote something daily outside class in 2015 than in 2014, with daily writing levels decreasing from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015. Daily writing levels also continue to be in stark contrast to daily reading levels, which have increased dramatically over the past couple of years.
  • When asked whether they ever write something that they don’t share with anyone else, nearly half (46.8%) of children and young people said they did.
  • Technology-based formats, such as text messages (68.6%), messages on social networking sites (44.3%) and instant messages (46.2%) continue to dominate the writing that children and young people engaged in outside class in 2015. Notes (3%), letters (25.8%) and lyrics (24.6%) are the most frequently written non-technology formats. With the exception of poems, most formats of writing have again decreased in 2015.
  • Attitudes towards writing have remained unchanged in 2015.

Read the full findings here.

It leaves me reflecting on how we encourage journaling with teenagers in the church.

It’s encouraging to see that 46.8% of children and young people write things that they don’t share with anyone else, but with daily writing outside the classroom dropping substantially from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015 I think we need to look at how we recommend technology-based formats of journaling.

Children’s & youth work links

Links from around the world of children’s and youth work:

What happened when 9 teens gave up their mobile phones for a week: anyone who has worked with teenagers for more than 5 minutes know how connected to their mobiles they are.  So what happens if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

The Smart Talk is a website that helps parents and kids come up with a set of mobile phone rules together, and creates a handy agreement you can print out.  This tool is more than a simple checklist; it’s meant to start conversations between parents and their child.

What I Teach My Students About Alcohol: Austin McCann shares what he taught his young people about drinking alcohol from the Bible.

Teens Tell All: Your Guide To Teen Slang, From Bae To Woke: As part of TODAY’s “Teens Tell All” series, they asked teenagers to enlighten adults about all those mysterious terms they throw out when they talk or message.

Jesus was a Youth Minister: Jesus’ disciples were mainly young men.  This makes Peter the perfect, Biblical example of what it looks like to mentor a teenager!

 

Millennials believe Britain is no longer a Christian country

The Daily Express reports that British millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, believe they no longer live in a Christian country despite thinking religion plays an important role in people’s lives.

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.  In contrast, of those aged 65 and over, 74 per cent believe Britain is a Christian country while only 20 per cent think the country has no specific religious identity.

Katie Harrison, director of the new Faith Research Centre at ComRes, the public policy research consultancy, said:

“In some of the questions we asked, adults aged between 18-24 and adults aged 65 plus answered at opposite ends of the scale, indicating marked differences between generations in perceptions of religion and belief.

“This is consistent with some of the projects we’ve recently been commissioned to carry out.

“We’re seeing a strong interest in understanding the attitudes and needs of people in their 20s, especially in our faith research work.”

 

Live in Hampshire? Make your church or village hall warmer!

Does your building cost a lot to keep it warm?  Are you struggling to make it a welcoming, comfortable place for everyone in your community to use?  Read about Action Hampshire’s new energy audits project!

We are looking for six community halls to have an energy audit, carry out improvements identified by the audit, and then to share the results with other organisations in our area.  You will get a professional energy audit, which normally costs around £500, for just £50.  The audit will identify many things you can do to make your building more energy efficient, so reducing your energy use and saving you money.  Even better – plenty of these actions will have little or no cost.

Take a look at our website for all the details, including the application form and guidance notes – click here.  Our project partners, Winchester Action on Climate Change, are offering a free talk on fuel poverty to all applications that apply for a low cost energy audit.  Information about this offer is in the guidance notes at the bottom of this page.

Do you qualify?  Our grant funding from Hampshire County Council means this project is only open to community buildings in Hampshire villages or towns with less than 10,000 residents.  The funding is also only available to buildings managed by a not-for-profit sector organisation, like a village hall committee or community association.

We need your application back by midday on Tuesday 7 February, or Tuesday 24 January if you are ready.  Don’t rush, though – we will save some funds for the later deadline.

Long-serving priest gives thanks for 100 years

Britain’s longest serving priest has celebrated his 100th birthday, having ministered to his flock for 75 years.  What a brilliant example of faithful ministry.

The Rev William Tavernor was ordained at Ledbury parish church in December 1941 and has been a village vicar across the diocese of Hereford ever since.  He chuckles when he considers the choirboys who sang at his ordination would now be getting on for 90.

Mr Tavernor, a father of four, celebrated his birthday on New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends and family, including his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  There was also a special service in his parish church, St Michael and All Angels in Ledbury.

His first curacy was spent in Ledbury, then a parish near Kidderminster, before moving back to the Hereford diocese. He spent seven years as vicar at Upton Bishop, eight years at Aymestrey, 23 in Canon Pyon, in each case happily provided with glebe. He has since enjoyed 25 years of “working retirement” helping at Kingsland. “I packed up taking services two years ago,” he said.

However, 18 months ago at the venerable age of 98, Mr Tavernor returned to his old parish in south Shropshire, Bettws-y-Crwyn, to conduct a marriage service for grandson, Jack Tavernor and bride, Becky Floate assisted by her grandfather, the Rev Herbert Floate. The story was reported in the Church Times, complete with cartoon reflecting the two clerics’ joint age of 188 years with 124 collective years of ministry between them.

Rooney nominates Klopp for Award, snubs Mourinho

The stars were out on Monday night for the inaugural The Best FIFA Awards™ in Zurich, the first since the global body announced the end of its six-year association with France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or last December.

The Awards are voted for by fans alongside selected journalists, national team coaches and captains.  Unsurprisingly Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Men’s Player of the Year, while Claudio Ranieri’s historic climb to the summit of the Premier League with Leicester City last term saw him take home Best Men’s Manager.

However, a breakdown of the voting revealed that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, as captain of the England national squad, named Jürgen Klopp, manager of bitter rivals Liverpool on his list of coach of the year, snubbing his own boss in José Mourinho in the process.

These votes tend to be largely symbolic in nature, often with people voting for their teammates and fellow countrymen, for example, Wales manager Chris Coleman nominating Gareth Bale for Player of the Year.  It is therefore some surprise that the former Evertonian moved beyond the enduring enmity between these two arch-rival clubs, let alone what it will do to Mourinho’s frail ego.

Tackling Female Genital Mutilation – Best Practice

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is recognised as a severe form of violence against women and girls and a human rights violation.   The Tackling FGM Initiative aimed to strengthen community-based prevention work to reduce the risk of girls and young women of undergoing FGM.

FGM prevalence in the UK is difficult to estimate due to the hidden nature of the practice. However, the latest data on prevalence in England and Wales (City University London and Equality Now, 2015) estimates that: approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM; and approximately 127,000 women who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls (under the age of 15) who have migrated to England and Wales may have undergone FGM.

Ending FGM in the UK requires multi-agency working, including involving FGM-affected communities. Communities Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK Best Practice Guide documents, develops and highlights best practice that Community Based Oragnisations have developed. This Guide complements the statutory FGM Multi-Agency Guidelines which professionals must have regard to, and is aimed at:

  • Community based organisations working on or planning to work on FGM
  • Local authorities to support the development of good quality partnerships and joint working with affected communities and the Community Based Oragnisations who work with them
  • Professionals charged with a legal duty to respond to FGM e.g. health professionals, maternity services, teachers
  • Commissioners and local safeguarding leads, to understand how to work with communities and recognise them as assets to end FGM

The Practical Guidance for FGM Engagement section is divided into three key parts: Prevention; Access to Mental Health Care and Support; and Working with Statutory Professionals and local authorities – including FGM case work. Each of the three chapters details the rationale for each target group, outlines activities conducted by Community Based Oragnisations to reach this group and then highlights best practice.

Vacancy – Above Bar Church

Above Bar Church in Southampton is looking to appoint a Post-Graduate Student Children’s Minister:

STEP TRAINEE (CHILDREN)

Are you passionate about children’s ministry? Are you experienced in working with children and eager to develop your skills? Are you a servant-hearted, creative and flexible team player who is able to work alongside others in leading children’s ministry? Would you like to combine training within a large city-centre evangelical church with studying for a post-graduate degree in children’s ministry?

If so, we would love to support you in loving God, following Jesus, and sharing hope within the context of children’s ministry.

Above Bar Church is looking for a Children’s Ministry Trainee to start in September 2017. This is a two or three-year position, which comprises of approximately 21 hrs/wk serving in the church and 14 hrs/wk studying (typically) an MA in Children’s and Family work.
Bursaries, hosting, and funding to cover fees are available if needed and will be discussed with the successful applicant.

For more information or to apply, please email office@abovebarchurch.org.uk

Deadline for applications is 31st Jan 2017.

Teenagedom

A few people recently tweeted about Hadley Freeman’s article in the Guardian on how ‘I was not good at being a teenager. But I do have some advice.’  For anyone working with young people it’s well worth a read.

It concludes with three pieces of wisdom: “But I do have three pieces of advice for making it pass a little more painlessly. 

  • First, create something. Write, draw, bake, knit, make a magazine, design a video game – whatever, it doesn’t matter, as long as it comes from you. Just make something that wasn’t there before, so you can look at it and say, “That came out of my brain, my fingers, me. Without me, that would not exist.” One of the best ways to learn who you are internally is to find out what kind of mark you can make externally.
  • Second, do things just for you. I’m sure you’re sick of condescending oldsters like me wagging their fingers at you about “the selfie generation”, which is just our way of trying to say how worried we are about you coming of age at a time when your worthiness is measured in likes. But try to do as much as possible just for yourself, not external validation: make something and don’t Instagram it. Go to a gig on your own, and don’t Facebook it. Validate yourself.
  • Finally, remember that you are currently wearing teenager goggles. This means that everything you are experiencing is being refracted through the crazy hazy hormonal moshpit in your head, as well as the various injustices that come with that time of life when you’re not sure if you’re an adult or a child and no one else is, either”

Do go check out the full article here.