The O3 programme

What is the O3 Programme?

Imagine a sub-Sahara Africa where all adolescents and young people attain positive health, education, and gender equality outcomes

This is the future UNESCO envisions through Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme. This vision can only be realised through consistent reduction in new HIV infections, early and unintended pregnancy, gender-based violence, and child marriage. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 158 million young people ages 15-24 years, a number that is expected to rise to 281 million by 2050. This young population comes with tremendous potential for achieving Africa’s development, but only if sustained investments are made to address the education and health challenges that continue to undermine young people’s wellbeing.

The O3 programme, being implement in 33 countries across Sub- Sahara Africa, seeks to improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH), gender, and education outcomes for adolescents and young people (AYP) through sustained reductions in new HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early and unintended pregnancy (EUP), and gender-based violence (GBV). The programme envisions a SSA where adolescents and young people are empowered, healthy and resilient and have the capacity to reach their full potential and contribute to the development of their community, country and region.

The O3 programme support delivery of good quality comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) that empowers adolescents and young people, and builds agency while developing the skills, knowledge, attitudes and competencies required for preventing HIV, reducing early and unintended pregnancies and eliminating gender based violence

How does CSE contribute to Sustainable Development Goals?

CSE can directly contribute to realizing the education, health and gender Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as their specific targets, while also advancing the attainment of other key SDGs, especially those related to poverty, hunger, and peaceful and just societies.

For example, CSE can help attain the following SDGs by:


  • Preventing early and unintended pregnancy through good quality CSE and links to SRH service
  • Preventing new infections in young people and promoting uptake of testing and treatment
  • Promoting healthy lives through skills-based education
  • Providing referral for health and counselling services



  • Addressing factors that contribute to school dropout and gender disparities in education e.g. early and unintended pregnancy, school related gender based violence. 
  • Eliminating bullying and discrimination in school settings
  • Ensuring that all learners have the knowledge and skills to promote human rights, gender equality, peace and non-violence 


Gender equality

  • Reducing gender inequalities, through equipping girls with knowledge and skills that empower them in their communities and relationships and improve their future employment prospects and income and engagement with boys
  • Promoting attitudes and values that support gender equality and tackle harmful gender norms


Peace, justice and strong institutions

  • Developing attitudes values and skills required for peaceful tolerant and inclusive societies
  • Promoting safe and supportive learning environments that are free from violence and discrimination provide a model for later life and instil respect for rights, diversity and equality


The O3 programme benefits from the generous support of governments of Sweden, Ireland Norway and France in partnership with ministries of education from 33 African countries.