For the last two months, we have been publishing segments of a year long investigation of Catholic Relief Services projects. We showed documents produced by CRS for the 4Children project included the promotion of condoms. We proved that CRS was the custodian of a website that included abortion and contraception promoting documents. We proved that in two CRS-led projects, CRS created local networks that referred young girls to abortion and contraception promoting organizations for sexual and reproductive health services and information. And in our most recent report, we proved that CRS was responsible for the implementation of a program called DREAMS, which was created specifically for indoctrinating young girls in the use of contraception and condoms.
In this segment, we’ll show you two curriculums CRS is using through its 4Children project that promote contraception and condoms. We’ll prove to you that this isn’t the first immoral curriculum CRS has provided to vulnerable and impressionable young girls, coming up in this special report from the Lepanto Institute.
In our last report, we covered the fact that CRS was implementing a project that was designed specifically for the spread of contraception to teen girls and young adult women. The project was called DREAMS.
One document produced by CRS regarding the DREAMS project, titled “Two Plus Two Equals 10,” identified two curriculums that were being employed by CRS for the DREAMS-4Children project in Lesotho.
The acknowledgements for this report indicate that everything in this document has already been verified as having been implemented in CRS’s 4Children-DREAMS project area, saying:
This case study describes the learning gained from 4Children’s approach to DREAMS programming – combining life skills and social asset building interventions for HIV prevention with savings programs and financial management skills for adolescent DREAMS girls. The information in this case study was gathered from project records and from interviews with representatives of the following organizations: CRS Lesotho, 4Children DREAMS projects and Caritas Lesotho.
In short, there’s just no denying the information we’re about to show you. Remember this chart from our last report? The one that shows how CRS tried to segregate its implementation of DREAMS from the acknowledged condom and contraception promoting portion of the project?
Well, on the very next page is a chart outlining the various curricula CRS employed for the 4Children-DREAMS project in Lesotho, and in the chart you can see repeated uses of a curriculum called Go Girls and another called Aflateen.
We’ll take a look at these one at a time, beginning with Go Girls.
The curriculum Go Girls, as identified in this chart, indicates various modules of each curriculum and which week of the program they were used. In fact, CRS’s 4Children project takes full responsibility for the use of these modules saying:
4Children Lesotho and partners reviewed all the existing social assets, financial literacy and savings and lending communities’ curricula, and developed an eight-week course that combines the core elements of all in a sequential way. Each week begins with an HIV information session of around five to ten minutes.
The modules taken from the Go Girls curriculum are identified as follows:
- About me
- His and Hers
- Speaking up
- Making good decisions
- Sexuality 1 and 2
- My future 1 and 2
On the next page, CRS gives some context for the use of the Go Girls modules, saying:
Each week for eight weeks, girls attend a weekly two-to three-hour session that combines …
social assets intervention drawn from two evidence-based curricula. Go Girls! was initially developed in Malawi (footnote 4) and adapted for the Lesotho CRS context in 2016. Sessions include looking at who we are and what we want to be, gender norms and gender equity, communication skills and speaking up and sexuality. The sessions are adapted according to the ages of the girls in the group.
You’ll notice here is a footnote 4, which references the Go Girls! Community-based Life Skills for Girls Training Manual, and provides a hyperlink to the manual itself.
When we clicked the link to see the curriculum CRS was using in this project, we were absolutely shocked by the grossly immoral and sexually graphic nature of the contents. That CRS even considered using this curriculum for anything but kindling is beyond comprehension. Just as it’s impossible to justify purchasing Playboy magazine for the articles, no one could justify purchasing this curriculum for anything, and exposing it to young girls is just downright malicious!
Now … keep in mind that the curriculum we’re about to show you was linked to directly by CRS. We didn’t have to hunt it down and find what we guessed might be the curriculum CRS was referencing … they identified it and linked to it directly, themselves. So, here it is …
As you can see, the chart here on the left from the CRS document identifies some modules that correspond with various sessions from the Go Girls curriculum: His and Hers is a session found on page 20, Speaking up is found on page 27, and Making good decisions is found on page 32. But then, the chart indicates Sexuality 1 and 2, and My future 1 and 2. The only references to sexuality and the future found in the manual is under the acknowledgements section, which indicates portions of the Go Girls curriculum were taken from the AIDS Alliances’ curriculums titled “Our Future: Sexuality and Life Skills Education for Young People” for grades 6-7 and grades 8-9. But in exploring the sexual content of the Go Girls curriculum, we noted that there is a section on puberty titled “My Body is Changing – Am I Normal,” “how does Pregnancy Happen,” “Preventing Unintended Pregnancy,” and “STI/HIV Grab Bag.”
There are 34 positive references to condom use in this curriculum, and 23 positive references to contraceptives, including pills, injectables and IUDs, which are all abortifacients.
The module titled “My Body is Changing – Am I Normal” provides images of naked girls and women and naked boys and men. On page 44 in this section, the curriculum actually advocates for masturbation, saying:
“A few ways to handle sexual excitement may include masturbation, fantasizing, physical activity such as football, or putting the mind on something else.”
The next section, “How does pregnancy happen?” provides the intimate details regarding the mechanics of sexual intercourse and discusses female pleasure centers.
Beginning on page 59 is Session 11: “Preventing Unintended Pregnancy.” The session description says the following:
“Participants discuss the advantages of planning their family, and learn about different types of family planning methods as well as where they can get them. This is important information for girls who are abstinent as well as for girls who are sexually active.”
Under “Facilitator Preparation,” the facilitator is directed to do the following:
- Invite a local midwife, nurse, peer outreach person or staff from an NGO working on family planning to come to talk about family planning methods and where participants can go to get them. This guest will lead Activity 4 below. Share this session plan with the guest so that she/he will know what is expected. Invite her/him to attend the whole session.
- Collect sample contraceptives from a local clinic, pharmacy, or ask the guest to bring them.
- Make copies of Handout 3: How to use a Condom and find out where other contraceptives are available in the community.
Handout 3, “How to use a condom” is found on page 63, and it provides the following graphic explanation as to how to use a condom:
On the page 60 is “Activity 2: The Pros and Cons of Family Planning.” This activity discusses various forms of contraception, weighing various reasons why or why not to use it. But this is immediately followed by “Activity 3: I Know It’s Good For Me But…”, found on page 61. The entire point of this activity is to convince young girls that using contraception is as normal as “brushing our teeth, eating vegetables or doing homework.”
The wrap-up for the session instructs the facilitator to:
- Remind the participants that although pregnancy is normal having children by choice, not by chance, is best for the mother, the baby, the family and the nation.
- Remind the participants of places in the community where they can access contraceptives.
And after reminding participants of where they can obtain contraceptives, the practice activity, which is essentially a homework assignment, is simply this:
“Between now and the next meeting, find out: Where do people get condoms and pills in your community?”
Once again, this curriculum was linked to directly by CRS, in a CRS-copyrighted document that was written specifically FOR a CRS project in Lesotho, after CRS indicated in a chart that the Go Girls Curriculum was being used to teach young girls about sexuality.
Even if CRS was to claim that it used a sanitized version of this curriculum, it still paid for the curriculum, it still brought copies of the curriculum to the area, and it introduced vulnerable people to a brand that was designed to corrupt souls.
We have to ask … would CRS purchase pornographic magazines so they could show the articles to kids in a classroom? Would CRS purchase and use a curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood itself, but then claim to only use the parts related to basic human anatomy and development? If the answer is no on both counts … as it should be … then CRS condemns itself by purchasing and using this curriculum for any reason.
Lets take a look at Aflateen.
The AflaTEEN curriculum was developed by a Netherlands-based organization called Aflatoun, whose approach to human sexuality is no different than Planned Parenthood’s. In fact, in 2017, Aflatoun joined forces with Planned Parenthood to stand against the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, declaring its allegiance with the She Decides initiative, which was set up specifically to raise funds for access to abortion. The declaration closes with these words:
We call on likeminded governments worldwide, civil society organizations, the private sector and foundations to join The Netherlands, stepping up financing for sexual and reproductive health and rights and championing these crucial issues at all levels. We will not let US politics undermine women’s health, rights and autonomy and we will continue to fight to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide.
Despite this overt and very public support for abortion, Aflatoun is very careful about its wording with regard to its curriculum, being very careful not to be too explicit about the contents. However, it doesn’t shy away from the fact that Aflateen is designed to incorporate comprehensive sexual and reproductive health programs. For instance, on April 17 of this year, Aflatoun tweeted about the Aflateen curriculum, saying:
“Our Aflateen+ curriculum combines financial & social skills w/ sexual & reproductive health education.”
In an article on the Aflatoun website titled, “INSIDE AFLATEEN+: WHY AFLATOUN DEVELOPED EDUCATION ON FINANCIAL LITERACY AND GENDER INCLUSION,” Aflatoun said:
“At its core, the curriculum addresses topics on gender inequality and the life chances of adolescent girls who disproportionately have limited access to formal education, health care, and financial capital.
Girls and boys are encouraged to participate in activities that address gender-specific attitudes towards sexual reproductive health…”
In a flyer about Aflateen+, Aflatoun says:
The curriculum works towards economic empowerment. However, topics like human rights, sexual and reproductive health, family planning and making life choices around education, career, marriage and children, and how they all are interlinked provide a wider context.
In another article about Aflateen+, titled, “HOW AFLATEEN+ IS ADDRESSING CHILD MARRIAGE IN RURAL TANZANIA” Aflatoun addresses one of the chapters in its curriculum titled “My Body, My Choice,”saying:
“One of the themes of the Aflateen+ curriculum that TAI is implementing is the ‘My Body, My Choices’ as it fits well with girls who are at risk of getting married at early stage or unwanted pregnancy and need to get a comprehensive understanding of the context around them.”
“What they have seen is that girls get more value of the Aflateen+. The value comes from an angle of knowledge acquisition to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and being equipped with financial knowledge and skills.”
From these descriptions alone, it’s clear that the Aflateen curriculum is incompatible with Catholic teaching on human sexuality.
But despite all this, in April of 2017, Aflatoun published an article indicating that Catholic Relief Services in Lesotho was Aflatoun’s “Partner of the Week.” The article said:
“Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has worked in Lesotho since 2002 and has been a key strategic partner of Aflatoun International since 2012.
CRS is focused on prevention of new HIV infections currently working on the DREAMS project. DREAMS is a 10-country initiative funded by USAID/PEPFAR that aims to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women by 40%. CRS Lesotho has partnered with Aflatoun International since 2012 and implements parts of the Aflateen programme in the DREAMS project.”
Even if CRS is only implementing portions of the curriculum, the same problem exists here as did for the Go Girls Curriculum: By purchasing the curriculum, CRS is funding a business that is peddling grave moral evils to young people, and introducing a gravely immoral program to a vulnerable and trusting population.
The original Aflateen manual was published in 2008, and includes several positive references to condoms and contraception, and even masturbation. The only copy of the manual we could fine was in French, but we have identified a few key areas of grave concern.
Beginning on page 85, the manual introduces an ideology related to human sexuality built around personal decisions, “safe sex,” and “satisfaction” rather than objective moral standards. It says:
“Reproductive health is about the reproductive mechanisms, functions and system at all stages of life. This is why reproductive health implies that individuals are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and that they can reproduce by being free to make the decision themselves, choosing the time and frequency.”
One of the exercises in this section encourages students to address concerns regarding the purchase of condoms, the use of contraception, and teen pregnancy. The manual instructs students to fill in the gaps for a list of statements pertaining to reproductive health, such as:
- I feel ______________ when need to buy condoms.
- I think contraception is _____________ because ___________.
- If I get pregnant or I get someone pregnant, I ________________.
- I feel ______________ with the changes in my body because___________________ .
- I feel ready to have sex when ___________________.
- Virginity is _____________________.
- I shouldn’t have sex if _______________.
- I feel ___________ if I talk about masturbation.
- Sexual desires and fantasies are _______.
- If I had a homosexual friend, I ___________________.
- I think having sex before marriage is _________________ .
After students fill in the blanks, the instructor then reads a few sentences aloud, and students who agree with the statement in the sentence are to go to one corner of the room. Some of the statements include:
- It is okay to have intercourse before marriage. boys have sex before marriage.
- Condoms are only for people with multiple sexual partners.
- I know everything I Need regarding reproductive health.
- It is embarrassing to have to go to the health center to ask for advice on contraceptives.
- It is very easy to talk about sexual issues with your parents.
- I know where to find help if I need advice on a reproductive health issue.
- Women should aim to have as many children as possible
- You have the right to use contraceptive methods.
Students who disagree with the sentence are to go to another corner. And students who are undecided go to a third corner. After the students have segregated themselves to different corners, they are to then discuss among themselves why they chose the corners they did.
The danger of this exercise is that it builds upon the idea that there are no right or wrong answers regarding these questions and that students should come to their own conclusions either through discussion or by general consensus. Furthermore, by sneaking in suggestions that students should know where to find contraceptives or that they have a right to use contraceptives – and without any right answers to form a foundation for proper understanding of human sexuality – the manual is planting seeds of the contraceptive mentality into the minds of the students.
Following this exercise, the manual gives an even worse activity. The 30 minute activity is aimed at facilitating conversation between boys and girls regarding sex. Without giving any suggestions, the manual provides the following instruction:
“Ask the following question: What questions do we have to ask the other sex? In this activity, tell the boys that they will have to answer the girls’ questions and tell the girls that they will have to answer those of the boys. The facilitators will ask the questions and they will be the only one who knows who is responsible for each question. Ask everyone to think of two questions they would like to ask the other gender and write them on a piece of paper.”
Considering that the previous activity concerned highly emotionally charged topics related to procreation and human sexuality, it is simply unconscionable that this manual would then suggest opening the floor to discussion related to ANY question one sex has for the other. And though the manual does have the facilitator screen the questions, the fact of the matter is that the format is titillating by its very nature.
In 2017, Aflatoun created an enhanced version of Aflateen called Aflateen+. In the introduction to the curriculum, Aflatoun identified CRS-Lesotho as having played a role in increasing the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health in it. The introduction says:
Aflatoun International and its partners have already established successful partnerships to promote gender equality and to offer learning resources on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), reaching vulnerable girls and boys in seven countries. This includes our partnerships with … Catholic Relief Services in Lesotho; … These grassroots experiences have confirmed us in our belief of the need now to enhance the original Aflateen so as to include more lessons on gender and SRHR.
Due to the graphic content and nature of just the sample of this manual that we have, it is clear that any relationship CRS may have with Aflatoun can be considered no different than a relationship with Planned Parenthood. We were only able to obtain a sample of the manual, so we weren’t able to examine the entire thing … but what we did see was enough to show that a Catholic agency should have nothing to do with this manual or the organization that produced it.
The table of contents alone illustrates the pro-contraception and potentially pro-abortion nature of the manual. Section three of the manual echoes the mantra of the pro-abortion lobby, with the heading“My Body, My Choice.”
The table of contents for this section makes it clear that after discussing the changes in a girl’s body during puberty, the manual is then going to discuss contraception and condom use.
Of the 64 pages indicated in the table of contents for section 3, only six are provided in the sample, and they are taken from section 3.5, “My Body, My Rules.” Because of this, we don’t know specifically which contraceptives are encouraged and in which manner, but the little bit from section 3.5 is bad enough.
The lesson objective for Section 3.5 provides much of the same “individual decision making” without any objective standards regarding human sexuality as found in the first Aflateen manual. It states that by the end of this lesson, participants will be able to do the following:
- Identify reasons why some adolescents/youth choose to have sex and others choose not to.
- Make informed decisions about engaging in sexual activity
- Set personal limits around their sexual activity.
This very subjective approach to human sexuality speaks for itself as clearly opposed to any Catholic sense of human sexuality. In fact, after giving instructions on an exercise designed to facilitate boys and girls to discuss reasons why to and why not to have sex, the manual provides a little quiz which informs participants that condoms should be used to protect them from pregnancy and STIs.
So, just how close is CRS’s relationship with Aflatoun and how much is it pushing the Aflateen curriculum?
In Uganda, CRS is in charge of a USAID-funded project called SUSTAINABLE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH (SOCY). Reach the Youth Uganda, one of CRS’s sub-partners on the project, mentioned that SOCY is implementing Aflateen.
In October of 2017, Aflatoun posted a statement about working with CRS in Uganda.
CRS has also been involved in the promotion of Aflateen in Nigeria:
In 2013, CRS published a report on a joint project it conducted with Aflatoun in Malawi. The report said:
“From 2010 to 2012, Catholic Relief Services collaborated with diocesan partners and Netherlands-based Aflatoun … Supported by UNICEF’s Brighter Futures project, CRS’ partners implemented the Aflatoun program in 20 Children’s Corners.”
CRS even teamed up with Aflatoun in Afghanistan in August of 2018.
Should Catholic Relief Services be implementing these kinds of curriculums? Is there any reason for a Catholic agency to have anything to do with curriculums such as these for any reason? The answer is a resounding and unequivocal NO. And even if CRS is able to claim that it implemented non-offensive versions of these curriculums, they’re still promoting immoral programs by companies intent upon perverting the youth. As I said earlier, if it would be grossly immoral to purchase a Playboy magazine, just so you could read and share the articles, you would still be contributing funding to the pornographic industry. And what CRS is doing here is no different. These curriculums and the organizations behind them are completely morally bankrupt, and CRS is feeding them business.
In our next report, we’ll bring all of these reports together and put it into a complete context so you can see the big picture for what it really is, and know for certain just how deep the corruption at Catholic Relief Services truly is.