Elisabeth Raith-Paula

Ashoka Fellow
Germany,
Fellow Since 2012

Citation

This profile was prepared when Elisabeth Raith-Paula was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Elisabeth’s initiative MFM-Project challenges the paradigm in sex education in Germany that focuses on the dangers associated with fertility and sexual maturity. For its work with women, MFM stands for Mädchen, Frauen, Meine Tage (Girls, Women, My Days), and for its work with men MFM stands for Männer für Männer (Men for Men). The program’s leading principle is “I can only protect what I appreciate and respect.” In short, the motto embraces the idea of respect of oneself and one’s body, which she fosters in children before they even enter puberty. New—and key to her success—is not only the educational design, but also the involvement of parents and teachers.

Testimonies about the validity of her work indicate that more than 90 percent of children feel far better informed and comfortable with their body and sexuality as a result of attending the workshops. Elisabeth builds a new and improved body competence, self-awareness, cross-gender understanding, and informed decision-making for young people. Her approach overcomes previous shortcomings in traditional body and sex education in Germany. She improves young people’s relationships with their own sexuality, which ultimately has a preventive effect on severe disorders like anorexia, unintended pregnancies, and lasting psychological problems.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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