Catholic Relief Services Responds to Allegations of Shuga Video in Kenya

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March 12, 2014 - Population Research Institute and the Lepanto Institute allege that Catholic Relief Services exposed teens to a video series promoting condom use in Kenya. After researching the allegations, we found the following involvement by CRS:

During year one of Support and Assistance to Indigenous Implementing Agencies (SAIDIA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was not implementing the Shuga project. Rather, another secular organization was working with partners to carry out activities. When CRS took over the grant in year two, we made a special effort to share with partners which activities would be contrary to Catholic teaching, given partners were used to working in year one under a secular organization.

Around the time CRS began overseeing the SAIDIA project, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rolled out Shuga as an evidence-based intervention (EBI) nationally. CDC directly introduced local implementing partners to the Shuga video at a training. CRS partners did not like Shuga and found it inappropriate for the populations with whom they worked, particularly since many of the partners were Catholic. Subsequently, only one secular CRS partner, Movement of Men Against AIDS in Kenya (MMAK), used Shuga as part of their abstinence and fidelity programming and only used it for a very short period of time.

When CRS learned MMAK was using these materials that were not in line with Catholic teaching within its abstinence and fidelity programming, CRS specifically instructed all partners not to use Shuga and informed CDC that SAIDIA would not use this video within our abstinence and fidelity work.

The SAIDIA FY2011 annual report to CDC correctly notes that the video was used as part of the abstinence and be faithful (AB) activities in FY2011, but stopped at the end of quarter three when CRS learned the materials were being used and were not appropriate for use within our programming.

This is a good example of how CRS continuously reviews and adjusts, working with local partners and donors, to ensure our programs are in line with Catholic teaching.