Residents and students raise alarm over high number of teenage pregnancies and child marriages

In commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Esigodini Residents Association conducted a GBV Awareness campaign with students from Mvuthu High school in Umzingwane. A total of 93 students and 3 teachers were in attendance.

The topic of discussion was the prevalence of teenage pregnancies and child marriages which have been on the rise during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Early in the year, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyonipresented a report on the level of public service delivery related to gender-based violence during the pandemic to Parliament. According to her report, there has been a sharp increase in teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Zimbabwe during the COVID-19 lockdown, with at least 4,959 school going girls falling pregnant, and 1,174 cases of child marriages being recorded

By Asan Mhlanga

A prolonged lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has seen children going for months without attending school, exacerbating the complex factors that drive teenage pregnancies and early marriages. While school policies cater for pregnant pupils to continue in school, the systems for mental and emotional support and reintegration of students after pregnancy are still weak.

The campaign created a platform for the participants to discuss strategies that can be employed in addressing this trend which has deprived girls of their right to education. The participants said going forward everyone including parents, teachers and students need to work together in addressing this issue which amounts to GBV mainly towards school going girls.

 

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