Poverty, low value for education exacerbating teenage pregnancy- Family Aids Trust

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Chinhoyi (New Ziana) –The Family Aids Trust (FACT) has expressed concern at the rise in teenage pregnancy in the country, which is resulting in many girls dropping out of school, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown.

FACT provincial manager Tonderai Gonye said investigations had found out that the major causes of the problem were poverty, the increase in mining operations in the various districts, limited exposure to better pursuits, the Covid-19 lockdown and communities placing low value on education.

Gonye said many adolescent girls failed to manage the transition from primary to secondary level education, and once they dropped out of school, they became more vulnerable to sexual abuse, resulting in teen pregnancies.

“As FACT, we have been implementing some preventive measures through training adolescent boys and girls on sexual reproductive health and rights issues through clubs at community level like the Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sista2Sista,” he said.

“Our funding stream for these activities was affected last year hence we are no longer able to facilitate these trainings,” he added.

Gonye said they continue to make efforts to mobilize resources so that they can continue with the community level interventions that seek to lower fertility rates amongst adolescents, and increase their knowledge on sexual reproductive health.

A religious leader, Desmond Parirewa of the Fresh Fire Ministries concurred with Gonye, saying rural to urban migration in search of economic opportunities was exposing society to new set-ups, where the centuries-long family structures and their attendant support systems were being uprooted.

“The traditional roles of uncles and aunts have been diminished, leaving teenagers to rely on peer education and experimentation, to chart their development into adulthood,” he said.

He said the urban setups were a far cry from the previous rural order, where strict moral codes and respect for ethical conduct was broadly acknowledged, religiously adhered to, cherished and appreciated.

“Teenagers become exposed to new cultures, new music, new models to emulate without restraint and this becomes the entry point of broad-based moral decadence, which mouldes and fashions a new breed of teenagers, completely divorced from the model of the past,” said Parirewa.

Teenagers were being exposed to social media and other platforms, which use sex and sexuality as the most effective marketing tool in the new world of excessive consumerism, he said.

New Ziana

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