Education Programs Director Yoeza Mbonea Mnzava has been involved in working on a solution to the on-going and critical issue of “early childhood pregnancy” in the Same District. Out of the five districts in the Kilimanjaro Region, Same (where Empower Tanzania is based) ranks first in childhood pregnancies for girls in primary and secondary schools based on data collected in 2017. Currently, government officials and local partners (like Empower Tanzania) are working together to seek solutions. One solution is to provide education to both parents and students.
The District Commissioner held a seminar to educate parents and students about the causes and outcomes of early childhood pregnancy as part of a campaign to decrease the number of girls becoming mothers. Yoeza was a part of the collective effort to educate citizens and students in each village, particularly the rural villages that are most affected by the issue.
“In this campaign, I learned one great thing,” reports Yoeza. “Most rural people do not receive regular education about the importance of education for their children, especially their girls. Because of this, custodial efforts are especially needed to provide education on the importance of educating girls.”
The commission found that one cause of childhood pregnancy is the vulnerability of girls walking long distances from home to school, during which they are at risk of rape. Another problem is a basic lack of knowledge and personal understanding of “life skills” and the cause of pregnancy. Students also lack an understanding of the importance of education and therefore don’t necessarily value education over motherhood for young women.
According to Yoeza (pictured speaking to a group above), local government officials, as well as Empower Tanzania and other stakeholders, believe there are solutions to these challenges and plan to implement a multi-pronged approach to decrease the number of childhood pregnancies in rural Same District. Together, they’ll work to do the following:
- Involve local leaders to provide regular education to their local communities
- Implore parents to carry out their responsibility of raising children and providing their sons AND daughters with the basic needs to be successful at home and at school
- Lobby local government to make by-laws that protect the rights of females in their community and in their schools
- Advise teachers to listen to students with great care, love, and compassion to help identify problems and offer solutions
- Hold the government accountable in their promise to deal fully with criminals who harm students