As the global community celebrated World Population Day on Monday, July 11, an activist called for coordinated efforts as well as a framework to eradicate the issue of teen pregnancy in communities. The observation was made by Olivia Promise Kabatesi, the founder and country director of Empower Rwanda. Empower Rwanda is a women-led Non-Governmental Organization that was established in 2019 to support women and youth through provision of skills, knowledge, and resources that create sustainable change for them, their families, and their communities. Kabatesi made a call during an exclusive interview with The New Times over the weekend ahead of the population day, which offers a moment to celebrate human progress. It’s in that context that she called for the need for a robust campaign, right from the grassroots level, to hunt the perpetrators of teen pregnancies so that they can be pursued in courts of law. She also said that it will serve as a deterrent to publicly shame these perpetrators, and expressed concern that currently, you find the victim being subjected to public shame instead of the perpetrator. “I believe when everyone plays their role, Im sure we will be able to end this pandemic,” she emphasized. Commenting on some of the main causes behind the increase in teen pregnancy numbers in the country, Kabatesi said that poverty was found to be the main contributor, according to research conducted by her organisation. According to statistics from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, cases of teenage pregnancies increased by 23 percent from 19,701 in 2020 to 23,000 last year. In addition, she pointed out that what her organisation is doing, just like others doing similar work, is to help victims of teen pregnancies deal with effects but not addressing the root causes. Commenting on what the institution does in general, she pointed out that they bring them together and give them psychosocial support so that they can restore their hope and dignity among others. But also, most importantly, they make sure that they return to school. Speaking on the challenges these young mothers face in communities, she revealed that they include lack of family support, accommodation, limited resources and medical insurance, stigma around them, victim-blaming, malnutrition, and many more. However, she added that regardless of the challenges they keep on advocating for their rights, raising more awareness, helping them to get legal support as well as making sure they are reintegrated into their families among others. Currently around 700 teen mothers and their kids from categories one and two have been benefiting from Empower Rwanda, according to the founder.