More than 150 girls aged 12-17 from Murambi, Rwimbogo and Kiziguro sectors, gathered for a three-day girls’ holiday camp in Gatsibo District to engage in discussions on sexual reproductive health and early pregnancy. In the sessions held, misinformation on sexual reproductive health was highlighted as one of the root causes of early pregnancy. Esperance Mutesi’s 16-year-old friend (name withheld) was given false information by her boyfriend who later got her pregnant. “He lied to her that during summertime a girl cannot get pregnant, he kept spoiling her with gifts including sweets, a watch and a Dolce and Gabbana bag. Later, he got her pregnant,” 17-year-old Mutesi told The New Times. False information, poverty, and lack of parental role in raising girls, to name a few, were also among the factors discussed that lead to early pregnancy, hence suggesting the need to engage girls in early sexual reproductive health discussions. “Preventing early pregnancy in the district will be attainable if young girls are aware of their reproductive health,” Naomi Mukagasana, the district’s gender and equality officer said. Mukagasana added, “We urge nurses at health centres in the district in charge of sexual reproductive health to decentralise services, reach schools, villages and teach these young girls about sexual reproductive health. As highlighted, most of these teen mothers are trapped due to lack of information about their growth.” She also asked parents to spare time for such discussions with their children, regardless of how busy their schedule is. The holiday camp also had formation of awareness groups in their respective sectors which the girls said they are committed to. Monica Dusengimana said she is going to gather fellow young girls in her sector of Murambi, along with colleagues from the camp, and form an awareness club. She believes if they take the initiative it will reduce the spread of false information that eventually leads to teen pregnancy. “Most of the girls don’t have access to proper information, it is my responsibility to let them know we as girls have to protect ourselves. At school or home, we will discuss the dos and don'ts,” she said. Gatsibo District has partnered with organisations including Plan International to extend awareness on teen pregnancy. Their services have reached more than 8,000, Jaques Bakundukize, the region representative, said. With such efforts, teen pregnancies in Gatsibo might reduce from the 1,574 recorded by the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion, ranking the district as the second most affected in the province.