Recent reports show that the number of teenage pregnancies is increasing. This has prompted The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) to partner with other institutions and launched a one-year campaign with an aim of addressing causes of teenage pregnancies and challenges that affect the girl-child education and dignity.
The campaign started in February 2018 and will end in February 2019 under the theme, “My Future Lies in my Hands”.
The campaign is being conducted in partnership with other institutions such as MINEDUC, MINALOC, MINISPOC, MINIYOUTH, and NCC among many others.
The campaign is mainly focusing on proper understanding of reproductive health among teenage girls, build knowledge on addressing family conflicts, fighting drug abuse among the youth, embracing best values of Rwandan culture, fighting genocide ideology, strengthening sports and reading culture among others.
During the campaign, efforts will as well be directed towards reducing child domestic labor, building girls’ confidence and elimination of sex-for-money vices, and enlighten them and their families on the importance of being financially independent and or self-reliant.
MIGEPROF has also identified a challenge of long distances that teenage girls have to cover from their homes to school and lacking special sanitary rooms for girls as some of the causes for school dropout.
The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHs) 2015 indicated that about 7 per cent of teenage girls were impregnated while the figures by ministry of health’s survey in 2016 showed that 17,444 girls between 16 and 19 years old were impregnated.
The RDH 2014-15 report highlights that impregnated teenagers have limited knowledge about reproductive health, their rights to justice, while others, even when it was confirmed they had been defiled, had their issues informally handled in families without referring to courts of law.
In the national family promotion policy, it is well stipulated that girls should be protected and supported by their parents, foster families, teachers, leaders at all levels and, particularly, children should also involve in protecting themselves and fighting whatever might affect their future, education and health.
Through the campaign, MIGEPROF is also sensitizing key stakeholders along the chain of educating children to expend more efforts in preventing and fighting all challenges that affect girl education and welfare.
The Ministry is also involved in urging girls to join TVETs schools as a way of getting them empowered with skills that will enable them smoothly fit into the labor market or create their own jobs.
The Ministry awarded scholastic materials to best performers in composing and airing poems, dance, drama and songs that deliver messages on addressing challenges that affect girl-child education.
Girls who are already affected by teenage pregnancies are being supported in various ways to be able to adapt and transform their lives.
At the beginning the campaign was carried out in 34 schools in 10 districts namely: Gatsibo and Nyagatare in Eastern province, Rubavu and Ngororero in Western province, Burera and Gicumbi in Northern province, Huye and Ruhango in Southern province as well as Gasabo and Nyarugenge district in Kigali city. The districts were selected basing on the great number of impregnated teenagers. “All the schools across the Country organized poems, songs/dance and drama competitions around the theme on 20th Feb, 2018.”