In the case of Zimbabwe, the challenges have been compounded by Covid-19
By Patience Nkomo
The girl child has always been considered vulnerable in all communities world wide.
Though we might try to outlook on both sides and try to portray them equally the girl child will always remain as the most disadvantaged in many cases.
Considering that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected every part of youths we find that girls and women have been left under tight situations which can only be cut off by implementing more effective ways that will protect and empower girls and women for a long lasting period.
Therefore as TYP we strive to cut off those causes and effects that have been leading to vulnerability of young girls in Zimbabwe.
Our aim is to create great future leaders under a clean and safe environment.
Looking at the current situation in Zimbabwe you find out that unexpected pregnancies in young women and girls are increasing day by day due to the economic situations and many other factors that have been brought by the pandemic situation.
Young people according to some studies identified teenage pregnancy as the main driver of child marriage. Several key elements underpin this pathway.
Young people are surrounded by their peers talking about having sex, the more likely they are to have a teenage pregnancy.
Young people cited a variety of factors influencing early sexual debut.
The most frequently cited were peer pressure from friends, access to pornographic materials or early exposure to sexual activity through sleeping in the same room with parents, and lack of skills to handle the sexual urges of puberty.
Lack of access to contraceptives for adolescents.
Participants identified several causes. One cause was reluctance from sexual and reproductive health service providers and parents to accept the sexual activity of adolescents, which resulted in restricted and sanctioned access to contraceptives.
However even though we might try to blame all these factors sited by the young people themselves you find that the most disturbing factor is our Zimbabwean economic situation which has been by the Covid-19.
We find that young girls have been exposed to child marriages and early sex indulging due to poverty as they are left with no option than to trade their bodies for money and food.
Its a pity that food security is found as of the causes of child marriages and early pregnancies whereas it is the duty of the government to ensure there is enough food supplies in all communities around the country.
The Zimbabwean government should show that it is serious about tackling the scourge of child marriage and teenage pregnancies.
The future of millions of African girls depends on African leaders taking action to end a devastating practice that has robbed girls of education and exposing them to abuse.
Above that pregnant girls happen to be more likely to easily contact the corona virus, our question is what measures are being taken to protect those young women and girls. It’s now illegal for Zimbabwe schools to expel pregnant girls from school, which happens to be a good move to our vulnerable young girls.
Legal amendment comes as school closures due to COVID-19 raise fears of a rise in sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies. In 2018, 12.5 percent of school dropouts stopped attending classes due to pregnancy or marriage reasons – almost all of them girls, according to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education statistics.
A legal amendment was announced to reinforce a 1999 guideline that was patchily implemented, and comes as school closures due to coronavirus raise fears of a rise in sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies.
Many parents of pregnant girls, or the girls themselves, decide to quit schooling due to the pregnancy, and schools do not always do enough to encourage them to stay, officials say.
We applause for the government for taking such a bold step, but however, are they going to make the schools a safe environment for those pregnant girls or they are just going to be ignored of their needs.
Considering those from poor communities, they need to be provided with healthy diets and all requirements required for a pregnant woman to survive on a daily basis.
Of causes they may be allowed to attend and continue with their education but have we considered their living conditions at schools and homes.
Laying aside all sorts of factors leading to teenage pregnancy and child marriages, what action is being done towards churches, cultures and even individuals who are driving sexual abuse and child marriages in communities.
Patience Nkomo is The Young Patriots Secretary For Finance. The article is published in partnership with The Sunday Express E-edition
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