Khomas tackles teenage pregnancies
Over the past three years, teenage pregnancies in the Khomas region have more than doubled: The figure has climbed from 246 in 2019 to 598 in 2021.
The chairperson of the Khomas regional council, John Moonde, says some of the pregnancies in 2021 were not those individuals’ first pregnancies. “I have been made aware of cases where pupils live with their boyfriends and live with their children's fathers - who are usually older men.”
The governor of Khomas, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, believes gender-based violence and gender inequality also contribute to student pregnancies in the region. “Violence against women and girls is an extreme manifestation of gender inequality.”
Rosa Namises, the director of Women Solidarity Namibia, referred to the high incidence of child marriages in Namibia after recent media reports claimed that 64000 girls and women were married before the age of 18. Namises said that an estimated 90% of children of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were born within marriage.
However, the impact of poverty on student pregnancies is not ignored.
With more than 43% of Namibians trapped in multidimensional poverty, there is no doubt that many schoolgirls end up in undesirable circumstances due to their economic status, according to the Namibia Multidimensional Poverty Index.
The index believes that children bear the brunt of the burden of poverty.
In an effort to combat gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies, a community and school project on gender awareness, and the management and prevention of teenage pregnancies has been launched.
According to Emilie Haipinge, the coordinator for the Khomas region's health task force for schools, this project would be twofold. The project aims to prevent teenage pregnancy through awareness and education, and to encourage young parents to complete their school careers through the necessary support. - [email protected]