By Correspondent Daniel Semberya

Early pregnancies to school girls have been a major obstacle for many girls to continue with their education and attain their dreams, particularly those in secondary schools.

TGNP Mtandao through its various established knowledge centers in collaboration with local government authorities in given respective areas has been carrying out education awareness tirelessly to parents and girl students to mitigate the situation of girls drop out of school.

Speaking with this paper in an exclusive interview over the weekend Secretary of Kalimawe Knowledge Centre, in Same District, one of TGNP Mtandao’s established centers Ms. Zubeda Amiri said that many schoolgirls get pregnancies after being cheated by boda-boda boys for cheap lifts.

“Our school girls spend about two and a half hours to reach where their school is located in another ward. They usually get exhausted because of the long distance, and as a result some of these fall prey to boda-boda boys,” she explained.

She has said that their knowledge center in collaboration with local authorities, has been working jointly to ensure the challenge has been addressed.

Amiri has further called upon for the intervention of the government and other key stakeholders in the sector because their efforts (knowledge center) was not enough to arrest the situation.

She further requested the government with other key stakeholders in the education sector need to build another secondary school in their ward to reduce the distance of going to school for these girls in a different ward.

For her part, Assistant Chairperson of Makokane Knowledge Centre, Kalimawe Ward, Same District, Ms. Amina Juma has also called upon the government and the private sector to join hands and build a secondary school in their neighborhood.

“We hope that when the school is built very close to our villages it would automatically reduce the walking distance of our school girls that has been a major contributing factor for them to fall prey for Boda Boda boys, who have been impregnating them,” she noted.

Ms. Juma has commended TGNP Mtandao, saying through their education on various social issues, they have been going around to different primary and secondary schools educating girls on how they can avoid child pregnancies, while still at school.

Another assistant chairperson of Lugulu knowledge Centre, Same district, Ms. Monica Sempoli building dormitories could be one of the solutions for their girls not to get pregnant.

“When our girls will be in boarding school, they will no longer walk a long distance to and from home to school every day. And they will not be trapped by boda-boda boys or fellow boy students.”

Senior Programme Officer Movement Building with TGNP Mtandao, Ms. Anna Sangai said that last year TGNP in collaboration with ONGAWA carried out a project titled Human Right to water and sanitation of girls and women in Northern Tanzania, through participatory Action Research with communities in those areas, found that early pregnancies were one of their major concerns.

Regarding early pregnancies for school girls, Sangai has also suggested the need to construct dormitories that will accommodate girl students coming from away from school.

She also urged the government to send to those schools women teachers who have a knowledge of sexual reproductive health who will among other things will tech girls on reproductive health.

Other findings indicate that despite continuing early marriage practices and early childbirth, domestic violence, and other gender-based discrimination, overall gender parity in Tanzania is generally better than in comparable countries due to the country’s efforts to advance women’s’ empowerment.

The main challenges to girls’ education in Tanzania include the following: Drop out is mainly caused by truancy, pregnancy, death, poverty, and illness. On the side of girls’ education, early pregnancies are one of the contributing factors for drop out.

For example in 2014, pregnancy at the Primary Education level was 265 (0.3%) while at Lower Secondary level was 3,510 (4.8% of all dropouts) as per BEST, 2015).

Girls Transition Rate shows that number of girls decreases as they move from low to higher levels of education compared to their counterparts boys.

Tanzania’s abolition of secondary school fees and contributions has been a huge step toward improving access to secondary education…

“But the government should do more to address the crowded classrooms, discrimination, and abuse that undermine many adolescents’ education.”