Tanzania has a young population, half of its 54 million citizens are children. The country is home to 12 million
adolescents (10-19 years), an age group expected to reach 30 million by 2050 (UNICEF, 2019). Teenage pregnancy in
Tanzania, as one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a very big problem, most of the teenage age of 15-19
are vulnerable. While a quarter of girls aged 15 - 19 years old have already begun child-bearing in Tanzania. As it is
reported by WHO (2015)while 18% of adolescents are currently married or living with a partner (WHO, 2019) Early
childbearing in Tanzania places girls’ health at risk as adolescents age group are
twice as likely to die in childbirth, far more they are prone to seek unsafe abortion procedures which have caused
death and disability because of its secrecy as it is a illegal procedure.
Furthermore, 39% of them are either mothers or pregnant with their first child by the time they are 19 years. Katavi Region has the highest teenage pregnancy rate of 45% followed by the Tabora Region with 43%. According to the TDHS, the prevalence has increased from 23% in 2010 to 27% in 2016 and UNFPA predicts that births to adolescent girls in Tanzania are going to double by the year 2030. The topic of adolescent pregnancy is receiving increasing attention in Tanzania from the high rates of female students dropping out of school, prompting NGOs to invest in programs addressing the issue. Once a girl tests positive for the pregnancy she is expelled from school immediately, thus denied the opportunity to get education and skills. Between 2003 and 2016, over 89,000 girls dropped out or were expelled from primary and secondary schools due to their pregnancies and LHRC published that the adolescence pregnancy reported cases in 1 year started from 2018 to 2019 were 2,540. Even though girls could return to school after childbearing, the reality is that many do not return whether it is due to financial constraints or social stigma. As a result, there is a tendency of girls dropping out between primary and secondary school, as parents fear that they will get pregnant during the latter stages of their schooling. Therefore, the decision to stop these girls from continuing with their education due to early pregnancy eventually stunts their social and economic growth leaving them limited to find standard employment opportunities as their incomplete their education levels leaving them and their children in a continuous vicious cycle of poverty.
Because of the Corona Virus Disease Pandemic schools were closed for almost 4 months, the rural lifestyle of the most of the families and the national strategy against COVID-19 did not allow them to spends their pandemic time in lockdown which makes them very vulnerable for becoming pregnant. As it was reported by KIVULINI that within one month from March, 2020 to April, 2020 total number of 101 schooled girls were reported of being pregnant only in Shinyaga Region and 1,194 in Morogoro from March, 2020 to September, 2020. There is no statistical report issued by the government but Save the Children approximated the increase of 5% to 7% of adolescence pregnant rate especial in rural area as the effect of closing the schools due to COVID-19 pandemic. Given that youth under 18 years of age make up 51% of Tanzania’s national population, it is essential to invest in their well-being as this group has the potential to contribute towards the country’s development.
Teen pregnancies mostly end up contributing to so
many other public problems both socio-economically and health-wise. Most of the earlier studies effort focus on either to determine
factor contributing to or methods of preventing it in school where sexual reproductive health education is promoted. Many organizations
deal with either youth empowerment or women empower for the main reason of reducing gender inequality. However, we are forgetting young
mothers share similar needs more than normal adolescent girls. General, they face various struggles in supporting their child and
themselves, making it necessary to address their needs for surviving in our society.
All the sources make it evident that adolescent pregnancy is an emerging development issue, emphasizing on how it is not merely a health concern for the country. The implications of early childbearing faced by pregnant adolescents and young mothers are brought to attention, mentioning how girls’ abilities to continue their education in Tanzania are affected due to various reasons and they are remaining in poverty.
Based on the comprehended effect of Adolescent pregnancy, different efforts should be directed toward the creation of a conducive environment to support income generation prosperity. Adaptive short-term and long-term entrepreneurship training programmes are designed to empower low- and middle income generating pregnant girls and young mothers who cannot afford the related training fees. Income generation groups are to be established and trained in workshops and classrooms to develop necessary entrepreneurship skills such as tailoring skills, customer care, self-management etc., with the aim of supporting them to start their career with enough confidence. This will help to increases the young mothers’ income, status, challenge occupational gender-segregation and wage gaps which help to break the poverty cycle.
The Total budget of this project for all activities is US$26,439.66 per year. Since it is the activities based
project under different phases,
funding is allocated depending on the scope of the proposed activities, it may only be increased
based on the number of trainee/participants against the availability of fund when it is necessary.
We are aware of many in regional projects implemented by non-profit organisations are focused on preventing teenage pregnancy, it will not be fair if we do not appreciate their work because we know it is very important to balance both side, the victims' side and vulnerable side in order to eradicate the rate of teenage pregnancy . We are hoping this project will help to cross the present income cap.