12 July 2017

Namibia: Teenage Pregnancy Rife At Rural Schools

Omeyantalala — Many learners and young girls living in remote areas are vulnerable to falling pregnant at a young age because they are not well sensitized to the negative socio-economic effects of early indulgence in sexual activities.

The situation is somewhat aggravated by the lack of parents' involvement in their children's lives, as well as living in abject poverty.

This is the case at Omeyantalala Combined School where teenage pregnancy is rife, although this year the number is said to have dropped drastically compared to previous years.

Acting school principal Saima Ihonya said only two girls in Grade 9 are pregnant this year. Ihonya could however not give comparative figures of cases of teenage pregnancy recorded over the years because she only resumed duty at the school this year.

"I was informed that for the past years it was worse, and the situation was only calmed due to upscale efforts of teachers who became proactive in advising learners, parents and the community at large regarding the issue of teenage pregnancy at the school. This year the number reduced because of that," stated Ihonya.

A Grade 9 pupil is expecting her second child in a span of just three years as she is presumed to have given birth to her first child when she was in Grade 7.

"The situation here is worsened by a lack of exposure as these kids here do not know anything apart from coming to school and going home to do domestic work.

"They even are amazed when they see a lot of cars like today. This vacuum has left them vulnerable and men in the community are taking advantage of that," stressed Ihonya when speaking on the sidelines of the Onkumbula circuit educational awards ceremony.

"Parents are also to be blamed for this, because they are not closely involved in their children's lives. They do not monitor and guide them. Imagine, they do not even have a vision of what they aspire to become in future - for them it is only to come to school. The only job they know is herding cattle or becoming a domestic worker, that's all," stated Ihonya.

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