TARIME residents have been urged to prioritise education for girls instead of nurturing them to grow and become married in tender ages for dowry purposes.
Making the appeal during an interview with journalists in a forum facilitated by Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), Children Dignity Forum CDF and Equality Now, Tarime District Council Social Welfare Officer, Ms Siwema Silvester said: "In our district we still have challenges of child marriages as the society have a tendency to let their girls be married in tender ages for bride prices against their human rights and dignity."
She said as the government has made efforts to provide all with education, the communities should see the essence of educating the girl-child and establishing Youth Clubs in schools and villages as a way of appealing to
them to mobilise girls to go to school.
The Officer further noted that the clubs will focus on young people as a forum, where they discuss their challenges to address child marriage and other forms of obstacles they face towards acquiring education.
Commenting, Tarime District Education Officer, Mr Tumaini Msoma, said the area has been releasing a big number of female pupils dropping out of primary school as a result of teenage pregnancies.
"In our schools there are educational curriculums which teach Life Skills and continue to remind students how to avoid dangerous practices, but that has not achieved a lot," he said.
However, in the past two years, the number of teenage pregnancies has been declining in the area as result of the girls being continuously educated on the dangers of early sex.
"We have been talking to parents through school councils at least twice a year and also in concerts to remind their daughters to avoid early sex... this is helping," he pointed out.
Mr Msoma said as an education officer, they have been receiving information from some schools, where their pupils are impregnated that cases are supposed to be repotted to Police and finally a court of law, but cooperation from the parents has been low, because they prefer to marry the girls in tender ages and get dowry.
On his part, Mr Chacha Mgosi, a parent from Mwema Ward said many pupils still lack awareness on the importance of education, and hence, become easily duped into sexual affairs, despite their tender ages.
"... when a child becomes pregnant, however, she should be suspended from school and advised to go to clinic, although some parents expel them from homes and force them to marry prematurely. "During the period when they stay at home after giving birth, we should advise their parents to send them for vocational training for short courses, so that they become entrepreneurs to work and earn money for their basic needs," he added.
Commenting, Debora Petro (25) from Binagi Ward Tarime District, however, challenged the pupils to concentrate on their studies and parents to stop seeing the girls as sources of making money from pride price