LOCAL Youth based NGO, SAYWHAT has added its voice o the growing demands for government and parliament to tighten the forthcoming new marriage bill as a way to stop child marriages and pregnancies.
In a statement issued Thursday, in commemoration of the 2021 International Youth Day, SAYWHAT expressed concerns over an upsurge in teenage pregnancies and marriages.
SAYWHAT specialises in sexual and reproductive health among students in local tertiary institutions.
"The successive media reports on sexual relationships involving minors of late are very worrying and disturbing. The death of a 14-year-old Memory Machaya in Marange, a few weeks ago while giving birth, as reported in the media, is an indictment on the religious apostolic sect institution. SAYWHAT recommends government and parliament of Zimbabwe to introduce stricter measures in the upcoming new marriage bill to stop child marriage and violation of young people's sexual and reproductive health rights," the organisation said.
"Government's report released in April 2021, shows that between January and February 2021, nearly 5 000 teenage girls became pregnant while 1 800 entered into early marriages during the same period. This makes a sad reading and SAYWHAT implores government to take on board young people's sexual and reproductive rights in its developmental agendas. The organisation believes that sexual and reproductive health rights are keying the run up to the vision 2030. A nation with healthy youths is guaranteed of success and continuity," it said.