REDUCING TEENAGE PREGNANCIES AND MARRIAGES PROGRAM
HOW CAN WE PUT AN END TO IT?
The fortress of Hope organization has made it a mandate to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and marriages in different communities. The following are some of the methods to be implemented;
Keep adolescent boys and girls in school
Create “safe spaces” for boys and girls
Ensure multi sectoral collaboration against child marriage
Zambia has a population of about 16.2 million people, of which approximately 40% live in urban areas and nearly 70% live below the poverty line (The World Bank, 2016; UNICEF, 2016). The country is home to six million children, of which a quarter million are out of school and 47% of those enrolled do not complete primary school (UNICEF, 2015).The legal age for marriage under statutory law is 18 for females and 21 for males. However, Zambia is ranked 16th among the countries with the highest child marriage rates and the prevalence of teenage pregnancy is also high.
Child marriage is defined as any legal or customary union involving a girl, boy, young woman or young man below the age of 181, while teenage pregnancy is defined as pregnancy before the age of 20. The two issues are complexly interrelated and have common causes and consequences. Poverty, gender inequality, cultural customs and traditions, lack of education and economic opportunities, and lack of access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) information and services have been identified as contributing factors to the prevalence of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.