FAWEZA working with communities to combat child marriages and teenage pregnancies

The Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA) is working with the community in Southern Province to combat Child Marriages/teenage pregnancies  among school going children. The Organisation has trained mother mentors and the neighborhood watch members    -who are gallant women and men from the communities, who have volunteered their time to promote and protect the rights of girls in Munjile and Mainza communities in Southern Province of Zambia.

Playing different roles, the mother mentors are charged with the responsibility of educating the school going girls on the ills of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. The mother mentors also monitor school absenteeism among the girls. They also provide counseling to the girls who are victims of child marriages/teenage pregnancies and encourage them to re-enter back into school.

Mother mentors and Neighborhood watch members pose for a photo with FAWEZA AED at Munjile primary school in Mazabuka district Southern Province of Zambia

On the other hand, the neighborhood watch committee is a link between the community and the Zambia Police in the area. The members of the committee are charged with a responsibility of reporting perpetrators of GBV in the communities especially those who marry or marry off learners. The committee in Munjile and Mainza communities in 2020 managed to report a total of 25 cases to the local Zambia Police-Victim Support Unit (VSU).

This is under the “access to justice for adolescent girls”- project being implemented through financial support from  Equality Now – A Nairobi Based NGO. The project has seen a total of 15 girls re-claim their school space after becoming pregnant and being married off.

In Zambia teenage pregnancies/child marriages continues to be one major cause for school drop-out among adolescent girls. The Ministry of General Education statistics show that annually, over 15,000 girls drop out of school due to pregnancies. This scenario is of great concern to FAWEZA.

To compliment government’s efforts, FAWEZA continues to accelerate training of teachers in comprehensive sexuality education so that they cascade the knowledge to learners, FAWEZA empowers families with financial literacy so that families are able to meet the basic needs of school going children and support their education. In addition, the organisation conducts community awareness on the ills of child marriages and teenage pregnancies to mention but a few interventions FAWEZA implements to curb teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Zambia.

FAWEZA re-enters 460 teen mothers back to schools

FAWEZA in the first and second quarter of 2019 has managed to re-enter a total of 460 girls back to school. This is under the organizations various projects aimed at ending child marriages, teenage pregnancies and enhancing access to sexual reproductive health rights issues.

With support from Swedish through NGOCC, NCA, CHAZ and an anonymous partner, the organization is raising community awareness through the trained community Action Groups(CAGs) on the importance of education and is urging traditional and religious leaders to support the implementation of the re-entry policy in Zambia.

Among some of the 460 girls that the organization has re-entered, the girls are being provided with education support which includes payment of school fees and purchase of school requirement.

Re-entered girls in Mazabuka District –Southern Province
Re-entered girls in Petauke District with FAWEZA staff

GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR TEEN MOTHERS TO COMPLETE SCHOOL

FAWEZA is supporting teen mothers in Eastern Province to go back to school and complete the education cycle for a better future for both the mother and child.

Following the Re-Entry Policy and guidelines girls are given a chance to go back to school with an aim of reducing the poverty and illiteracy levels in communities and making their lives better. This will also enable them to make decisions from and informed point of view as well as actively participate in matters that concern them and leadership position.