October 27, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
In their effort to curb teenage pregnancy and girl child marriage in the Moyamba District, the ‘Fullness of Life for Children’, a project supported by MISEAN CARA, on Friday (October 23) held a one-day sensitisation campaign for school-going children in the district on the effect of teenage pregnancy and girl child marriage.
Schools that participated in the campaign include St. Joseph Vocational Secondary School, Hafford Girls Secondary School, St. Michael’s Secondary School and Khulafai Rashideen Muslim Secondary School – all in Moyamba District.
Speaking during the exercise, Program Coordinator of Fullness of Life for Children, Sister Rita Chiedu Ogbusu, said the aim of the campaign was to create awareness in the entire Moyamba District about the issues of teenage pregnancy and girl child marriage with the aim to reduce their occurrence in the area.
She said to curb the menace, they have decided to create Child Rights Watch Clubs in all the five schools.
“My heart bled when the Deputy Chief Education Officer showed me the statistics on incidences of teenage pregnancy in the district in the space of [just] six months; and within this period, there were already 2,532 cases of teenage pregnancy,” disclosed Sister Ogbusu.
She said even though they are operating under a tight budget, her organisation was still able to partner with the five secondary schools to carry out the campaign, adding that the sensitisaton did not only target girls but boys as well so that they too could resist the temptation of impregnating their female colleagues.
Sister Ogbusu pointed out that teenage pregnancy and early child marriage have been identified as the product of unusual behaviours of boys and girls in the absence of reproductive health knowledge, early sex exposure, poverty support structure, harmful traditional beliefs, and negative peer pressure.
Fanta Francess Koroma, an SSS3 pupil of the St. Joseph Vocational Secondary School, said the sensitisation has helped raise her level of awareness about teenage pregnancy and early marriage, and also the dangers involved in taking contraceptive pills at early age.
“I urge all my colleagues to abstain from early sex. I also call on parents not to let their children into early marriage, because getting pregnant into an early age will cause children to drop out of school,” she said.
She lauded the project for reaching out to them in the Moyamba District as a good number of her colleagues have dropped out of school due to lack of awareness on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and early marriage.
Another pupil, Mohamed J.Y. Bangura from the Khulafai Rashideen Secondary School, described the sensitisation campaign as a blessing for them and their parents because for the past years, many girl children had dropped out of school due to pregnancy or being sent to early marriage.
“I am therefore calling on my male colleagues to stop chasing these girls because if we say no to them, they will continue to be in school and fulfill their potential of getting higher education and contributing to the country’s development.