- National Teenage Pregnancy Secretariat
April 20, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Sierra Leone will this week launch a new campaign to discourage the practice of pupils and students trading sex for grades in schools and tertiary institutions across the country.
The campaign, tagged ‘No Sex for Grade’, is expected to raise awareness among teenage school girls on the negative impact of early sex on their health and educational output.
National Coordinator of the secretariat, Rugiatu Kanu, told a presser in Freetown on Friday, 17 April, that the campaign was a drive to empower girls with information to make healthy choices in their sexual and reproductive health.
Quoting the Sexual Offences Act of 2012, Ms. Kanu underscored that persons below the age of 18 years cannot give consent to sexual intercourse, adding that consent would not be accepted in a court of law as defence in cases of offences against under-aged girls.
She noted that trading grades in exchange for sex has immediate and future impact on education and job opportunities, as according to her, the ability to cope with work could be very challenging while access to job opportunities could be limited.
She warned teachers and lecturers in the habit of exchanging passing grades for sex with pupils/students to desist henceforth as the law prescribes a penalty of Le10 million or one year jail term on conviction.
She opined that having sex without condom increases the risk of teenage pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV/AIDS, with the latter having debilitating effects which could have short and long term effect on victims.
“The outcome of pregnancy for some could be a bitter experience due to immature development of the pelvis,” said Madam Kanu. “Majority of pregnant teenagers develop obstetric complications such as obstructed labour which requires caesarian operation. Moreover, one third of teenage pregnancy ends in abortion.”