37% of TZ women under 18 are cohabiting, alarming teen pregnancy and school dropout rates

Pregnant teen

Pregnant teen

C-Sema, a non-government has revealed that at least 37 per cent of young women in the cin Tanzania below the age of 18 are cohabiting with men.

The organisation also says 764,000 young women aged between 20 and 24 living with men to whom they are not officially married.

According to the organisations, these women are living in abusive relationships and they are missing out on things like education.

C-Sema Chief Executive Officer Joel Kiiya said in Dar es Salaam Sunday the trend of young mothers is worsening especially in Shiyanga, Tabora and Mara which leads with the highest rate of teen pregnancy.

United National Population Fund (UNFPA) latest report says in the next ten years more than 140 million girls worldwide will be married before they are 18.

Mr. Kiiya notes this trend is likely continue and that one million girls born between 2005 and 2010 will be married before the age of 18 by 2030.

UNFPA figures indicate 61 per cent of married girls were not educated while 39per cent of the married have just primary education with 5 per cent with a secondary education.

“Parents are also involved in marrying off young girls because they want to become rich. So poverty was found to be one among the reasons of young marriages.” Kiiya said.

C-Sema Child Protection Coordinator, Michael Kihongoh said early marriages have been associated with increase maternal and infant health risks as during pregnancy and child birth young mothers are more likely to die from birth complications.

A 2009 report on violence against children in Tanzania indicated 6 per cent of young girls were being forced into sex with 16 young girls carrying out abortions on a daily basis.

SoS Children’s Village Tanzania Advocacy Coordinator, John Batisita said his organization has launched a two year ‘care for me’ campaign to create awareness about the phenomenon.

Batisita said they want to ensure that the Department of Social Welfare is funded to equip staff and health experts with capacity to handle children issues.

“Now we have just launched Nijali campaign to continue advocacy on child care system reforms,” he said adding “we’re concerned that over 200,000 children are in child headed households.”

According to the ministry of Education and Vocational Training report 800,000 children drop out of school every year due to pregnancy with 300,000 of them being primary school kids and the remainder being secondary school dropouts.