Educating Young Mothers Matters
There are many obstacles for Tanzanian girls that keep them from going to school – reasons such as poverty, discrimination, child labor, social norms and pregnancy often stand between girls and education. SEGA helps girls get an education despite these difficulties, even if it means going against societal pressures. One way SEGA does this is by allowing pregnant girls and young mothers to attend school.
While Tanzanian law technically allows pregnant girls to continue their education, typically the practice is to immediately expel a girl from school as soon as the school discovers her pregnancy. Even from its inception, SEGA has advocated and offered quality education for all girls, including young or expecting mothers. Three years ago SEGA was featured in a nationwide UNICEF campaign to change the practice of expelling pregnant girls. Since then SEGA has continued to advocate on behalf of young pregnant women and provide sexual education. Specifically SEGA teachers educate students about how to prevent unwanted and early pregnancy and strongly encourage students to abstain from sex until after their education is complete.
By helping young mothers get an education and teaching sex ed, it is SEGA’s hope that all students will have the skills and knowledge to make educated decisions. There is no doubt good education directly affects a woman’s decisions – in fact, studies have shown girls who stay in school for seven or more years typically marry four years later and have two fewer children than girls who drop out. Arming students with knowledge and life skills will help vulnerable women break the poverty cycle and make informed decisions about their futures.