Not Her Fault!

Denyse Uwineza (Rwanda)

Mutoni experienced early pregnancy when she was 17 years, at the beginning of 2014. This destroyed her life because she dropped out of school and is currently raising her child alone. Mutoni’s case is only one example of the many “adolescent pregnancy” cases in Rwanda. This shows that there is still a lot to do to teach adolescents how to prevent early pregnancy so as to reduce the number of such cases in Rwanda and Africa as a whole. 

The contribution of parents, teachers and society as a whole are needed to teach adolescents on how to prevent early pregnancy. Role models play an important role in a teenager’s daily life but most of them do not deeply discuss sexuality with them. The lack of complete, clear and accessible information is a major factor that influences these young people to prematurely engage in sexual activities and possibly be impregnated. Moreover, other dynamics also contribute to the overlooking of contraceptive measures by adolescents. For example, the gender dynamics in romantic relationships, the ambiguity between “gender expectations” that a girl should be the only one “in charge” of prevention and the immorality associated to a teenage girl’s expertise in the matter.  

Some parents in African countries use an authoritarian approach to talk to their kids, especially on sexual topics. However, there are some parents who facilitate their children to obtain information, either by telling them or encouraging them to listen to their teachers’ education. Like Mutoni, most of the girls who get pregnant meet challenges such as inadequate family support, depression, dropping out of school, poverty and socio-economic deprivation. Many times they are not living with their parents, instead they are alone or with friends or boyfriends or relatives.

Girls and Boys have to take care of their adolescent hood and be responsible of their own lives. Even if role models play an important role in adolescent life, teenagers too have to a part to play by behaving correctly. People need to know that a child does not only belong to his/her biological parents and teachers, but also to the whole society. The contribution of each person in our society is vital to help adolescents, both boys and girls, to get the right information related to sexuality.  Once boys and girls have access to adequate information, they will be able to make more informed decisions regarding their sexual life.

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