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October 30, 2020

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COVID 19: Teenagers’ Health at risk as Schools stay Closed longer than expected

Based on the assessment conducted by Save generations organization on impacts of COVID 19 on right holders, it has been realised that there could be an increase of school drop out especially for girls due to different gendered impact of COVID 19 such as teenage pregnancies, early marriages , domestic work and others.
 
In this context Save generations is conducting an advocacy on GIRLS GO BACK TO SCHOOL after school reopening, to address the challenges that may hinder a girl’s education. 
 
As part of the above campaign  on Sunday, 20 September 2020 during Save Generations Organization Radio talk show which was aired on Flash FM to interact on ‘The Impacts of COVID 19 on adolescents (girls) education”, Parents have raised their concerns about the increasing COVID 19 effects on Teens’ reproductive health if schools are kept closed longer than some were expecting during the early times of the outbreak.

Mukamazimpaka Catheline, one of parents trained by Save Generations Organization, revealed that during this time of COVID 19 pandemic, a big number of teens are facing the pressure of COVID 19 which is leading them into various unsocial behaviour among them are sexual intercourses and drug abuse.

Mukamazimpaka said that lack of occupations and decreased interactions between parents and their children are among the causes that are aggravating the behavioural circumstances among adolescents during this difficult period.

She warned youth, especially adolescents’ girls that lack of Self discipline will bring negative impacts not only at personal level but also on their education level.

Mukamazimpaka was intervening during the talk show after revelations made by Umutoni Vanessa, a Senior Six student who said that today her peers are indulging in worrisome activities which include sexual intercourse among girls.

Umutoni explains that Girls ‘living conditions are at danger due to the difficulties that were brought by COVID 19 especially among poor households.

“Today some families are not getting food easily and from this situation some girls are deciding to have sex in exchange for money.” She said.

“This will bring negative impacts including getting pregnancies and consequently will miss school once the reopening is announced.” She said.

Apart from views of Umutoni, parents and school leaders have also affirmed that in times of COVID 19 emergency, teenage girls still continue to get pregnant and run an increased risk of getting sexually transmitted Health complications.

Nkurunziza Jean Bosco, the Headmaster of G.S Kabuga Catholic School emphasised that lack of occupation among teenagers is among the causes of such behaviours that are being manifested by adolescents during this time.

He said that “In most of the cases, when someone does not have occupation, he or she is likely to indulge into unsocial behaviour including having sex which results into unplanned pregnancies or getting some other diseases from sexual relations.”

Nkurunziza added that “It is possible that during this time of COVID 19, some teenage girls have got married while others have got pregnancies.”

However, he added that “once schools are reopened, we will not prevent them to be back to school since they are still entitled to the rights to education.”

It was noted that during this time of COVID 19, there may be cases of girls whose rights were violated citing early marriage or forced sex especially in remote areas.

Until today, there is no official study that was conducted to assess the status of living conditions among adolescents during the pandemic time, yet the problem might be worse than we can guess.

Mr. Nkurunziza added that “some students have got jobs and this will have an impact on their school performance since they will be very fond of money than concentrating on class lessons.”

As the problem can not be taken lightly, Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, a senior expert on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at Save Generations Organization, said that they are extensively investing more efforts in raising awareness among adolescents, parents and local leaders so that problems that can degrade the living conditions can be stopped.

READ ALSO: Expert explains myths and rumours surrounding Sexual, Reproductive Health, pregnancies among Teens

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