A Global Youth Ambassador from Tanzania makes a passionate plea for the president to change his mind on pregnant schoolgirls and teenage mothers.
President John P. Magufuli of Tanzania was not right in his statement on banning teen mothers from resuming school.
It means a high number of girls will still be uneducated. Even before teen mothers were not allowed to continue schooling, over 15,000 girls dropped out due to pregnancy in 2015 and the number is expected to rise according to a Human Rights Watch report.
According to a report by Twaweza, 62% of Tanzanians want pregnant teen girls to resume schooling, while 21% want teen mothers to be expelled. Still the government turns a deaf ear to the majority's wishes.
Girls in primary and secondary school need sexual reproductive health rights information and education in classes.
They need ways to prevent themselves from engaging in early sexual relationships, as most do not get this at home - especially in the rural communities.
Hasn't the president thought that even some teachers are the source of some girls getting pregnant?
I want to tell the people, especially mothers, who support him that the ban will have a big impact on the future of girls' education and careers.
You cannot determine what can happen to a girl child. Most schools are far away and roads are bad. A girl is at risk of getting raped or sexually abused.
In most countries there is government legislative policy that allows girls to resume schooling.
A good example is the Zanzibar government with the Spinster and Single Parents Protection Act 2015, that allows a girl to resume schooling one or two years later after delivery. Why can't we adopt that too?
Getting pregnant at an early age can only be prevented if girls have sex education in schools and the Police Gender Desks in Tanzania work effectively to protect girls from circumstances such as rape.
Teachers themselves should not be part of the problem but the solution.
Please sign my petition calling for President Magufuli to change his statement. Over 2000 supporters have signed in just three days.