The commitment was made in Dar es Salaam on Thursday by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Mr Selestine Gesimba during a signing ceremony for a 640m/- facility from the government of Japan to help girls aged from 13 to 19 who drop from schools due to pregnancies.
“We are grateful for the support from the Japanese government and we will make sure that all the girls who drop out of school get a second chance to continue with education,” he said. Mr Gesimba said further that the government would work together with other stakeholders to ensure that all the adolescent girls particularly those dropped out of school from early pregnancies get second chance to access education.
He said the move is aimed at improving the quality of life and social well-being of the nation. The two-year project will be implemented in Shinyanga Rural and Kahama district effective March 1, 2012 under the general supervision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
A UNESCO study found out that the two districts have one of the highest school dropout rates for adolescent girls in the country due to early pregnancies, said the Country Representative, Ms Vibeke Jensen. The districts have also been identified by other UN agencies for special intervention, “which will enable us to work together as One UN to increase the impact of our support to adolescent girls there,” she said.
She noted the issue of adolescent pregnancies does not only affect a girl's health but also limits her ability to pursue and complete formal education thus reducing their potential and ability to contribute to the social and economic development of their families, communities and to the nation as whole.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan, Mr Shuichiro Kawagushi said that his government had decided to support the project to provide opportunities for the adolescent girls to access education for the betterment of their lives and that of their nation at large.
Further Studies have shown that young men and women aged between 10- 19 constitute more than 20 per cent of Tanzania's population, with more than half of them being girls. The studies also show that 62 per cent of the girls marry before the age of 20, with many becoming mothers at a very young age.