15th June 2021, Nairobi Kenya: The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children (ACERWC) CSO Forum have partnered to produce a documentary highlighting the impact of teenage pregnancies in Africa in achieving aspiration 7 of Agenda 2040. Dubbed ‘Her stolen childhood’, the documentary was launched today to raise awareness on the provision of reducing teen pregnancies in Africa.
The 12-minute documentary is aimed at showcasing the lived experiences of pregnant teenagers including those impregnated during the COVID 19 pandemic period, as well as advocating for a strong legal framework on teen pregnancies.
Speaking during the launch webinar, FAWE Deputy Executive Director Ms. Teresa Omondi-Adeitan said, “The Covid-19 situation that we are currently in has seen a high increase in teenage pregnancies and caused mainly by school closures. The statistics available on the increase in these cases are proof that girls are more protected while they are in school. Homes, which we thought are safe, have proved not to be safe as these cases have increased when the girls are at home. Unfortunately those responsible are those in authority whom we expect to give guidance and support.”
The documentary will provide a glimpse of the experiences that the pregnant teenagers go through using their own words via storytelling. Further, it will also highlight the processes put in place by the African Union (AU) and other CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) to ensure that girls enjoy their rights.
Ms. Felistus Motimedi the Regional Coordinator of Child Rights Network of Southern Africa emphasized on the importance of multi sectoral approach to dealing with the challenges facing girls in Africa saying, ” To achieve Aspiration 7 of Agenda 2040 will require all hands on deck, state parties can’t do it by themselves, we as Civil Society Organizations need to work along them as well working with girls and young women to ensure our girls are able to enjoy their childhood”.
Pregnancies among girls less than 18 years of age have irreparable consequences. It violates the rights of girls, with life-threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health, continuity in education and poses high development costs for communities, particularly in perpetuating the cycle of poverty. This therefore calls for immediate action to enforce laws protecting the rights of children and particularly of girls irrespective of their environment; guarantee education and health needs even in the event of exposure to harmful practices, pandemics, and calamities. There is also need to eliminate the risks of violence, pregnancy among girls less than 18 years of age, HIV infection, and maternal deaths and disability.
It is a point of concern that girls do not have access to adolescent friendly parenting information. Lack of proper reproductive health education or access and the fact that there are no structures or channels in the homes and villages for a child to disclose or talk about these issues have been found to negatively affect the child’s right to participation in matters that affect them most.
The documentary, which screened for the first time on the Day of the African Child 2021 shed light on the grave effects of teenage pregnancies on girls’ lives especially in terms of their right to protection, survival and development, and participation.
In 2020, FAWE and the CSOs forum developed a position paper prompting the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children (ACERWC) on the need to collect more data on teenage pregnancies. This recommendation was endorsed and documented as a way forward in the CSOs statement to the 36th ACERWC ordinary meeting.
Furthermore, as Africa celebrates 30 years since the operationalization of the ACRWC in 1990, the documentary will shed light on progress of vulnerable girls’ access to basic education and the ability of governments to ensure retention rates are consistent and school dropouts rates are reduced as envisioned in Article 11 (3 a and b) respectively.
View link to documentary here: https://youtu.be/YiOIB3P9P0w
Note to Editors
The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is a pan-African Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 1992 by five women ministers of education to promote girls’ and women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa in line with Education for All. The organisation’s members include female ministers of education, university vice-chancellors, education policy-makers, researchers, gender specialists and human rights activists. www.fawe.org
About ACERWC CSOs forum
The CSO Forum is regional network of child focused organization working towards full implementation of children rights. The Forums mandate is derived from the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. www.childrencsoforum.africa
For further information please contact:
FAWE Africa Communication Officer
Ms. Emily Buyaki
Regional Coordinator of Child Rights Network of Southern Africa
Ms. Felistus Motimedi