NGO links lack of dorms to pregnancies

TEENAGE pregnancies have taken a heavy toll on schoolgirls countrywide.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board secretary Patricia Mubanga says lack of boarding facilities in needy areas has contributed to teenage pregnancies and the high school drop-out rate for girls .
Speaking in Chirundu at the handover of a 50-bed capacity girls’ dormitory at Lusitu Secondary School, Ms Mubanga observed that 16,000 girls dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancies last year.
Ms Mubanga said lack of boarding facilities in communities in need has been the major contributing factor to the scourge.
“Lack of boarding facilities pushes girls into squatting in surrounding communities, making them vulnerable to teenage pregnancies, early and child marriages,” Ms Mubanga said.
The boarding facilities were built by Community Youth Concern (CYC) with the support of NGOCC and the Norwegian embassy.
And CYC executive director Agness Mushanga said K400,000 was spent on the construction of the girls’ dormitory, ablution block and a wire fence.
“We are sure that the boarding facilities will help improve their studying and learning. Most of the rented houses are not conducive for studying…we shall continue supporting girl-child education,” Ms Mushanga said.
And a grade 12 pupil, Riana Deene, said the school has 797 pupils, but only 55 girls are currently accommodated in the school dormitories.
“The other batch of 209 and 533 boys still remain unaccommodated. They are renting in villages around, and this poses a great danger of misconduct and abuse of the girl-child,” Ms Deene said.

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