UNFPA Botswana NewsFlash United Nations Population Fund NOVEMBER 2013 The 2013 UNFPA SWOP Report Launched in Nata She said the 2013 statistics indicate that 35 school girls fell pregnant at Shakawe and Matshekge senior secondary schools. Dr Venson-Moitoi said “adolescent pregnancy does not only affect the pregnant girl but also has detrimental social and economic on her family, the community and the nation at large”. She further explained that many girls who became pregnant and dropped out of school had limited future opportunities. Minister of Education and Skills Development, Hon Pelonomi VensonMoitoi and the UNFPA Country Representative Ms Aisha CamaraDrammeh launching the 2013 SWOP Report — at Nata Botswana joined the rest of the World in launching the 2013 State of the World Population Report (SWOP) Report. Each year, the United Nations Member States launch the SWOP Report addressing topical Population and Development issues. The 2013 Report is entitled: Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy. The report indicates that adolescent pregnancy is a huge global problem, especially in developing countries, where every year 7.3 million girls under 18 give birth. Of these 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls 14 or younger, who suffer the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstetric fistula. The report places particular emphasis on girls 14 and younger who are at double the risk of maternal death and obstetric fistula. Hon Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi raised concern that teenage pregnancy remained high at the current level of 9.7 per cent in Botswana. She revealed that about 453 students dropped out of secondary schools due to pregnancy in 2011 and about 39 of dropped out of primary school the same year. The Minister noted that the number increased to 730 in 2012 and Nata alone recorded 37 pregnancies. The UNFPA Country Representatives emphasized that adolescent pregnancy is detrimental to the health, wellbeing and livelihood of young people and called upon policy-makers, service providers and all stakeholders to come up with measures that will enable adolescent girls to make responsible choices in life. “It is my hope that through this launch, we will re– dedicate and renew our efforts to empower young people including adolescent girls and boys with comprehensive sexuality education information to facilitate their ability to make informed choices and prevent pregnancies”, Students from various schools in and around Nata Village attended the launch UNFPA Botswana - Newsflash November 2013 United Nations Population Fund she said. Providing perspectives on adolescent pregnancy on behalf of young people, Bodule Ketlogetswe indicated that the social environment places adolescents in their area at risk of engaging in behaviours that jeopardize healthy transitions to adulthood. She said young women are enticed by truck drivers who lure them into sexual relations in exchange for money and other small ‘gifts’. She emphasized that “as a nation we cannot seat back and relax as if this issue is not affecting us. A lot of young people we were looking forward to have tripped-off. Intelligent girls who could have been future doctors, engineers and leaders of tomorrow have been tripped-off by wrong personal decisions. It is now time to say no to teenage pregnancy”. The launch of the 2013 SWOP report was held in Nata on 31 October 2013. Activities of the day included: presentation of an overview the Report by UNFPA Country Representative, Ms Aisha Camara-Drammeh; provision of a statement by the Minister of Education and Skills Development – Hon Pelonomi VensonMoitoi; presentation on adolescent pregnancy perspectives by a representative of young peoBodule Ketlogetswe from Nata Senior Secondary School making ple from Nata Senior Secondary School, provision of statements by community leaders, sera presentation on adolescent pregnancy perspectives vice providers and civil society organizations. Dignitaries who attended the launch included MP for Nata Hon R. Makosha, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Senior Government Officials, Chiefs and Headmen from Nata and surrounding villages, Representatives of Development Partners, Civil Society and Private Sector. Young people from schools in Nata and surrounding villages were the majority of the audience that attended the launch. The SWOP Report launch was preceded by a series of youth dialogues organized by UNFPA Youth Center Managers. The dialogues were held at primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools as well as out-of-school youth in Nata. The dialogues revealed that young people are involved in sex work in the village which is a transit hub for trucks bound countries north of Botswana such as Zambia, Malawi, DRC etc. Some participants shared that unprotected sex with truckers attached more money. Reasons advanced for engaging in sex work included having to provide food for families as well as ‘acquiring luxuries to satisfy certain levels of lifestyles’. Some mentioned that some parents influence their children to venture into sex work to help meet the needs of the family. Discussions of the dialogues concluded that there is need to intensify sexuality education, ensuring availability of ASRH services & commodities and information, provision of lifeskills programs and provision of recreational facilities. Participants also felt that parents must be encouraged to play an active role in providing for their families so that students can concentrate on their studies and not to be involved in transactional sex.
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