Covid-19 Ripple Effects- Zim Records Over 5k Teen Pregnancies
14 March 2021
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By A Correspondent- *Dadirai Nyere* is 15 and she is an expecting mother.

The teenager is very shy and she hides behind baggy clothes and for those that do not know her, she is just another girl taking a stroll.

“I only slept with him once and that was it,” she told ZimEye.

“He tricked me into it and he is also a teenager just like me. The challenge is his parents are late and he ran away i do not know where to.”

Nyere is one of the many teenagers who will become mothers while still under age.

Parliament reported that 2021 has seen 5 000 teenage girls getting pregnant and 1800 teens were reportedly married off to their lovers during the first 2 months of 2021.

Authorities are speculating that was due to the idleness due to the 2 months lockdown that was imposed by the government at the turn of the new year to curb spreading the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development told parliament that 15 young girls are raped every day.

Mashonaland Central accounted for most of the pregnancies and childhood marriages as shown in the table below:

Teen pregnancy

A social worker from Bindura who works with a local non governmental organisation ROOTS attributed the scourge to poverty adding that schools closure had adverse effects on the young girls most of whom come from poverty stricken families.

“The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown saw schools closure leaving most girls exposed. Some were pushed to engage in sex for livelihoods and as a source of income.”

Plan International is on record expressing concern at the increasing number of adolescent girls caught up in food insecurity, especially “where they are being traded off by family members in an effort to earn the next meal,” says Stuart Katwikirize, Plan International Regional Head of Disaster Risk Management.

Katwikirize said:

“Many girls face heightened risks of coerced and transactional sex and exploitative labour.” 

The organisation called on the international community to make assistance available to millions in desperate need, particularly children and adolescent girls who are at highest risk.