By Desdemona Munengwa| The continued closure of schools has had adverse effects on young girls in Chipinge with cases of teenage pregnancies and child marriages reportedly on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak early last year.
According to Likhani Muvhamba who works for Chipinge based Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD), lockdowns have worsened ill behavior among youths.
“Checheche is a fast growing town and children who live in and around the growth point are engaging in mischievous behavior, it is now common to see young girls and boys aged below 15 years in bottle stores and night clubs,” said Muvhamba.
Catherine Vhutuza from Chipinge Rural District council ward 20, Chibuwe area, another area that has recorded a high number of teenage pregnancies bemoaned the fact that some of the girls are engaging in unsafe abortions.
Vhutuza said in her area, a grade 7 girl died while giving birth, in what has left the whole community in shock and disbelief.
Muumbe secondary school in ward 25 of Chipinge Rural District council recorded a high number school dropout cases.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), over 800 million learners from around the world have been affected, with one in five learners failing to attend elementary school, one in four missing higher education classes.
PYCD gender activist Cynthia Gwenzi reported that her organization had handled four cases of teen pregnancies in two weeks, three in Chinyamukwakwa and one in Mabee including a tragic one where a 14 year old girl died together with her unborn child.
Platform for Youth and community Development, Claris Madhuku told this publication that in Chipinge district where they have been raising awareness on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, cases of teen pregnancies and early marriages are decreasing.