Tanzania: Campaigners persuade government to change law on pregnant schoolgirls

| December 7, 2015

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Emily Nyoni hoped to pursue medical studies until she became pregnant. She was forced to leave school, becoming just one of thousands of pregnant girls expelled from Tanzanian schools every year.

Government regulations from 2002 state that pregnant girls have committed an “offence against morality.” But authorities have agreed to create a new policy to make it clear that girls can go back to school after giving birth.

Editha Assey is a lawyer and women’s rights activist. She says girls are always treated as being at fault. Ms. Assey says, “The new policy should take into consideration the vulnerability of these girls. There should be a legal mechanism to protect them; also, penalties should be heftier to deter the culprits.”

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Pregnant teenage girls are seen as having committed an “offence against morality” in Tanzania. Photo credit:  Jennifer Bruce