In June the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, announced at a rally that “As long as I am president … no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school … After getting pregnant, you are done”.
FORWARD has been working with local partners in Tanzania for over 10 years fighting for the rights of girls and women. FORWARD supports the Joint Statement recently released by a coalition of civil society organisations on the right of re-entry to school for girls after they have given birth to be upheld.
“We, a coalition of civil society organisations in Tanzania, cannot remain silent on the issue of re-entry to school for young girls who become pregnant while they are students. Our motivation is the girls themselves, their quality of life and the opportunities they have to progress. Women and girls make up 51% of the population so the question of what happens to them and their children is one that affects all of us. We also recognise the disproportionate effect that women have on the communities around them – educating young girls brings economic and social benefits to the whole country.
We further recognise that young girls in the country face numerous challenges in education including the distance to school, the facilities available for them and the lack of a supportive environment at home. All of these and others contribute to young girls failing to complete their education.
We, as representatives of civil society but also as parents, citizens and community members, are speaking out to defend the country’s young girls, and we ask the Government to listen.”