During the report presentation on girls’ early pregnancies at under 18 age, clerics from different religious sectors tok emphasis on girls who adopt family planning at the young age, wondering the impact of their marriage to their husbands and how safe and healthy their future child would live.

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According to the findings on the research done by the umbrella body of human rights organisations in Rwanda (CLADHO), numbers have thir say on the current pregnancy and sexual violence status on young girls:

Urban parents advise their children to adopt family planning (using anti-pregnancy tablets and condoms)

Some children are empregnanted by their fathers, uncles and teachers.

In Nyamasheke, 4 young girls are pregant from the same husband, in a village.

In Rubona Sector, Rwamagana District, man han impregated 3 different young girls.

In Huye, man has sexually violated 3 different young girls Mu karere ka Huye.

at only 14, a young girl is both SIDA and Hepatite positive due to sexual violence.

120 young girls from the same sector have been impregnated in a period of one year.

In a period of only one year, 115 young girls from the same cell are pregnant

In 11-year-old girls has been sexually violated by a 48-year-old man.

87% girls were impregnated by their usual sex-working partners.

37% of the total number of pregnant girls study in school from Nine Years Basic Education

63% remaining are from primary schools.

However, only 5% submitted violence cases to courts

Role of the churches to end minor violence

Different religious leaders have shared their view on the issue after the research findings presentation, some of them branding it as if it is Ebola .

“How can we sit comfortably as if nothing is happening to our children? then why can’t we feel sorry for their lives which are being ruined like this. Even Ebola saga has been resolved, so we need to join efforts,” claimed one of the leaders in Nyarugenge.

Pastor Immaculee Nyiransengimana from Anglican Church in Rwanda’s Mother’s Union thinks that handing responsibilities to grandparents to raise children since their young age could also be a concern resulting to early pregnancies and family planning.

On the other side, Bishop Rucyahana,the chairperson of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission said religious leaders were committed to influencing behavior change, that the best religious’ decision to fight this evil issue remains in God’s hands saying,”it should be simply a spiritual decision” because religious clerics’ have the gift to fight the evil”

“It is our responsibility as religious leaders to preach the gospel of love, preach against sin and promote ethical behavior. The extent of this problem shows that there is problem in the community,” he said. Rucyahana blamed parents for their reluctance and poor parenting.

“We shall constantly remind parents to fulfill their parental role, dedicating enough time to their children to be able to protect them from such harm,” he said.

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The research was conducted in 52 sectors from 10 Districts, namely Nyarugenge, Gasabo,Kicukiro, Kamonyi, Huye, Karongi Nyamasheke, Rwamagana, Bugesera and Gicumbi, where 818 children under the age of 18 are pregnant, a less number comparing to that of those who have sex but don’t get pregnant

Huye and Gicumbi District have the most and least pregnancies with than any other district with 14 and 6 per cent respectively.

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Fred Irakoze/bwiza.com


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