It has been realized that teenage pregnancy is not a new incident observed to happen in Rwanda. And, it was always contested by the community since it was compromising the ideal, reputation, and cultural values. The reaction to this phenomenon has evolved from throwing the victim in the farthest island to accepting and caring for the newborn and the mothers. Due to this fact, different organizations and institutions promoting human rights have played role in influencing the worldview and creating a conducive environment for the acceptance and integration of teen mothers. It is in this attention that Haguruka-NGO in partnership with German Cooperation Deutsche Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Government of Rwanda has carried out a study on the “Readiness of the Community to Address Teenage Pregnancy in Rwanda”. The research was conducted in the Eastern Province of Rwanda basically in the seven chosen districts namely Rwamagana, Kayonza, Gatsibo, Nyagatare, Ngoma, Kirehe, and Bugesera. A large number of statistics can demonstrate how teenage pregnancy has come to be a big problem in the Rwandan community. Particularly, this situation has taken a faster pace than ever as demographic and health survey showcase that more than one in three women aged 15-19 years of age has already started having sexual intercourse.
Due to the fact that teenage pregnancy has attracted a large number of researchers especially foreigner researchers where readiness of the community in preventing and responding to the incident in a constructive way was poorly explored, Haguruka, therefore, initiated a study to cover this gap by scanning and investigating the readiness of the community in eradicating teenage pregnancy.
On November 25, 2018, at Kigali-Marasa Umubano Hotel held a reflection meeting to validate the findings of the research made to examine the readiness of the community towards addressing teenage pregnancy in Rwanda. The attendees of the meeting include the delegate from Government Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Development partners, Justice sector and RIB
During the meeting, Haguruka in cooperation with DR. IYAKAREMYE, a researcher, presented the research findings which were covered in the key five objectives to identify the readiness of the community in addressing teenage pregnancy. In this case, the presenter talked about the findings related to the challenges that teen mothers are currently encountering, assess to real needs of teen mothers to improve their access to justice services for the reestablishment in their rights, attitudes and behaviors of different categories of in people in community toward teenage pregnancy and motherhood, existing interventions toward ending sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) and related gaps, and even recommendation to stakeholders for the sake of addressing the issue by involving everyone. For the participants, it was a great platform of exchanging ideas and opinion towards the presented study’s outcomes. The attendees were given enough time to ask challenging and critical thinking questions to better understand the study, and they got a chance to provide comments and suggest interventions to complement the ones provided by the researcher.
The reflection meeting was useful and beneficial to Haguruka and its potential partners. It has led them to better understand that teenage pregnancy is a burden weighs on the shoulder of the whole community and entire nation in all field of life. And, it has left them with the mindset of taking teenage pregnancy as a serious and urgent issue which needs attention and commitment of everyone to address it. Also, Haguruka has appreciated all given comments and interventions from participants which will be taken into consideration while effectively refining the research document and putting in practice all course actions to eradicate teenage pregnancy in Rwanda.