The Day of the African Child is celebrated every year on 16th of June as the time for the world to reflect on the progress made towards children’s rights as well as the barriers they face. In Tanzania, DSW Tanzania and Partners convened a stakeholder’s forum in Dodoma city to deliberate on Rights issues concerning Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) revolving around this year’s theme “Accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”.
As the adage goes it takes the whole community to raise a child, the stakeholders forum comprised 80 representatives ranging from Adolescents, Parents, Teachers, Community Leaders, Health Service Providers (HSPs), District Representatives and officials from the Government Ministries. The forum was led and moderated by Adolescents and included engagement of Stakeholders in different sessions such as presentations from Ministry officials on National frameworks namely National Accelerated Action and Investment Agenda for Adolescent Health and Well being (NAIA_AHW 2020/21 – 2023/24) and the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children (NPA-VAWC -2017/18 – 2021/22) . The other presentation was on dissemination of lessons learnt from implementation of DSW Tanzania Afya Yangu -Shule Yangu Project that aims at reducing teenage pregnancies in Dodoma Region.
Also the Regional Representatives presented the situation of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) with a focus on Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Dodoma Region. Other sessions included Adolescents Panel discussions, Satellite meetings, and plenary discussions and a Call for Action session from the Adolescents.
Deliberations and call for action from the Stakeholders including the Adolescents were mainly centered in reduction of teenage pregnancies with joint commitments being: sensitize Communities on Child Rights, Positive Parenting, Strengthen Referral systems, Keeping boys and girls in schools, strengthening Adolescent Peer Education approach, access to SRHR information and strengthening access and provision for Youth Friendly Services (YFS).
According to the Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (2015/16) 27% of women aged 15-19 have begun child bearing: 21% have given birth, and 6 % are pregnant with their first child