“Stop making statistics about girls” – The Namibian

Executive Director of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, ​​has called on men to report on the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.

Steenkamp said this in Windhoek on Friday at the closing ceremony of the national education conference.

The four-day conference brought together senior government officials, teachers’ unions, student unions, parents and students.

Nationally, Namibia records approximately 13,000 teenage pregnancies per year.

The Namibian reported last month that more than 2,400 teenage pregnancies were recorded across the country in the first two months of this year.

Steenkamp said teenage pregnancy will continue to be a controversial and heartbreaking issue.

“We are discussing statistics instead of discussing people with identities, girls with names, with dreams and absolute potential. But are we talking enough to hold these men accountable? Steenkamp asked.

She said these men have families and “everything is sorted out for themselves”, but impregnate schoolgirls.

“Healthy, mature men who are strong in communities, and you destroy a young girl’s life, and she becomes a statistic,” she said.

Steenkamp said men should stop making statistics about girls.

“We need to start having uncomfortable discussions with our children and students at home and at school to address this issue,” she said.

Steenkamp said cultural practices need to be studied and addressed.

“The responsibility of this healthy, mature man with his own life. . . it’s time for people to name and dishonor all career paths so we can see who these culprits are,” she said.

“It warms my neck, ladies and gentlemen, honestly, because we’re talking about repetition and someone who could provide an income for seven to 14 people in the household – it’s a woman, a girl,” said Steencamp.

She said girls’ lives are destroyed and cut short by these men.

“I think this problem is like free education. We must continue to unpack it in the regions,” she said.

Media ombudsman John Nakuta said it was necessary to consider basic mitigating factors in dealing with teenage pregnancy and rape.

He said that many students are impregnated by older people.

“There is a law that says when a person sleeps with someone under the age of 14, it is considered rape. We have to apply this law to fix this problem,” Nakuta said.

He said people should report the culprits to the police.

Lucy Edwards-Jauch, a retired sociology professor at the University of Namibia, said teenage pregnancy is caused by different factors, including economic crises, economic power, poverty and inequality.

She said hunger forces young people to sleep with older men to survive.

She said that sometimes the victims are raped by people in high positions, which forces them to silence the victims.

“A lot has to do with inequality and poverty. Many victims may not be aware of their rights. The low level of prosecutions is also a factor,” she said.

Edwards-Jauch said there was a need to give boys and girls more control over their bodies, as well as sufficient sex education.

“Teenage pregnancy creates a cycle of poverty as it sometimes makes it difficult for the student to return to school. We need to empower them by encouraging them to know that they have the right to say no,” she said.