Some Lindi residents have said abject poverty facing most parents and guardians in the region were reasons for increasing incidents of pregnancies in primary and secondary schools.
They said when contributing to special debate on the problem of pregnancy in schools that failure by some parents and guardians to take care of their children, particularly meeting their basic needs, was among factors contributing to the problem.
The forum brought together parents, cultural officers, and journalists. The contributors argued that if parents and guardians played their roles properly, the problem would be reduced.
“If we help them to understand themselves better, we will reduce incidents of early pregnancies. This will give them chance to follow their studies, and attain future goals,” said one of the contributors identified as Juma Maneno.
Another participant, Charles Maguzu, who is the Regional Sport Officer, suggested that war against moral decay must start with parents and guardians by leading the children by example through guiding them to maintain good manners and dress decently.
“There are parents who are themselves a bad example to their children from the way they dress, for instance. What do you expect the youngsters would learn from them?" he queried.
He added that increasing trends of family break ups also contributed to social problems, as children were left to look after themselves, most ending up in streets as beggars and sex workers.
“It's obvious that most youth, both girls and boys, do not dress decently nowadays, some of them are doing that even before their own parents, guardians or relatives," said Maguzu.
The stakeholders agreed to organise a concert aimed at raising funds that would finance visits to various schools and youth centres in the region to educate girls and parents on the impact of early pregnancies.
A survey conducted by the Women and Development Foundation (Wama) last year found that ten regions were leading in early pregnancies, with Mtwara region topping the list with 15.3 per cent.
The other regions are Morogoro (11.3 per cent), Tanga (8.9 per cent), Ruvuma and Lindi (8.2 per cent each), Mwanza (6.8 per cent), Coast (5.4 per cent), Dodoma (5.2 per cent), Shinyanga (4.9 per cent) and Mbeya (4.2 per cent).
The meeting, oganised by the Wama Foundation, was facilitated by Philomena Marijani and coordinated by Anna Maro.