By Staff Reporter
A child rights activist has said its high time parents in the country must start to teach their children about sexual reproductive health.
Zimbabwe National Council for The Welfare of Children (ZNCWC) National Director Taylor Nyanhete in an interview on the sidelines of a recently held child summit in Kwekwe said no-one will teach the children about the subject but the parents.
“Parents are not engaging their children in terms of sexual reproductive health. No one is guiding children about this subject and children being explorers of the environment they want to explore. Parents must look at the development stages of their children. Sex is a subject which has been a taboo, but our children are engaged in sex,” he said.
Nyanhete said no-one but parents have the onus of teaching the children about the subject.
“Noone will do it for us. If we don’t take the lead in teaching our children about such issues we are headed for a disaster, parents must not think the Internet will teach their children about such issues. I am urging communities to take sexual and reproductive health education and provide education to our children and the home environment is the best to do so,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyanhete has said increases in poverty levels in the country compounded with the global pandemic Covid-19 is forcing many girls into early child marriages.
“The statistics of child marriages in the country is very bad. The situation has been compounded by the Covid-19 scourge. We heard that in Manicaland 400 school going girls dropped out of school because of pregnancy. In Binga 200 while in Midlands about 40 girls fell pregnant,” he said.
Nyanhete said increasing poverty levels might be the major contributory factor on a spike In child marriages.
“We want to believe that poverty levels are contributing to child marriages because given the challenges being experienced some girls are taking marriage as an option. Some adults are taking the situation as an advantage to force girls into marriage with the hope that this will improve their situation but that is far from the truth,” he said.
The ZNCWC Director further said legislation gaps is not helping matters.
“With Children laws not aligned to the constitution we are seeing the age of consent still remains at the age of 12. As an organization we are pushing for the age of consent to be raised to 18. On the other hand the Marriage Bill has not been formalised and this policy mismatch worsens the situation,” he said.
He called on Government to speed up the alignment of Children Laws to the constitution.
“There is need to speed up the alignment of laws to the constitution at times we feel government is not fully committed. There are currently other bills which are being introduced that where never there and those bills have been fast tracked. Whilst on the other hand what we simply need on child laws are a few alignments to certain sections. Government must speed up the alignment of laws to the constitution,” he said.