14 Apr 2016 13:00pm
GOBABIS, 14 APR (NAMPA) Gobabis Mayor Lea Iipinge is concerned about escalating teenage pregnancies at the town, which has totalled at 232 over the last four years.
In 2012 and 2013, a total of 68 schoolgirls fell pregnant, which increased to 67 in 2014, and 97 last year according to information availed to Nampa by the Regional Directorate of Education in the Omaheke region.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, Iipinge, who was elected in that position in December last year, said the issue will be one of her highest priorities during her tenure at the helm of the town.
It is a very big concern for me and the Gobabis Town Council. I have no programme so far, but I have something in mind on how best we will tackle that, she said.
Iipinge noted that the number of school dropouts due to pregnancy has also increased significantly, which she attributes to stigma and discrimination.
If you travel around, you will see how our young people socialize. Even during school hours, you will find some schoolchildren roaming around in town instead of being in a classroom.
Iipinge said some parents are to blame as they are not involved in childrens education or provide guidance on how to abstain from alcohol and drug abuse.
Definitely some of the parents have failed their children, because if a child can be away from home for over two weeks, then I do not know how that is responsible parenting, she said adding some do not know who their daughters or sons are involved with or where they spend most of their time.
The mayor emphasized that young people should be involved in the development of their communities and parents should also do their part.
Iipinge, however, confessed that there has not been enough youth empowerment programmes at the town such as workshops or employment creation programmes, which she will also prioritize.
I think enough has been said on teenage pregnancies and how to abstain from sexual intercourse, but you will still find a 16-year-old girl who is pregnant and do not even know who the childs father is, she said.
She called for stricter laws on the mushrooming of drinking outlets at the town, which she termed a national problem that must be dealt with.
It is not just a Gobabis problem and the people who own these places send their children to schools in other towns because they know that such places are not conducive, so they should be regulated and we will also look into that.