COVID-19 has affected many facets of life and lately there have been reports concerning the rise of teenage pregnancies. Though reasons could vary from place to place depending on the different socio-cultural settings, many believe that the closure of schools as a measure of managing the spread of COVID-19 has significantly contributed to the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies. In Dedza, the district gender officer confirmed that ‘all men who impregnated and married young girls below the age of 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic period will be arrested.’
In Mangochi district where high numbers of teenage pregnancies have also been reported, a female artist ‘Santy’ initiated a girl’s peer support club to assist in fighting against the problem. The club which started as a casual conversation among girls has grown into a structured club with specific themes that are covered following the ‘GO GIRLS’ curriculum.
Santy (Asante Asiatu Emment) described the club as effective in keeping girls engaged with relevant but interesting topics about sexual reproductive health, COVID-prevention, staying in school among several other topics. The club promotes the use of poems, games, stories and songs in describing experiences, challenges and solutions.