Statistics from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (Migeprof) reveals hat in 2016, a total of 17500 girls between 16 and 17 years carried unwanted pregnancies.
In the same year for example in Kirehe District alone, 970 unwanted pregnancies for girls between 16 and 17 were registered.
Based on the ages of those girls, it is defined that most of them are school girls. As a way to stop the prevalence of the issue, some people suggest that family planning mechanisms should be introduced in schools, including distributing condoms in schools to avoid unprotected sexual intercourse that leads to unwanted pregnancies and infection of other diseases.
However, institutions in charge of education oppose the idea saying that children are taught about reproduction in schools and family planning services are available in all health centers. They say that schools are places for education not illicit sexual behaviors.
Though education institutions affirm that they provide enough health reproductive studies to students, unwanted pregnancies continue to be a matter of concern among the youth.
Could condoms in schools help?
Rusumo High School Head Teacher in Kirehe District, Emile Mukunzi says that distribution of condoms in schools could not increase adultery when the exercise is well conducted and discipline programmes are well ensured.
Mukunzi says that some students bring condoms at school, but adds that those who intend to involve in adultery do so even when they don’t have condoms.
“Some students bring them in a most hidden way, but others are shy to buy them. Having them at school doesn’t mean that students involve directly in adultery because school officials continue to take account into their discipline,” he said.
“Though they are students, they are also people as others, they should be given services depending on where they are. When they are outside the school, they can easily involve in the behaviors but having condoms can help them a lot,” he said.
However, eighteen-year-old Clementine Karigirwa, a senior five student in Bugesera District says that condoms at school is not the answer as she has colleagues that dropped out of schools due to unwanted pregnancies.
She says that there is a need for thorough sensitization among school girls about reproductive health. She says that parents should also be sensitized on condom use among the youth so that they help their children.
The Head Teacher of Notre Dame de Citeaux in Kigali, Sister Helène Nayituliki says that she will not support the idea of distributing condoms in schools.
“You can’t tell me to use a stick when I am tired. It is like allowing me to commit adultery on the condition that I will not get pregnancy. This is like sending children to waste,” she said.
Catholic Church calls for a thorough research
The Catholic Church does not support the idea be in schools or in the society. In family planning they encourage people to use natural methods.
Speaking to IGIHE, the Director of the National Secretariat of Catholic Education, Father Janvier Nduwayezu said that they need research to find out the reason girls continue to carry unwanted pregnancies.
“The most crucial thing needed is thorough research to find out sustainable solutions based on research,” he said.
Speaking to IGIHE recently, the Permanent Secretary in Migeprof, Nadine Umutoni Gatsinzi said that distributing condoms in schools could incite students to involve in adultery thinking that it is allowed.
“Introducing condoms in schools can trigger an unintended signal; students can think that they have been allowed and can start involving in sexual intercourse, but we don’t want to see that happening,” she said.
She emphasized that there is a need for more sensitization in schools so that students would know the health reproductive systems and the effects of sexual intercourse.
She said that they will continue to collaborate with other institutions in creating awareness and bringing to justice men impregnating children.