DREAMS Innovation Challenge: Tanzania
In Tanzania, where a staggering 44% of adolescent girls have given birth or are pregnant before the age of 19 (TDHS, 2010), teen mothers are among the most vulnerable adolescents in Tanzania, and are effectively “locked out” of accessing public education. Although there have been concerted advocacy efforts for policy change to provide education options for pregnant girls and teen mothers, there has been little progress. This is partly due to the widespread conviction among Tanzanian citizens and policy-makers that pregnant girls are to blame for their situation and therefore should not be allowed to attend school.
In response to this situation, Bantwana through the DREAMS Innovation Challenge program is targeting 20 public secondary schools and will concentrate on reducing dropout rates for girls by identifying and addressing key drivers of drop outs at school and within the community. This will be achieved by equipping teachers to create a safe, girl friendly environment in schools, providing over 1,200 adolescent boys and girls in school clubs with critical information on retaining girls in school, and engaging communities on the importance of educating girls and keeping them in school.