Tanaka Mahanya

TRAVELLING long distances to and from schools has increased the vulnerability of adolescent girls to sexual abuse.

According to a report on adolescent pregnancies in Zimbabwe, girls end up accepting free rides.

“In some districts, children were reported to be walking more than 10 kilometres to school, exposing them to risks associated with accepting free rides from mushikashika drivers.

“In some cases, children were staying on their own in rented houses near schools and some ended up staying with boyfriends.

“Parents also reported that children can be sexually abused on their way from school as some get home very late because of the long distances,” reads the report.

The absence of role models was also cited by key stakeholders as also contributing to adolescent pregnancy.

“Some parents and peers were themselves victims of child or adolescent marriage because of their religious and social norms and, therefore, condoned adolescent pregnancy.

“Young people have limited role models in some communities to motivate them to finish school or delay sex.”

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