Family Planning, Youth

Being a Girl in Tanzania

Today, Michelle Obama joins other First Ladies in Tanzania for a summit focusing on women’s education, health and economic empowerment. It’s a gathering of powerful women in a place where too many young women still lack the power to determine the course of their own futures. Early marriage and childbearing, coupled with a lack of access to contraception, too often take control out of their hands.

But with more than 40% of Tanzania’s population under 15, there’s a huge opportunity to change things for the next generation of Tanzanian women. PAI President & CEO Suzanne Ehlers and Halima Shariff, Director of Advance Family Planning Tanzania, teamed up to highlight these important issues in a joint piece for Global Post, timed with the First Ladies Summit:

“As First Ladies from around the world, including Michelle Obama, gather in Tanzania on Tuesday to talk about women’s empowerment, it’s crucial that both education and contraception are addressed. Tanzania has one of the world’s youngest populations, with nearly 45 percent under the age of 15. That represents a huge number of young women who will soon face choices about education, careers, sex, childbearing and marriage.

There’s been a lot of focus on girls’ education, and for good reason: we know that educating girls not only empowers them, but raises lifetime incomes for them, their families, and their countries.

But it’s harder, and less likely, for more girls to stay in school if comprehensive sexuality education and access to contraceptives are not available. In Tanzania, nearly 25 percent of young women ages 15 to 19 are either pregnant or have given birth, and pregnancy is one of the leading causes of girls dropping out of school. Less than 30 percent of sexually active Tanzanian women report using any contraception.” Read more from Global Post…

PAI also produced an infographic for media on the state of girls in Tanzania. To help every Tanzanian girl reach her potential, take a look at the reality of what she faces. How would you change this picture?


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