This project was conducted by AJPRODHO-JIUKIRWA in partnership with the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), aims at providing a situational analysis of teenage pregnancy and teen mothers in four provinces of Rwanda by (1) investigating the causes of teenage pregnancy, (2) analysing the effects of teenage pregnancy, and (3) assessing the access to justice needs of the teenage mothers. Qualitative data was collected through questionnaires, focus group discussions (FGDs), interviews with key informants, as well as through the observation technique. Secondary data was gathered through various national and international policy and legal documents.
Findings highlight that the leading cause of teenage pregnancy is defilement (49%), followed by peer influence (33%). Although, other factors such as technological development, the quest and ring for material needs, lack of parenting and knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, were presented. Data collected indicates that the main effects of teenage pregnancy are dropping out of school (34%), poverty (32%) and stigma (25%). In relation to access to justice, this study revealed that only 15% of suspects’ cases were taken to courts due to financial support from the suspect (46%), prospect to get married (17%) and emotional attachment to male partners (16%). This study recommends that schools put much emphasize on sexual and reproductive health and consider it as an important issue at primary and secondary school levels. In the same vein, policy makers should design programs, which encourage sex talk between parents and children to be disseminated to community level while faith-based organisations (FBOs) design different ways of communicating the effects of teenage pregnancy and how it could be prevented.
Keywords: Teenage pregnancy; Sexual and reproductive health; Access to justice; Rwanda.