Rising teen pregnancy complicates Zimbabwe push to return to schools
Zimbabwe has seen a steep increase in unplanned pregnancies among girls and teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic as strict lockdowns closed down schools, restricted access to contraceptives and clinics, and left girls victimized by sexual abuse. The economic strain of the pandemic also caused poverty levels to rise. Some teenage girls turned to marriage as a way out of economic hardship.
Zimbabwe's government is now pushing for a return to schools, but despite the fact that the government lifted a longstanding ban on pregnant students from attending school back in 2020, a combination of economic hardships, classroom bullying, and deep-seated cultural stigma have kept most pregnant girls from returning to school.