“My family and I took the matter to the family support of the police. He was called in for interrogation and encouraged to be responsible. He agreed to take care of me, promising that after I am delivered of my baby I will go back to school,” she explained.
Fatmata claimed that the man never showed up again, and that they had to sell cassava leaves to be able to take care of themselves and the baby.
“I want to go back to school.Whenever I see my classmates in their uniforms I feel it will be almost impossible for me to get a second chance because my child is just 3 months old and I have to look after her” she said.
Seventeen-year-old Fatmata Bundu, with a 5-month old pregnancy, said she was in senior secondary school, SSS3,the third in the last four years of secondary education, and she was taking contraceptives.
“I got pregnant without knowing that I am pregnant until after four months. It was too late for me to do something about it,”she further explained, and expressed sadness and regret about her situation.
She said in her case the person responsible for her pregnancy was taking care, but that his support wasn’t enough and his effort not equal to the satisfaction she would have had if she was in school.
“I am calling on all the girls to stay away from unprotected sex, even sex of any kind, and concentrate on their studies,” Bundu warned.
Yayah Kargbo, a social service officer in the ministry of social welfare, said that the issue of teenage pregnancy was alarming, especially in the Bombali district. He said the issue of teenage pregnancywas a result of poverty and compromise, adding that stakeholders in the community and parents had mostly compromised whenever the issue of sexual offence occurred.
He further explained thatbefore the Ebola outbreak there were only 472 teenage pregnancy cases in in that part of the country but after the Ebola the number of cases increased to 1782, Kargbo said.
He continued to say that they were working with other partners and the city council, adding that they had formed a children advocating group called ‘children network’ to advocate through radio, community sensitisation, skits and drama to engage stakeholders on all issues affecting children.
He pointed out that most of the victims of teenage pregnancy were facing a lot of challenges, and warned that girls should abstain from sex and focus on their studies.
He further said that the Sexual Offence Act 2012 would be enforced to make sure that all those flouting the law would face punishment ‘’because a child doesn’t have consent and who so ever engaged child in sex will face the law,” Kargbo said.