On Thursday, May 25, 2023, the U.S. Embassy in Eswatini participated in the launch of the Pregnancy Prevention and Management Policy and Guidelines, held at Mhubhe High School. Chargé d’Affaires Earl Miller, along with the Minister of Education Lady Howard Mabuza, U.N. Resident Coordinator George Wachira, distinguished guests, and education sector stakeholders, gathered to celebrate this significant milestone. The policy is set to bring about transformative change for young women and girls in Eswatini, as it addresses the challenges they face in achieving their educational goals due to pregnancy.
During the event, Chargé Miller commended the Ministry of Education for its bold and necessary step in implementing the Pregnancy Prevention and Management Policy. He emphasized that pregnant and parenting teenagers encounter immense obstacles in pursuing their educational aspirations, not only in Eswatini but also worldwide, including the United States. Recognizing the importance of supporting these young individuals, the United States Government, through the PEPFAR DREAM program, already collaborates closely with the Ministry of Education to identify teenagers who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy and provides them with financial support for re-enrollment.
Chargé Miller highlighted the extensive reach of the DREAMS program, which operates in 36 Tinkhundla across the four regions of Eswatini. The program places a strong emphasis on pregnancy prevention interventions by offering youth-friendly services in health facilities and through DREAMS on Wheels, a mobile outreach initiative. Moreover, it supports pregnant and lactating young mothers by connecting them through Mommy WhatsApp groups, creating a unique support network to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and baby, with a particular focus on HIV prevention.
The launch of the Pregnancy Prevention and Management Policy and Guidelines represents a significant step forward in addressing the educational challenges faced by pregnant and parenting teenagers in Eswatini. This comprehensive approach, backed by the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Education and the United States Government’s PEPFAR DREAM program, underscores the commitment to empower young women and girls, ensuring they have equal opportunities to pursue their education and achieve their full potential.
The U.S. Embassy’s involvement in this important initiative reflects the continued support and partnership between the United States and Eswatini in promoting gender equality, reproductive health, and educational opportunities for all. Through concerted efforts, it is hoped that the implementation of the Pregnancy Prevention and Management Policy will pave the way for a brighter future for young women and girls in Eswatini, enabling them to thrive academically and pursue their dreams.