Key Questions...

Q. What is teenage pregnancy? Why is it a problem

A. We call teenage pregnancy every pregnancy that happens before 18 years of age. This can happen when sexual intercourse happens between a boy and a girl under 18 or between a young girl and an older man.Teenage pregnancy has a very negative impact on girls, on their families, communities and on Mama Salone.

It is considered a very big problem for the following reasons:

> It is very dangerous for the young mother: Adolescent are not physically mature to have babies (their body is too small), which means they have high risks of complications when given birth. This not only increases their risk of death, but also their risk of being strongly injured with long-term consequences (fistula).

> It is dangerous for the baby: Babies born to young mothers have twice as much risks of dying in the first five years, than babies born to older mothers.

> It is prevents the young mothers from a lot of opportunities: When she becomes a mother, the adolescent girl must take a lot of responsibility to raise her child. She ceases to be a girl and has to be an adult. Most of the pregnant mothers who were at school have to drop out, which means that they cannot prepare for their future. Most of the teenage mothers have to provide alone for their children.To do this,many of them have to work hard and even sometimes are forced into prostitution.

> It is having a negative impact on communities and on the country itself: Consequences of teenage pregnancy are also borne by parents and by communities. Moreover, because so many teenage girls are dropping out of school, they cannot study to become productive citizens of Sierra Leone, affecting the economic and social development of the country.

Q. What Is the Best Type of Birth Control?
A. The best way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex. However, if you are sexually active there are very effective types of birth control on the market. Whichever birth control method you use you should always use a condom to protect against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms alone will offer protection against pregnancy but it doesn't hurt to use a back up method in case the condom breaks. In Sierra Leone, contraceptives are FREE in every government health facility. Click for more information on Birth Control Types

Q.Should people have sex if they're in love?

A. Not necessarily. Sex is just one part of a whole relationship. It's just one way to express love. Choosing to be in a sexual relationship is a big decision. There's a lot to think about. And two people can love each other very much without having sex. Do you think you’re in love?

Just because your friends say that they are doing it doesn't mean they actually are. There is no 'right' age to start having sex. Being pushed into having sex when you don't want to could mean you might regret it later on.

If someone pushes you into having sex when you don't want to, he is committing a crime (even if no violence is used). Nobody can force you to have sex and if someone does, that person can be prosecuted by the police.

Q.What should I do/where should I go if I am sexually abused?

A. If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable you need to tell a trusted adult that can help you.

By telling someone, you will stop the abuser from abusing you again, and you will help protect other children from the abuser as well.

You can approach the following people in your community for support: Parents, a trusted adult, SGBV focal points, Children’s Clubs, Child Welfare Committee members, Police Family Support Unit, Social Worker from the MSWGCA or any other organization working in your community, and the Hospital/Health Centre.

Q. How can I protect myself from sexual abuse?

A. Usually, people that abuse children are known by their victims and often they are family members. Most child abusers are afraid of being discovered. They will ask you to keep secret the things that they try to do with you. If a child abuser believes that you will tell someone about him, he will usually leave you alone.

Child abusers want willing victims and will avoid children who resist them. So you should refuse—firmly—any action that you feel is wrong. Do this even when the person approaching you is an adult. You can say something like, "I don't want to do that. I know it is wrong. I am leaving." This shows the child abuser that you will not cooperate.

Let's suppose that you have done everything you can to prevent becoming a victim of child abuse and you are still abused. If this happens, or has already happened, you need to know that:You are not to blame. Anytime a child is abused, it is the abuser's fault.

Q. How does pregnancy happen?

A.Sexual intercourse between a guy and a .girl is necessary for pregnancy to occur. Sexual intercourse means genital penetration.Proper use of birth control can dramatically reduce the chances that sexual intercourse will lead to pregnancy but no form of birth control is 100% guaranteed. Abstinence is the only way to fully avoid pregnancy.

Q. What Can Cause Pregnancy? What Can Not?

A.The following activities carry the highest risk of pregnancy:

  • intercourse, with or without protection
  • contact between the female genital area and sperm or pre-ejaculatory fluid

The following activities will not ever cause pregnancy:

  • abstinence
  • holding hands
  • dancing
  • kissing
  • making out with clothing on
  • touching of genitals with hands


Q. What should I do if I think I am pregnant?

A. If you are observing any signs of pregnancy, you should go to a health facility and be seen by a health worker who will give you advice and recommendations. Treatment is confidential (health workers are entitled to keep secret every thing that happen between themselves and the patient. If it is confirmed that you are pregnant, you can receive all health treatments for FREE in all government health facilities, whatever your age or situation.

Q. What are my rights?

A.“Rights" are things every child and adolescent should have or be able to do. All children and adolescents have the same rights. Human rights belong to all people, regardless of their age. Children and Adolescents have the same basic human rights as adults.  However, because of their young age and vulnerability, they need extra measures to protect them and have some special rights of their own.

In Sierra Leone the government recognises that children and adolescents are important for the future of our nation.  Making sure that they grow up to be good citizens means that parents, families, community members, and government agencies should work together to ensure that all children and adolescents enjoy their basic rights.

All rights are connected to each other and all are equally important. In the context of gender, sexuality and reproductive health, children and adolescents are entitled to the following rights: 

Q. What Is the Government doing to address teenage pregnancy?

A. H.E. the President is very concerned about the impact of teenage pregnancy. He has instructed his Government to make the reduction of teenage pregnancy a national priority. In May 2013, the Government and its partners launched “The National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy”. This is a detailed plan coordinating the actions of the Ministries, of the UN, NGOs and other organizations in the sectors of health, education, social protection, justice, empowerment and employment, etc.