Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
ISSN (Print): ISSN Pending ISSN (Online): ISSN Pending Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2021, 5(1), 9-16
DOI: 10.12691/jsa-5-1-2
Open AccessArticle

Combating Adolescent Girls Pregnancies and Dropouts through Contraceptive Knowledge, Use and Civic Engagement in Zambia

Mulenga Muntanga Chanda1, Gift Masaiti1 and Francis Simui1,

1School of Education, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

Pub. Date: June 01, 2021

Cite this paper:
Mulenga Muntanga Chanda, Gift Masaiti and Francis Simui. Combating Adolescent Girls Pregnancies and Dropouts through Contraceptive Knowledge, Use and Civic Engagement in Zambia. Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2021; 5(1):9-16. doi: 10.12691/jsa-5-1-2


Zambia’s Education system keeps recording high dropout rates among adolescent girls in secondary school due to unintended pregnancy. Teenage pregnancies reported among girls in grades 1-12 at both primary and secondary level from the years of 2010 to 2017, show that, at primary level they have been a total of 100,664 pregnancy cases recorded and a total of 20,771 pregnancy cases at secondary school level. The implications of these high dropout rates among girls are low female participation and representation in governance, parochial citizens, lack of employment and poverty among others. This study therefore aimed at finding out how engaged various stakeholders were in teaching contraceptive knowledge and usage of contraceptives in school adolescent girls as a mitigation strategy to pregnancy and dropout. This study was located in the social constructivism paradigm in which a qualitative approach was used and the case study design was employed. A total sample size of 30 participants in which a sampling technique of: Typical Purposeful sampling was used on all the participants. Data was analyzed thematically. The findings seem to suggest that there was acceptability and civic engagement in teaching contraceptive knowledge by teachers and NGOs because they believed it would give the girls better education outcomes and reduced dropout rates. Parents were still resistance to usage of contraceptive because they thought it would lead to moral decay and promiscuity. The study among others recommends that society start opening up in talking about finding lasting solutions to the current problem of adolescent pregnancy in secondary schools in Zambia, by breaking cultural misconceptions.

education dropout pregnancy contraceptives knowledge use challenges Zambia

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Adaji, S. E., Warenius, L. U., Ong’any, A. A., & Faxelid, E. A. (2010). 33 In-School Adolescents and Sexual Autonomy African Journal of Reproductive Health. In African Journal of Reproductive Health (Vol. 14, Issue 1).
[2]  Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Osterman, M. J. K., Driscoll, A. K., & Drake, P. (2018). Births: Final data for 2017. National Vital Statistics Reports, 67(8), 1-49.
[3]  Nash, K., O’Malley, G., Geoffroy, E., Schell, E., Bvumbwe, A., & Denno, D. M. (2019). “Our girls need to see a path to the future”--perspectives on sexual and reproductive health information among adolescent girls, guardians, and initiation counselors in Mulanje district, Malawi. Reproductive Health, 16(1), 8.
[4]  Yidana, A., Ziblim, S.-D., Azongo, T. B., & Abass, Y. I. (2015). Socio-cultural determinants of contraceptives use among adolescents in northern Ghana.
[5]  Self, A., Chipokosa, S., Misomali, A., Aung, T., Harvey, S. A., Chimchere, M., Chilembwe, J., Park, L., Chalimba, C., Monjeza, E., Kachale, F., Ndawala, J., & Marx, M. A. (2018). Youth accessing reproductive health services in Malawi: Drivers, barriers, and suggestions from the perspectives of youth and parents. Reproductive Health, 15(1), 1-10.
[6]  Shuger, L. (2012). Teen pregnancy and high school dropout: What communities can do to address these issues. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
[7]  Central Statistical Office. (2018). Zambia Demographic Health Survey.
[8]  Masaiti, G. Education in Zambia at 50 Years of Independence and Beyond: History, Current Status and Future Prospects, UNZA Press, Lusaka. 2018.
[9]  Ministry of Education. Annual Statistical Bulletin. MOGE, Lusaka. 2004.
[10]  Ministry of Education. Self Diagnosis Report for Ministry of General Education. MOGE, Lusaka. 2017.
[11]  Ministry of Education. (2010). Review of the re-entry policy.
[12]  Birungi, H., Undie, C.-C., MacKenzie, I., Katahoire, A., Obare, F., & Machawira, P. (2015). Education sector response to early and unintended pregnancy: A review of country experiences in Sub-Saharan Africa.
[13]  Smith, J. R., Louis, W. R., & Schultz, P. W. (2011). Introduction: Social influence in action. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 14(5), 599-603.
[14]  Checkoway, B., & Aldana, A. (2013). Four forms of youth civic engagement for diverse democracy. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(11), 1894-1899.
[15]  Menon, J. A., Kusanthan, T., Mwaba, S. O. C., Juanola, L., & Kok, M. C. (2018). ‘Ring’your future, without changing diaper–Can preventing teenage pregnancy address child marriage in Zambia? PloS One, 13(10), e0205523.
[16]  Basebang, M., & Aderibigbe, K. (2011). Contraceptive awareness among adolescents in Lagos, Nigeria.
[17]  Cui, N., Li, M., & Gao, E. (2001). Views of Chinese parents on the provision of contraception to unmarried youth. Reproductive Health Matters, 9(17), 137-145.
[18]  Pilot Mudhovozi, T. S. M. R. (2012). Adolescent Sexuality and Culture: South African Mothers` Perspective. African Sociological Review / Revue Africaine de Sociologie, 16(2), 119-138.
[19]  Kumi-Kyereme, A., Awusabo-Asare, K., & Darteh, E. K. ofuo. M. (2014). Attitudes of gatekeepers towards adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Ghana. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 18(3), 142-153.
[20]  Boamah, E. A., Asante, K. P., Mahama, E., Manu, G., Ayipah, E. K., Adeniji, E., & Owusu-Agyei, S. (2014). Use of contraceptives among adolescents in Kintampo, Ghana: a cross-sectional study. Open Access Journal of Contraception, 5, 7-15.
[21]  Amankwaa, G., Abass, K., & Gyasi, R. M. (2018). In-school adolescents’ knowledge, access to and use of sexual and reproductive health services in Metropolitan Kumasi, Ghana. Journal of Public Health, 26(4), 443-451.
[22]  Mwaba, K., & Naidoo, P. (2005). Sexual practices, attitudes toward premarital sex and condom use among a sample of South African university students. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 33(7), 651-656.
[23]  Kgosiemang, B., & Blitz, J. (2018). Emergency contraceptive knowledge, attitudes and practices among female students at the University of Botswana: A descriptive survey. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 10(1), 1-6.
[24]  Håkansson, M., Oguttu, M., Gemzell-Danielsson, K., & Makenzius, M. (2018). Human rights versus societal norms: A mixed methods study among healthcare providers on social stigma related to adolescent abortion and contraceptive use in Kisumu, Kenya. BMJ Global Health, 3(2), 608.
[25]  Makenzius, M., McKinney, G., Oguttu, M., & Romild, U. (2019). Stigma related to contraceptive use and abortion in Kenya: scale development and validation. Reproductive Health, 16(1), 136.
[26]  Ndinda, C., Ndhlovu, T., & Khalema, N. E. (2017). Conceptions of contraceptive use in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: lessons for programming. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(4), 353.
[27]  Wanje, G., Masese, L., Avuvika, E., Baghazal, A., Omoni, G., & Scott McClelland, R. (2017). Parents’ and teachers’ views on sexual health education and screening for sexually transmitted infections among in-school adolescent girls in Kenya: A qualitative study. Reproductive Health, 14(1), 95.
[28]  Agbemenu, K., Hannan, M., Kitutu, J., Terry, M. A., & Doswell, W. (2018). “Sex Will Make Your Fingers Grow Thin and Then You Die”: The Interplay of Culture, Myths, and Taboos on African Immigrant Mothers’ Perceptions of Reproductive Health Education with Their Daughters Aged 10-14 Years. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 20(3), 697-704.
[29]  Govender, D., Naidoo, S., & Taylor, M. (2020). “My partner was not fond of using condoms and I was not on contraception”: understanding adolescent mothers’ perspectives of sexual risk behaviour in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1-17.
[30]  Landa, N. M., & Fushai, K. (2018). Exploring discourses of sexual and reproductive health taboos/silences among youth in Zimbabwe. Cogent Medicine, 5(1), 1501188.
[31]  Manguvo, A., & Nyanungo, M. (2018). Indigenous culture, HIV/AIDS and globalization in Southern Africa: towards an integrated sexuality education pedagogy. In Handbook of Cultural Security. Edward Elgar Publishing.
[32]  Motsomi, K., Makanjee, C., Basera, T., & Nyasulu, P. (2016). Factors affecting effective communication about sexual and reproductive health issues between parents and adolescents in zandspruit informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa. The Pan African Medical Journal, 25.
[33]  Ndlovu, S. (2020). Child development through Ndebele taboos: Motivation to blend the indigenous and the exotic. Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 12(1), 36-55.
[34]  Lindberg, L. D., Maddow-Zimet, I., & Boonstra, H. (2016). Changes in adolescents’ receipt of sex education, 2006–2013. Journal of Adolescent Health, 58(6), 621-627.
[35]  Morawska, A., Walsh, A., Grabski, M., & Fletcher, R. (2015). Parental confidence and preferences for communicating with their child about sexuality. Sex Education, 15(3), 235-248.
[36]  O’brien, R. F. (2013). Condom use by adolescents. Pediatrics, 132(5), 973-981.
[37]  Vollmer, S., Bommer, C., Krishna, A., Harttgen, K., & Subramanian, S. V. (2017). The association of parental education with childhood undernutrition in low-and middle-income countries: comparing the role of paternal and maternal education. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(1), 312-323.
[38]  Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Noar, S. M., Nesi, J., & Garrett, K. (2016). Parent-Adolescent Sexual Communication and Adolescent Safer Sex Behavior: AMeta-Analysis. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(1), 52-61.
[39]  Akudugu, M. A., Hospital, B. P., Akum, F. A., & Hospital, B. P. (2019). Community Medicine , Public Health & Education. June.
[40]  Lopez, L. M., Bernholc, A., Chen, M., & Tolley, E. E. (2016). School‐based interventions for improving contraceptive use in adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6.
[41]  Breuner, C. C., & Mattson, G. (2016). Sexuality education for children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(2).
[42]  Canning, D., & Schultz, T. P. (2012). The economic consequences of reproductive health and family planning. The Lancet, 380(9837), 165-171.
[43]  Joshi, S., & Schultz, T. P. (2013). Family Planning and Women’s and Children’s Health: Long-Term Consequences of an Outreach Program in Matlab, Bangladesh. Demography, 50(1), 149-180.
[44]  Agyemang, J., Newton, S., Nkrumah, I., Tsoka-Gwegweni, J. M., & Cumber, S. N. (2019). Contraceptive use and associated factors among sexually active female adolescents in Atwima Kwanwoma District, Ashanti region-Ghana. Pan African Medical Journal, 32.
[45]  Heisler, K., & Van Eron, D. M. (2012). A descriptive study of undergraduate contraceptive attitudes among students at the University of New Hampshire. Honors Theses and Capstones.
[46]  Muanda, M., Gahungu Ndongo, P., Taub, L. D., & Bertrand, J. T. (2016). Barriers to modern contraceptive use in Kinshasa, DRC. PloS One, 11(12), e0167560.
[47]  Sunnu, E., & Adatara, P. (2016). Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs toward Contraceptive Use among Women and Men in the Ho Municipality in the Volta Region , Ghana. The Journal of Middle East and North Africa Sciences, 2(9), 1-9.
[48]  Clara Mwanangombe, Kasonde Mundende, Kenneth K. Muzata, Gistered Muleya, Vincent Kanyamuna, and Francis Simui, “Peeping into the Pot of Contraceptives Utilization among Adolescents within a Conservative Culture Zambia.” American Journal of Educational Research, vol. 8, no. 8 (2020): 513-523.