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Mgalla, Zaida; Schapink, Dick; & Boerma, J. Ties (1998). Protecting School Girls against Sexual Exploitation: A Guardian Programme in Mwanza, Tanzania. Reproductive Health Matters, 12(6), 19-30.


This paper presents a study in 1996 of a guardian programme in primary schools in two districts in Mwanza region, Tanzania, whose aim was to protect adolescent girls against sexual exploitation, which is thought to be common within educational institutions in Africa. The guardians were women teachers whose role was to help in cases of sexual violence or harassment and act as counsellors on sexual health problems. About half of the girls in the highest three classes of these primary schools (mean age 15) had had sex. Sexual exploitation of school girls by schoolboys, young men in their teens and 20s and teachers was common. The guardian programme has been well accepted and has already generated considerable public debate. One of the most important initial effects is that sexual abuse is less hidden, and abuse by teachers may have become more difficult than in the past. However, most guardians and other teachers were opposed to any sexual activity among girls, which limited their potential to encourage contraceptive use and prevention of STDs and HIV. In this context, the guardian programme should be only one component of a much broader effort to address the issue of adolescent sexuality.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Reproductive Health Matters


Mgalla, Zaida
Schapink, Dick
Boerma, J. Ties