Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


The aim of this learnership at the Valley Trust was to gain insight into why teenage girls in the Valley of the 1,000 Hills fall pregnant and what is the cost of early motherhood on the future of young women. Previous research of the province KwaZulu-Natal has revealed that teenage pregnancies are a large problem in school districts and restricting the future academic pursuits of teenage mothers. The learner worked alongside the Valley Trust in coordination with their outreach programs in the local villages of the Valley of a 1,000 Hills to learn fundamental and underlying reasons behind teenage pregnancy in the rural areas of the Valley of a 1,000 Hills.

The learner gained primary data on teenage pregnancies through interviewing school-aged girls over the age of eighteen and by conducting a focus group of teenage mothers in KwaXimba. In these interviews and focus group the learner sought to acquire insight on the future limitations, struggles, and aspirations of adolescent girls to construct a body map detailing the learner’s perception of teenage pregnancy and an adolescent girl’s pursuit of womanhood. Through both the Valley Trust outreach programs and focus groups, the learner sought to understand the opportunity cost of being a South African teenage mother in the Valley.

Through interviews the learner found that peer pressure and poverty were major causes of teenage pregnancy in the area, but the issue of peer pressure went beyond friends and peer groups to include pressure from parents. The role of mothers pressuring their daughters into sexual relationships in search of money illustrated the dire economical need of families in the area and the cycle of teenage motherhood. Data obtained by the learner from teenage mothers repeatedly contradicted itself illustrating the complicated nature of adolescent pregnancies.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Maternal and Child Health | Rural Sociology


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