The World Bank approved a $500 million education project for Tanzania, two months after it postponed the decision amid criticism of President John Magufuli’s call to restrict pregnant girls’ attendance of school.
Disbursement of funds for the project will be phased and dependent on achieving previously agreed results including “supporting more children to re-enter the formal public system if they drop out,” the lender said in an emailed statement.
The Concerned Citizens of Tanzanian Civil Society wrote to the World Bank in January, asking that Magufuli’s administration affirms the right of pregnant girls to attend school and end compulsory pregnancy tests. Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said the critics misrepresented policies and that the government cares about education for all girls.
“The World Bank will continue our dialogue with the government on broader issues concerning equal treatment of schoolchildren,” Mara Warwick, the lender’s Tanzania country director, said in the statement.
The project seeks to benefit 6.5 million secondary school students.
“It’s not over,” Fatma Karume, a lawyer and former president of the Tanganyika Law Society, said on her Twitter account. We have to be vigilant to ensure no discrimination of “pregnant schoolgirls from mainstream education,” she said.
— With assistance by David Herbling
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