Teen pregnancy: Teachers, relatives blamed


Teen pregnancy: Teachers, relatives blamed
File image of a pregnant girl

In Summary

  • In 2016, the National Gender Equality Commission launched a report titled “Lost Childhood, Drivers of Childhood Pregnancy in Kenya” which looked at six counties and gave recommendations.
  • Likewise the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy of 2015 also had a 14-point action plan to help stem the tide of child pregnancy.
  • This included access to high quality information about sexual and reproductive health and the reduction of harmful practices.

The high number of pregnant KCPE and KCSE exam candidates is now pointing to a festering crisis.

The trends show most of the cases are in rural areas. Counties like Busia, Kilifi and Kwale are highly on the red with many girls living there being fluent in the language of silence.

But even as the Education Ministry seeks to establish the cause, existing reports and the national adolescent sexual and reproductive health policy have already defined possible solutions.

So why things are still the way they are?

In 2015, Equality Now, hosted 25 chats in 25 secondary schools across Kenya and other African countries and the children’s admissions were revealing.

A 15 year old wrote: “ If your biological father has been telling you sweet words about love when your mother is not there and the main issue is having sex with him, what do you do and he is the one who is paying school fees?”

A 16 year old wrote: “I have a friend whose family strongly supports FGM. What can I do for her?”

“Things are like this because we are refusing to listen to children. We have refused to listen to children from their perspective and find solutions that matter. As Kenyans, we are averse to talking about sex education and thus our young people do not have information,” says Florence Machio, Campaign Officer Africa Equality Now

According to the KDHS survey of 2014, by the age of 15 years, three in a hundred girls are child-bearing. By the age of 19, forty in a hundred girls are child-bearing.”

In 2016, the National Gender Equality Commission launched a report titled “Lost Childhood, Drivers of Childhood Pregnancy in Kenya” which looked at six counties and gave recommendations.

Likewise the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy of 2015 also had a 14-point action plan to help stem the tide of child pregnancy.

This included access to high quality information about sexual and reproductive health and the reduction of harmful practices.

At the end of the day, statistics and rising numbers may only shock us for so long with experts saying that pointing fingers at the children and teenage mothers without also holding perpetrators and the children’s custodians to account is like mopping a wet floor yet the tap is left open.

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