The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Kenya has launched a new project in Kajiado County dubbed ‘Imarisha Msichana’ that is aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies.
The program is being implemented in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation in eight primary schools in the county and seeks ways to end teenage pregnancy and encourage re-entry of teenage mothers to schools.
Speaking during the launch, Imarisha Msichana’ Project County Coordinator Nelly Naserian noted that teenage pregnancy in Kenya has been on the rise especially during the Covid 19 period.
Naserian added that the girls are forced to drop out of school when they get pregnant to give birth and fail to resume thereby cutting short their education and dreams.
“There has been a significant increase in teenage pregnancy in Kenya especially during the Covid 19 period. Teenage pregnancy cuts short a girl’s education as she is forced to drop out of school depriving them the opportunity to further their education and attain their career goals.” She said.
She said many young girls engage in unprotected sex due to peer pressure and ignorance putting themselves at risk of pregnancy and HIV/AIDS infection.
Other drivers of teenage pregnancy include; sexual violence, inadequate reproductive health information and services, forced marriage, poverty and lack of parental guidance.
The coordinator noted that the Imarisha Msichana’ Project seeks to establish ‘Tuseme and Mother’s clubs’ in schools where girls will be sensitized on human sexuality and prevention of teenage pregnancy.
The project will also impart to them useful knowledge and necessary skills to be able to fully transition to adulthood and help them become productive members of the society.
The program is being implemented in 20 counties in Kenya namely; Nakuru, Nairobi, Machakos, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kiambu, Garissa, Bungoma, Kakamega, Nyeri, Migori, Murang’a, Kajiado, Narok, Homa-Bay, Trans-Nzoia, Nyandarua, Busia, Meru, Siaya, and Turkana.
The Imarisha Msichana programme activities will include collaboration with key stakeholders in generation of credible and acceptable data on teenage pregnancies for use in informing solutions and championing re-entry of such girls to schools.
They will also be centred around sensitization of girls, young women, boys, young men, parents, and community leaders to human sexuality and prevention of pregnancy and media advocacy programmes.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Kenya has the third highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world, with one in every five women aged 15 to 19 being mothers or pregnant with their first child.
In Kajiado County, 20.5 percent of teenage pregnancy cases were recorded in 2022, a decline from 24 percent recorded in 2021.
Kajiado West, Central and South sub-counties lead with the highest cases of reported teenage pregnancies in the county.
By Rop Janet