The upsurge in teenage pregnancies in Kisumu county have been attributed to irresponsible early sexual activities the youth engage in.
As a result of this, the Ministry of Education has embarked on an aggressive sensitization program targeting education officers across the country to use their close interaction with the learners to create awareness on the dangers of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
Stephen Jalenga, the Director of Youth in the Ministry of Education singled out technological advancement as having exposed children to pornographic sites which has made them engage in sexual activities at a tender age.
Jalenga challenged parents to not shy away from disclosing cases which involved close family members with some culminating in early pregnancies. The crime has been compounded by the rampant Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the region.
“Children with special needs have been the easy targets for most SGBV cases and so there was a need for relevant security agencies and caregivers to keep vigilant so as to curb such cases,” he stated.
However, the Director cautioned parents against recruiting young men to serve as counsellors to their daughters since some of them turned out to be notorious abusers.
Jalenga asked parents to closely monitor the activities their children were involved in in order to unearth strange behaviors that their children get exposed to either through the internet or by close relatives who are perpetrators of the crime.
For those living with HIV/AIDS, psycho-social support devoid of discrimination of any kind should be exercised in learning institutions and at home to curb rise in cases of young people taking their own lives he said.
He advised stakeholders and parents to ensure learners who get pregnant are retained in school instead of stigmatizing them to the point of dropping out in shame and even resorting to committing suicide.
Lilian Birech, the senior education officer in charge of health, challenged men to come forth and report cases of GBV and desist from remaining silent yet more victims continue losing their lives.
Birech pointed out that the main cause of low level of reporting SGBV to fear of repercussions and denial as well as failure to promote such victims by some bosses in the work places.
She added that they will liaise closely with the County Director of Education to form a counselling unit with a view to revamping the reporting system.
Birech admitted that law enforcers face numerous challenges while addressing SGBV cases more so when it involves minors, their safety and finding shelter for them while following up on bringing the perpetrators to book.
She disclosed that the ministry was in the process of strengthening life skills education with focus on SGBV to provide an all-round secure environment for learners
By Fredrick Ajok