A group of volunteers from Spain have unveiled an ambitious empowerment initiative to help more than 1000 teenage mothers and widows in Turbo Sub County gain technical skills and knowledge that will help them generate income.
According to the Spanish volunteers Maialen Zapirain and Ivy Karushi, the empowerment programme is geared towards addressing rising cases of teenage pregnancies that have become a major challenge in the region.
Speaking at Atlas school, the duo who are also co-founders of Gingko Kenya said the initiative, the first of its kind in the region, would train young mothers in tailoring, masonry, hairdressing, and grocery business that will make them become self-reliant in the future.
Zapirain revealed that there were plans to come up with a special fund through donor funding to assist the beneficiaries with capital to start up income-generating projects.
She revealed that more than 160 young mothers and widows were already undergoing the training which runs for three months free of charge.
“We are imparting skills and knowledge to the widows and young mothers so that they can be in charge of their day to day running of their businesses,” said Zapirain.
The initiative comes in the wake of a recent revelation by Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno that 27,000 girls were impregnated in the last four years in the county with Turbo and Ainabkoi constituencies topping the list.
The host of the event, Richard Kemboi a parliamentary aspirant in the August 9 general election, challenged the national and county governments to roll out similar initiatives to empower teenage mothers.
Kemboi observed that majority of the girls fall victim to sex-preying adults particularly boda boda riders for money since they were unable to afford some of their basic necessities like sanitary pads.
He hailed the Spain-based volunteers for coming up with the empowerment-oriented initiative saying teenage pregnancy has been a major problem in the region.
“The county and national governments should also look for ways of preventing teenage pregnancy through sensitization in public and private schools across the county,” said Kemboi.
He pointed out that the initiative would go a long way in economically empowering teenage mothers and besides, transforming them into useful people in society.
Turbo Sub County has borne the brunt of teen pregnancies in the recent past as it recorded an increase of 3,000 cases in one year.
Some of the teenage mothers, led by Philipine Cherotich, a mother of two, narrated the painful experience they undergo as teenage mothers during the pregnancy stage as well as caring for their children.
During the training, some of the teenage mothers said that their parents refused to fund their education, while others cited poverty for their predicament and thanked the volunteers for introducing the empowerment programme.
By Kiptanui Cherono