Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have embarked on an initiative to create awareness on reproductive health and prevention of drugs and substance abuse among youths from informal settlements in Kisumu County.
The programme spearheaded by Blue Cross -Kisumu in collaboration with Nyalenda Young Turks target youths from Kisumu’s main slums including Nyalenda A and B who are exposed to drugs and early pregnancy experienced during the school holidays and the inception of Covid-19 pandemic.
Blue Cross Social Worker Perpetua Ayanga said that their aim is to train youths who are able to advocate against the use of drugs and early pregnancies to their peers and the entire community. They would like to prevent where possible the use of drugs and educate young people on reproductive health majorly on the use of contraceptives and healthy sexual habits.
Through the drive, students are able to explore their talents, go through training, acquire life skills and use the discipline gained from the activities to help them in decision-making. The hope is that the youths will be able to use their talents in empowering others and creating job opportunities.
With the mushrooming of liquor stores in Nyalenda estate, their worry is that the youths can now easily access alcohol and hence they have created a space for them to use their free time in an effective and productive way.
They work with parents and guardians and provide training for the parents as well on how to interact with their children. They help take the burden from the busy parents at work as they monitor the youth at the center under caregivers.
“We hope to identify the issues affecting youth in Nyalenda and come up with an action plan to help track the issues and eventually tackle them with the help of the local authority,” said Ayanga.
Razak Fadalla a form three student at Joel Omino Secondary said that peer pressure and availability of cheap local liquor is one of the main challenges they face as young people that leads them to use drugs.
“Many youths engage in drugs due to peer pressure that makes most of the school on-going youths drop out, and engage in criminal activities, wasting resources that can help them in the near future,” Fadalla added.
The training programme was very interactive as the youths were able to air out the challenges they face, ask questions they might have, and get the advice they needed from the social workers.
With the main aim being prevention, they try to curb drug use before it happens and refer people who are already using the drugs to facilities that are better equipped to deal with them.
The two NGOs envision having a better Nyalenda for youths and the generations to come and hope their efforts would bring change. So far, the training has benefitted over 150 youths in the area.
By Laodicah Sharon and Margaret Jobeyo