Organization empowers men to combat triple threat

Counties Editor's Pick Murang'a Social

In marking the global campaign of 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Kenya held a consultative forum with young men and boys in Murang’a.

Addressing the over 50 participants who had representation from the boda boda sector, the local administration, religious leaders, and the school-going boys, FAWE Kenya Murang’a County Coordinator Pauline Masese observed that men have a pivotal role to play in ending teenage pregnancy.

“We have included the boys and young men in this fight because we want to sensitise them to change their attitudes and perceptions on the triple threat,” she said.

“Young men and boys ought to be on the front lines in championing for girls rights and eliminating the triple threat of HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender-based violence, and teenage pregnancy,” she noted.

The country has a high teenage pregnancy burden, and the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022 key indicators show that the main drivers of teenage pregnancy include lack of education, poverty, harmful cultural practices, and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services.

In Murang’a County, seven per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 have often been pregnant, according to a data fact sheet from the Kenya demographic and health survey 2022.

FAWE Kenya believes that education is a human right and that all citizens, including women and girls, have a right to education as its benefits extend to society at large.

“I urge all of you to spread the message that educating a girl child is securing her future. That is why, as FAWE Kenya, we have the Imarisha msichana programme that aims at ending teenage pregnancies and advocating for the re-entry of teenage mothers back to school because we believe her education is her future,” observed Masese.

Educating girls and women reduces child and infant mortality, protects girls and women from abuse, exploitation, and HIV/AIDS, and also increases a country’s economic productivity and growth.

One of the participants, Samuel Irungu, lauded the programme, noting that, as a father to a teenage girl, he has been well equipped with knowledge to support the daughter through school and in other aspects of her life.

“There are taboo topics in our society, especially those touching on reproductive health systems like menstruation, but with this lesson, I will be a responsible father, close to my daughter, and I will strive to empower her and other women in the society even as I spread this message to other men,” said Irungu.

The participants were also urged to be a safe haven for the girl child by offering a listening ear, helping them choose good friends, and helping raise a healthy generation for a more acceptable society.

The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence run every year from November 25, the day for the elimination of violence against women, to December 10, Human Rights Day.

This year’s theme is Unite, invest to prevent violence against women and girls.

By Florence Kinyua and Anita Omwenga

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