Various stakeholders have initiated a joint drive to sensitize young girls from Kisumu County to curb Gender Based Violence (GBV), HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies.
These vices, coupled with addiction and substance abuse, peer pressure, and early marriages were deemed as the major threats to the girl child in Kisumu County.
The initiative was unveiled on Tuesday by women panelists from notable organizations during the International Girl Child Day celebrations.
According to Janet Ogot, a sexual advocate at Maendeleo ya Wanawake organization and an administrator at the county government of Kisumu, teenage pregnancy and early marriages lead to girls dropping out of school due to a lack of proper guidance and support from their guardians.
She highlighted that HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in women than in men and 1 out of 4 girls is affected every four minutes.
Ms. Ogot says they have developed strategies to guide the girls and instill moral values to ensure they practiced abstinence to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDs.
“As we try to castigate religious and moral values, women should be more vigilant and should take responsibility for themselves, they should take a keen interest in social values such as peace, justice and equality by being truthful and honest and acting as good examples to the girl child and the society as well,” said Ogot.
Drug and substance abuse and addiction contribute to the dangers such as HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers, thus, hindering them from achieving their goals.
Yvonne Ogola the chairperson of the Dream Girl youth group stated that society should invest in a future that believes in the leadership of young girls.
Further, she suggested that girls should have mentors to help them achieve their goals and tackle obstacles they encounter so that they could realize their full potential.
“We partner with other organizations to train girls on self-esteem so they can take up leadership roles in society. Apart from that, we do vocational training for girls on common programs such as food and beverages to acquire skills which can sustain them in the long run,” said Ogola.
Mercy Shamika, director Iaana Mallayka Organization encouraged the young women to take part in taking care of nature and working with fellow girls to come up with relevant activities such as collecting, recycling and reselling used bottles during school holidays as a means of protecting the environment and earning a living.
“Girls should overcome the fear so that it can be easy for them to conceive new ideas in order to tackle challenges that they undergo such as period poverty. Occasionally, girls in rural areas are left out during donations of sanitary towels unlike in urban areas thus they should come up with a skill they can rely on during school holidays to help tackle the challenge,” said Shamika.
The young women in attendance gained from different aspects of life such as financial, mental, physical, and political aspects.
By Becky Galyns and Fleiss Akoko