Youth group in Mt Elgon constituency Bungoma County have launched campaigns to end FGM and teen pregnancies.
Adventure Youth Group(AYG) in collaboration with United Nation Fund for Population Activities and World Vision Kenya have launched a programme that will take a period of 12 months to fight FGM, child marriage and teen pregnancies during Covid-19 pandemic in Mt Elgon constituency.
According to (AYG) programme coordinator Stephen Yambi while speaking to stakeholders at SDA church Kapsokwony Monday, said a survey conducted by the group established that approximately 10,131 aged between 13-19 years are pregnant in Bungoma County with a high number from Mt Elgon constituency.
Yambi said in this regard that there was a need of quick intervention failure to which girl school in the constituency will remain empty come 2021.
Programme coordinator said that due to the pandemic most parents are overwhelmed with responsibility to provide for their families hence do not have time to talk to their children. Yambi added that most parents had left the responsibilities of guidance and counselling to teachers.
He noted that the programme is targeting women, girl and boy child with the aim of completely doing away with FGM following the presidential directive.
Yambi said the programme goal is to end FGM, child marriage and teen pregnancy targeting three notorious wards namely Kapkateny, Chebyuk and Elgon.
He noted that during their survey they established that the major reason for persistence of teen pregnancy was lack of sex information, poverty, religion and culture.
He noted that it was also established that nearly 40 percent of unmarried women aged 15-24 have had premature sex and more than one to seven are sexually active.
Solomon Kibet chairperson of AYG faulted some religion and cultural practices that prevent open dialogue about pre mature sex at home and in schools.
Kibet said this has prevented young people from accessing information and services that would enable them to meet their sexual and reproductive health needs.
He added that such denial bring about harmful practices such as FGM, sexual abuse and child marriage.
On FGM he noted that contrary to the believe that the practice ended the vice is
still being practiced.
Kibet noted that despite Sabaot community being the first to publicly ban FGM in the late 1990s a survey they conducted indicate that the practices is slowly re-emerging in Mt Elgon with the latest case reported early November 2020.
“This is due to increase of teenage pregnancy amongst school going children more so during the Covid 19 pandemic,” he said.
Chairperson noted that mode of approach will involve extensive community engagement through dialogue with organized community out fits including boda boda, women group and reformed circumcisers.
He further noted that his team will conduct community sensitization using mainstream and social media and informative radio talk shows.
“Community outreach will involve distribution of dignity kits for both girl and boy child,” he said.
Kibet said advocacy campaigns will be mounted in the specific areas on anti FGM, child marriage and teen pregnancy.
While officially launching the campaigns Assistant County Commissioner Edward Lameck called upon the stakeholders to report all cases to relevant authority for action.
He noted that there have been several kangaroo courts in the village more so when it comes to early pregnancies and child marriage.
He called upon assistant chief and chief in collaboration with nyumba kumi to ensure that all cases are reported.
Assistant County Commissioner challenged the youth to come up with solution of problems facing them like early pregnancies, and child marriage.
Among the stakeholders present included boda boda, assistant chiefs, reformed circumcisers, religious leaders and media.
By Douglas Mudambo