PHOTO: Participants follow proceedings of the The International solidarity foundation [ISF] event in association with Muungano Gender Forum in Kisii recently/ BRIGHTON MAKORI.
Concerns have been raised over increasing feminism and early cases of pregnancies among school children in Kisii and Nyamira counties.
Speaking recently during a stakeholder’s forum organized by The International solidarity foundation [ISF] in association with Muungano Gender Forum in Kisii Mr Joel Machuka raise the alarm urging the society to be worried and embrace dialogue as a means of solving conflicts and creating awareness of the same.
“There are so many cases of teenage pregnancies that have really affected education in the region but they are put undercover by provincial administration mostly chiefs and their assistants operating on ‘Kangaroo courts’ in solving the matter”, said machuka.
Adding that as an association they will not relent until the society know the importance of ensuring that justice is delivered to the affected victims.
According to a recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) report on teenage pregnancy prevalence, Narok County topped the list with a rate of 40%. Homa Bay County comes in second with 33%, in the third position was West Pokot (29%), Tana-River and Nyamira (28%) and in the sixth position was Samburu with 26.
However, Gusii governance watch Activist Rachel Otundo blames community traditions and rituals that affect girl child performance and growth in the society.
“I really don’t understand how we parents are looking at this thing seriously. It’s our sole responsibility to take care of our children but we have shelved our ability.
The church has on the same has not performed as expected as some of the clergy have also contributed or fallen victim of the same”, Rachel told the participants.
She also urged the society to embrace education and adopt values that can help bring up a better future to the children.
In the past Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsanga described the pregnancies as a big problem in the education sector which needed a multi-sectoral approach for it to be solved.
“This is similar to rape and those involved in spoiling our girls should be brought to book and charged with defilement. No one can claim there was consent as the young-ones are still at an age (below 18) where they cannot make their own informed decisions,” said the PS.
According AHADI Regional programne officer some of the factors which contribute to teen pregnancies include poverty, peer pressure,sexual abuse, substance abuse, lack of reproductive and boda boda riders.
Mr Kimori noted that way on Teenage pregnancy increase us of contraceptives, reduce marriage before 18 years through comprehensive teenage pregnancy, empower girls, reverse retrogressive culture norms, reduce unsafe abortions and Implementation of policies
Teenage pregnancies and birth rates can partly result from high unmet need for contraceptives. In Kisii County, nearly half (48%) of currently married girls aged 15-19 use contraceptives compared to 37% at national level.
However, similar to the national trend, unmet need for contraceptives among currently married adolescents in Kisii County remains high. A quarter (24%) of currently married girls aged 15-19 would like to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method.