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Curbing Early Pregnancies Through Youth Engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major socio-economic crisis in the country and disproportionally affected young people. Since reporting the first case of COVID 19 in March 2020, the government has taken diverse measures to curb the spread of the pandemic including school closures leading to disruptions in learning and training. The disruption to youth’s access to education, training, social and protective networks resulted in stress and mental health complications and increased substance abuse. The lock-down and social distance measures caused additional risks to young girls and exacerbated all forms of violence including Gender Based Violence (GBV) at the individual, family, and societal levels.

 

A report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) indicated that 558 adolescent pregnancies were registered between March and June of 2020 in Turkana County, a figure that surpassed 4,000 according to the Ministry of Health by August 2020. As part of it’s youth engament programs, Kenya Girl Guides Association (KGGA) hosted 138 young women aged 18-24 in Turkana County for a session that provided them with a platform to speak up on issues affecting them. Early pregnancies leading to school dropout, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), inadequate menstrual hygiene, mental health and the lack of leadership and economic empowerment were highlighted as some of the challenges.                                                                                                                                                        



KGGA engages girls and young women in high quality non-formal educational programmes to empower them with life skills that enable them to act and change the world. Joyce Kariuki, the KGGA Programs and Training Manager encouraged partners to support girls and young women in skills and knowledge training to enable them to be agents of change in their communities.


Feedback received from the participants indicated that they were empowered on how to build their self-confidence and develop and nurture their leadership capacities. At the end of the youth engagement session, the girls and young women were taken through the Yunitok orientation and registration process on SMS platform and Facebook Messenger.



A Girl Guide joining Yunitok through the SMS platform.

 

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