Challenges that teenage girls face
Even as the world commemorates the Day of the Girl, there is little to smile about in most African countries. This is in regard to the lives of young girls. Kenya, for instance, faces lots of challenges in the upbringing of the girl child. Some of the ills that young girls go through include Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and teenage pregnancies. Migori County is an example of the regions affected by these vices.
Teenage pregnancy statistics
Data from Migori County Family Planning Strategic Plan indicates that girls of ages 15-19 are victims of early parenting. This translates to 24 percent of the total number of girls within that age bracket. This is way above the 18 percent national rate.
Factors leading to early pregnancies
Lack of sanitary towels – many girls still lack adequate supply of sanitary towels due to poverty.
Increase in sexual violence – rape cases have continued to escalate in the recent past.
‘Disco matangas’ (funeral discos) – this practice is common during funerals especially in the Luo community. Many teenage girls that attend such events end up getting pregnant as such places are not well supervised.
Insufficient sex education among teenagers. Young adolescents are sexually active yet they do not understand how to handle themselves in such situations. This is where sex education comes in handy. Sex education is not only necessary for girls but for the boys also. It is in vain to educate girls on matters sex and leave the boys behind. This is because the boys are responsible for a good number of teenage pregnancies.
Kenya joined the world on 26th September,2021 in marking the 2021 World Contraception Day. The theme was, ‘Leaving No One Behind: Expanding Sustainable Access to Contraceptives in the COVID-19 and Beyond.’ The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Director General Dr. Mohamed A. Sheikh in his speech urged the population stakeholders to step up efforts in awareness creation.
“These young adolescent women must not be left behind; they must get good education to realise their potential.”
Intensification of sex education will undoubtedly reduce in the teenage pregnancies in Kenya.