Teenage pregnancies have become a prominent issue in Kenya in the recent past. Teenage pregnancy and teenage marriage is a multi-faceted socio-cultural and endemic Human Rights violation which adversely impacts the physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual development of adolescent girls.
“Supporting expecting and parenting teenagers in your Community” seeks to contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancies and prevention of child marriages in Nakuru County. It is centered on expecting and parenting teenager’s family units with the inclusion of community members, mobilized into Community Advocacy Groups (CAGs) as support structures. Selected families of expecting and parenting teenagers shall undergo psychosocial and trauma healing sessions, receive food donations, reusable diapers, and sanitary towel supplies. Later the teen mothers shall be facilitated to get technical skills or go back to school. Additionally, CAGs shall be sensitized on the harmful effects of teenage marriage and teen pregnancies as well as provided with rigorous capacity building sessions to groom them into Gender Transformative Model families. The CAGs will act as catalysts of change and will accompany and monitor the selected teenage families in the process. This innovation is attractive to stakeholders as it creates a platform for honest interrogation of dominant social norms without threatening family cohesion while challenging communities to define alternative gender-transformative attitudes and behaviors.
Eunice Nyokabi, 18 years, a mother to a young boy aged 2 years describes her challenges,
“The stigma and discrimination I face from family and society are huge. I cannot afford my food or sanitary towels let alone baby food and diapers.”
Faith Wilfred, another teenage mother, who is 17 years and a mother to a 9-month old baby while speaking to us, shared similar challenges as Eunice and how she would love to go back to school at least for her future and that of her child.