Education

Multi-agency to combat teenage pregnancy

The team comprises administration officers, the police, NGOs and the clergy

By Albert Lemomo

Kajiado County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha has on July 3, commissioned a multi-agency committee to combat teenage pregnancy, early marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) following an outcry of the high number of teenage pregnancies being reported in the country.

The team which comprises National administration officials, the police, Non-Governmental Organizations and the clergy is expected to compile a report from all the five Sub-Counties in Kajiado regarding the safety of the girl child during Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the press, Nkanatha noted that Kajiado County faces a major risk of recording a high number of teenage pregnancies as well as early marriage due to outdated deep cultural ties in the community.

“We have established that out of the Six Sub Counties in Kajiado, 4 of them that is Kajiado South, Kajiado Central, Mashuuru and Kajiado West have got the potential of surging number in teenage pregnancies, FGM and early marriages. These areas are very remote where outdated cultural practice is the norm,” said the CC.

The formation of the committee comes barely three months after the Government declared closure of schools across the Country due to Covid-19, with already 26 girls having been rescued from early marriages in Kajiado South.

According to Director of Hope Beyond Foundation Dorcas Parit, they have rescued 26 primary school going girls who are already pregnant from early marriage and the numbers could be higher.

She noted that even the numbers being reported in the Country is not accurate since these are only girls who have visited the health facilities to seek medical attention.

“Many victims of teenage pregnancy are still silent in their homes and others are being hidden by family members due to culture and the stigma it comes with it,” alluded Parit.

Kajiado County Director for Gender, Eve Merin revealed that the County Government will kick start a mentorship program targeting school going girls in all the 25 wards.

She said the program will educate girls to be wary of the dangers of engaging in sexual activities while in school as well as advocacy sessions for their mothers to mentor their girls.

“We are in the process of designing a schedule for mentorship programs which will begin with the most affected Sub counties to advise our young girls on the importance of keeping themselves pure from sexual activities,” reiterated Mevin. “They will also be trained on various skills in order to keep them engaged whenever they have free time at home and keep predators at bay,” she added.

Kajiado Pastors Fellowship Chairman, Bishop Phillip Tima urged parents to maintain close relationships with their children and create more bonding time while they are at home to avert such predicaments.

“It is very shameful that when children are with us at home, this is the time they are getting pregnant and being married. We need to play our responsibility with the seriousness it deserves to be a parent who protects their children both within the home and outside,” urged Bishop Tima.

The Multi-Agency committee has developed a template that will be used by Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs in the County in identifying all girls who are pregnant, married off as well as those who have been subjected to FGM and submit their report by July 9, 2020 for further action.

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