As Kilifi grapples with being the face of the teenage pregnancy crisis in the nation, orphans are among the most vulnerable children.
Sharon Nyadzua, 15, says since her parents’ death, she has been facing many problems from her grandmother, who cannot afford even to buy sanitary pads during her menstrual days.
Speaking during an adolescents’ summit in Kanamai, Nyadzua admitted that at times she is forced to get into sexual relationships so as to get money for buying her basic needs.
Due to awareness campaigns, she always uses protection when she needs to engage in sex. But she wishes she was not forced by circumstances to live that way.
The summit was organised by Rising Winners Youth Empowerment Initiative Mission. Mission chair Doreen Maghanga says they are currently working with 125 adolescent girls from the constituency in five zones. The girls have been empowered and educated to know their rights in the society.
She says they meet every Sunday with the young adolescents in their respective zones to exchange ideas and hear their voices.
DSW sexual reproductive rights advocate Halima Ali Aba, a volunteer member of Imarisha Msichana project, says the adolescent summit was meant to bring girls to air their views on issues affecting them.
Read: Amina orders probe after over 20 girls give birth during KCPE exams
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi recently told the Star the county government has plans to tackle GBV and teenage pregnancies. Through a policy document, it will educate the community on the importance of protecting the girl child.
“Some parents in Kilifi cannot conformably include sanitary towels for their young ones if they go shopping. Such retrogressive cultures are outdated,” he said.
Kingi says in Kilifi county, some parents could not freely talk to their girls on sexual matters, which makes it difficult for them to take fully responsibility.
The governor has been instrumental in the fight for the rights of the girl child, though problems faced are more than the gains. In his ‘dream team’ cabinet of 10 executive members, five of them are women and are highly educated.
The county is also blessed with high profile women, such as Aisha Jumwa, the current Malindi MP, who is an example of how a woman from a humble background can rise to become a national personality.
Gender-based violence activists in Malindi say parents are to blame for the increased teenage pregnancies. Activist Helda Esliy says some parents would not question their daughter if she brought money home.
In Magarini, Sauti ya Wanawake CEO Joyce Dama blames mothers for failing to take responsibility for their girls. “Most mothers in the rural areas of Magarini usually advise their daughters to visit ‘local medicine men’ for abortion after having sex with people to feed their family,” she says.
Other girls, she says, are impregnated during social events, such as disco matanga and wedding dances.
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