A group of young people have called upon the government to initiate sex education to prevent cases of teenage pregnancies.
The youth under the banner ‘Young Champions of Human Sexuality Education’ say while rampant teenage pregnancies have been reported all over, young people are yet to be given an opportunity to speak on how to solve the problem. The group brings together young people in and out of school.
“The conversation around young people, sexuality education and teen pregnancies has been ongoing, especially during and after the just concluded KCPE and KCSE examinations,” said Martha Kombe of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC).
The young people pointed out that teenage pregnancies are increasing at an alarming rate and this presents a significant challenge to young people, especially girls’ right to education and sustainable development.
Angela Atieno of YAC said: “Teen pregnancy aggravates development issues for Kenya as it is a major barrier to achieving progress in sexual and reproductive health in the country.”
Statistics from UNFPA indicate that between June 2016 and July 2017, about 387,397 adolescent girls in Kenya aged between 10 and 19 got pregnant.
The statement by the youth further read: “During the just concluded KCSE and KCPE 2018, we watched in shock the alarming news of over 14,000 teenage girls sitting their national exams while pregnant or immediately after delivery. 13,624 pregnancies were recorded among girls aged 10-19 in Kilifi County alone. This is simply unacceptable, we are letting our young people down.”
The youth urged the government to listen to their views on how the problem can be solved.
“These high rates of unplanned pregnancies can be reduced by equipping our children with age-appropriate and need-appropriate sexual and reproductive health education. Our adolescent girls, young sisters and daughters, need information to be able to make safe, healthy and informed sexual choices,” Brian Otieno of Alfajiri said.
The group said evidence from UNESCO shows that human sexuality education programmes in 29 developing countries have positive outcomes.