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Teenage pregnancies among school going girls in Kenya


Date Posted: 6/17/2019 2:18:07 PM

Posted By: Dana05  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 317

A worrying trend has emerged in Kenya. This trend is the rising number in the cases of pregnancies among school going girls. This trend was unearthed by the number of pregnant candidates who registered for national examinations both at the primary and secondary school level. It was then that the ministry of education discovered that there was indeed a problem. Research by various organizations among them media houses have shown that this problem does not only affect the candidates but also learners from lower levels. This has led to some of them dropping out of school due to the complications associated with pregnancy or to take care of their children. Some of them are fortunate enough to resume their schooling as they guardians or parents take upon themselves to take care of the children while others are not so lucky and end up dropping off completely to find jobs so as to take care of their children. These pregnancies and the results associated with them have therefore become a major impediment to the education and the future of these teenagers since very few of them are able to bounce back from such experiences. However, the question that we all need to ask ourselves is how do this young girls who in the eyes of many are supposed to innocent beings end up pregnant? There are several answers to this question, some of which are discussed below.

One of the major factors leading up to this problem is poverty. Most of the affected girls come from very poor families. Some of the girls come from very poor families that cannot even provide three meals a day leave alone other basic needs. Since these teenagers are actually school going that means that apart from the normal basic needs they also need other items

that they require for their academic lives such as exercise books, stationery, school uniforms and revision materials among other commodities. Since their poor parents or guardians, as some of them are orphans, do not have the money to provide all these requirements, men regardless of their age or status end up taking advantage of these innocent girls in exchange for catering for their needs. In other cases where the parents of the girls can actually cater for their needs, the teenagers just desire luxurious things that are beyond the ability of their parents such as trendy clothes or shoes or visits to expensive shopping malls or hotels. The men who choose to indulge these girls in these desires therefore take advantage of them. These indulgence is short lived as these men flee as soon as the girls get pregnant abandoning with the responsibility of taking care of the children.

Another factor is lack of information. Parents, teachers and religious leaders have neglected their responsibility to these teenagers. It is often said that teenage is a time of confusion when these teenagers are maturing and experiencing physical, emotional and psychological changes. It is therefore at this age that guardians are supposed to be completely involved in the life of these teenagers as they need guidance that only their guardians can provide since they are very curious about the changes they are experiencing. However, nowadays, guardians hardly spend any time with their children. They are either too busy in the businesses and jobs or assume that the teenagers are taught all they need to know in their schools. Other parents are just too afraid to initiate the subject with their children as they fear the results of such an action. The teenagers therefore rely on social media for the few who have access, hearsay or even their friends for information. The information they get is not always accurate and can be misleading. The teenagers thus end up engaging in active sexual behavior with knowledge of the consequences of their actions and decisions.

Peer pressure has also played a role in the promotion of this trend. Teenagers are basically confused about many things and at times feel as if they don’t belong. In the quest to find a sense of belonging, some of them end up joining the wrong crowd. However to fit into any particular crowd, they have to do whatever the members of the crowd do. They are thus introduced to parties where alcohol among other drugs are mostly abused. Drug abuse in most cases, ends up in irresponsible sexual behavior which results in unwanted and unplanned pregnancies among the teenagers. In other cases, the teenagers join crowds where their mates have lovers and are sexually active. They are thus pressurized into getting lovers for themselves and engaging in irresponsible sexual behavior so as to please their newly acquired friends and gain a sense of belonging. All this leads to unplanned pregnancies.

It is not in all cases these girls are a party, in some cases, they are victims of sexual abuse by their parents, religious leaders, guardians, teachers or members of the community. This is unfortunate since these are the people that are supposed to be protecting these girls. These cases occur in the absence of female guardians. The opportunities to commit these heinous acts present themselves when the female guardians are away at work or visits. Parents also let their children go to places of worship and schools on their own since they trust the religious leaders and teachers. It is therefore worrying that these are the same religious leaders and teachers that take advantage of the absence of the parents to take advantage of helpless girls. Some of the girls are lured away from their homes by these people, who they obviously know well and trust, who then abuse them and disappear. Some girls actually report the incidences to their female guardians while others don’t since they are threatened by the perpetrators. Some of the perpetrators are shameless enough to deny the accusations even in cases where DNA tests indicate that there are fathers to the children born.

The government as well as guardians have a lot to do to ensure that young girls are protected and safe wherever they may be. The government also has to come up with framework that ensures that the perpetrators of such heinous acts are charged in courts of law and punished for their crimes regardless of their position and status in society. It should also organize forums to create awareness among these girls on how to avoid such situations, what they should do in case of abuse and the authorities they should report to. Religious leaders and schools should participate actively and in conjunction with the government to curb this menace.

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