Life Skills Education to End Teenage Pregnancy

by Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW) Vetted since 2014 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Life Skills Education to End Teenage Pregnancy
Mr. Yebesh Orina addressing the girls
Mr. Yebesh Orina addressing the girls

Dear Friend, Colleagues, and supporters

Despite many advances that have been made in the overall sexual reproductive health, information on reproductive health among female teenagers could be improved. According to the African traditional culture, educating girls on sexual and reproductive is considered women’s responsibilities. Yet, men play critical roles in the ability of women or young girls in seeking sex and reproductive health services. They make decisions whether and when teenage girls can seek healthcare services. The result of not involving men has led to challenges like high cases of early unwanted teenage pregnancies, increase in the prevalence of female genital mutilation, spread of sexually transmitted diseases and high levels of school drop-out. It is in this spirit that HFAW decided to mark the Zero Tolerance for FGM International Day by holding a school outreach at Menyenya Primary, Kijauri Town, Nyansiongo.

HFAW has done many school outreaches since 2015. However, this was like no other. On this day, we prioritized men talking to teenage girls on sexual and reproductive health. Admittedly, we knew that it was risky move from a cultural perspective. Nevertheless, the availability of willing and able male community health and human rights promoters (CRHPP) made the activity successful.

It was so pleasing to see how men took the initiative to lead the sessions. They educated the girls about the emotional, physical, and mental changes they will have to go through during adolescence.

“At some point in your growth and development, you will experience an increased sense of consciousness and need for independence. This is normal and should not stress nor pressure you to get engaged in early intimate relationships or consent to FGM. Stay assured of our support and get closer to your parents as well since their support is equally important in protecting you from the negative eventualities of the adolescence stage like unwanted teenage pregnancies”, said Yebesh Orina.

One girl asked, “I would like to know why girls experience monthly periods?”

Admittedly, prior to the event, few of them had knowledge regarding menstrual health. However, they were assured that it is a normal biological process that every girl experiences. They were assured that it is a sign of development and they should maintain high standards of hygiene during this period and avoid stress.

Another girl remarked, “Why is it that my grandmothers claims that if a girl is not circumcised, she cannot give birth?”

This question was a good sign that the girls were willing to open up to the CRRHPs. Topics related to sexual and reproductive health, especially FGM, are often expressed in low tones and secrecy. They were told, contrary to the information they had, FGM puts one at risk of numerous infections and health complications that will negatively affect one’s ability to give birth.

Not Just Girls alone

The boys’ group was equally interactive. Just like the girl’s group, they were taught and given an opportunity to ask questions. The CRRHPs explained the changes they are likely to experience during adolescence. They were told that it is during such a time that they should take care of themselves and restrain from engaging in early intimate relationships that will distract them from their studies hence preventing them from achieving their life goals. Also, they were asked to take care of their female peers who are equally experiencing pressure because of the physical and emotional changes that occur during adolescence. Then, they were asked to be at the forefront in protecting their sisters and female classmates from being subjected to FGM.

Keeping girls safe is the priority of HFAW. Gladly, this event provided a platform for HFAW to continue showing its commitment in protecting girls in the country. To us, it is a calling and regardless of the challenges that may come with it, we are proud of the achievements we have made. We are humbled by the support we have received from you. We do not take your generosity and sense of good-will for granted. We ask you to continue sharing this information with friends and families so that they can see how you have impacted lives and encourage them to participate in the same.

Mrs. Gladys answering questions asked by the girls
Mrs. Gladys answering questions asked by the girls
The CHHRPs interacting with the students
The CHHRPs interacting with the students
Miss Leah, the acting CEO, addressing the students
Miss Leah, the acting CEO, addressing the students

Links:

Christmas tree decor gift-Angels made of sisal & b
Christmas tree decor gift-Angels made of sisal & b

This year teenage mother’s numbers soared across the country. We have witnessed cases where 9 girls in just one school are pregnant! Meanwhile government and non- governmental organizations are trying their best to salvage the situation. Nyamira County which is our work location is among the top five out of 47 counties in prevalent rates. This issue has challenged HFAW and we continue to engage with children, parents and teachers the much we can.

We have noted that many organizations working with children and even churches approach issues of sexual reproductive health insisting on abstinence and theological perspective only-- not engaging in sex before marriage. Obviously this is not working.

Young people need age appropriate, comprehensive sex education in order to prevent this problem. Parents, teachers and leaders need to come together and the accountability process requires to be improved.

Using Popular Education and Social Change Communication approaches, HFAW has been able to engage children with the age appropriate information about sex. In small group discussions, children are able to open up and ask questions to demystify issues related to sex that they are not able to talk with their parents, part of this due to our society conservative culture that finds it a taboo and shameful for adults to speak about sex with children. Information given to them by HFAW staff, HFAW Youth and Community Health and Human Rights Promoters (CHHRPs) also surpasses what the children’s peers might tell them in terms of content and knowledge. Our trainings of police on accountability processes and support needed to the victims is helpful but not nearly enough.

Here are a few quotes from the students who have accessed our information

“We have been advised as boys to ‘zip’ our trousers and girls to ‘cross’ their legs in matters concerning sex” said Origi a boy in grade 6 at Tindereti school

“I have learnt that engaging in sex at an early age can lead to pregnancy and early marriage, a factor that affects the girl child mostly. ” said Moraa, a school president at Riamanoti primary school.

“I now know that there are consequences for both the girl and the boy when they engage in sex at early age. One of them is pregnancy that sometimes leads girls to do unsafe abortion.” said Kemunto a grade 8 pupil at Gesibei primary school.

We would not be able to do this without your support. We invite you to make your donation through a gift card or buying a Christmas angel from our HFAW Handicrafts project collection to support this work.

Click http://www.hopefaw.org/product-category/artifacts/ to see the collection of angels and other African handicrafts. Please share this information with your friends and colleagues and explain to them why you care about this cause. Thank you

Edutainment engagement - Keep Her Safer
Edutainment engagement - Keep Her Safer
Maintain her smile away from vulnerability
Maintain her smile away from vulnerability
Happy faces during a school outreach by HFAW
Happy faces during a school outreach by HFAW

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,

Nyamira County is number 5 in preference rate out of 47 counties in Kenya. Months ago, we began noticing a crisis in rising number of young girls getting pregnant while in primary school. HFAW has been trying to reach out to schools to speak to parents, teachers and students on child abuse, early pregnancy, GBV, sexual reproductive health rights and FGM.

When a girl gets pregnant that becomes the end of her schooling. There is a perception that they have become women and yet they are children getting children. Very little work has been done to reduce early pregnancy in our county.

In mid-July, 2018, 9 girls have become pregnant in a local school. These girls are said to be 15- 17 years old.

"The pregnancies are due to boda boda(motorcycle) riders and poor parenting," commented Charles, the school head. "The pregnancies are spread across all the classes in the institution." Added Charles.

"This is a crisis, how can 9 girls get pregnant in the same school at the same time?" Expressed Joyce, HFAW grassroots coordinator.

HFAW CHHRPs have been mentoring girls in schools so that they can be retained in schools. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to reach as many schools including this local school with 9 pregnancies. We have been able to go to schools with messages of early pregnancy, child safeguarding, FGM, GBV and advancement of human rights.

The Kenyan Justice system is slow. In Rape cases or any form of sexual abuse, girls are often hesitant to follow up on a case in court. This is a body which HFAW is also involving in ending Early Pregnancy.

This Education has also helped men as well.

"You know, when you put me on the spot I thought you were cruel but now I appreciate your way of doing things. I thank you for putting up with us." Said one of the men during a training in Nyamira.

"This mesages have helped me know the importance of having self esteem and saying No to unwanted sex," said one of the girls after a dramatization by the CHHRPs.

"Through this education, I have learnt that I should protect my sisters against sexual abuse." Added one of the boys.

"If you were able to reach more schools, this could lead to reduction of pregnancies in schools," commented a teacher from Tindereti Primary School.

Early pregnancy affects not only girls but the whole community because it robs girls of their potential. Educated Girls develop skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions including if, when and whom to marry.

It is for this reason that we are seeking your support. These are children getting babies. We know we have come to you over and over again to support us. We do this because we know you care about our cause. Together, let us end Early Pregnancy and provide an opportunity for these girls to move from domestic environment to literacy and getting exposure to new ideas and value systems.

Some of the donations and grants are also used to train law enforcement officers and health care providers who are assisting us on holding perpetrators of FGM and GBV accountable. This project however has not been able to raise as much on Global Giving. We acknowledge and appreciate our funders I.e. the Girl Generation, AWDF and United Methodist Women who have helped us run this project as well.

We sincerely thank you our Global Giving friends and Supporters for supporting us and walking with us through every step of the way. We appreciate that you are part of us. This will be a long journey but worth it at the end after reducing the numbers of early pregnancies and finally ending it.

With Gratitude,

Winnierose N Sululu

Girl pledging to say No to Unwanted Sex
Girl pledging to say No to Unwanted Sex
Boy vowing to advocate against rape
Boy vowing to advocate against rape
Law enforcement officers during a training
Law enforcement officers during a training
Teacher asking HFAW to reach more schools wthmessa
Teacher asking HFAW to reach more schools wthmessa
Girl showcasing a message after school outreach.
Girl showcasing a message after school outreach.
Murema pupils after anti FGM/early pregnancy sessi
Murema pupils after anti FGM/early pregnancy sessi

Dear Friends,Collegues and Supporters,

Teenage pregnancy is both a public health and education problem in Kenya. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey report 2014, teenage pregnancy and motherhood rate in Kenya stands at 18 percent and has remained unchanged since 2008. The trend has been like a leaking tap where the number of girls at entry in school is high but along the way towards higher classes the number goes down drastically. This has been due to the girls drop out from school. It has also led to experience in health challenges due to birth complications and unsafe abortion. Some due to lack of alternative are forced into early marriages. Many teenage girls In Nyamira County drop out of school every year due to pregnancy.  Nyamira County ranks 5 out of 47 Counties in early pregnancies.

Training sessions with the youth, women, men and leaders have enumerated early pregnancies as a situation affecting the child in Nyamira. “There exists a lot of ignorance among our girls that once they get married it is the end of their problems .They are easily cheated. Mothers are not usually ready to talk to their girls about life, sex and how to keep themselves. Parents assume that the responsibility of talking to their girls about keeping themselves is on the teachers.” Said one of the women during the leaders training session in Nyamira County.

When asked what causes teenage pregnancy one girl said “Free bodaboda rides.” What do you mean, asked the facilitator. When girls do not have money to take a matatu (public transport service) a free ride from a motorbike rider is very appealing.” She said. “Sometimes it is basic food that is needed or something. The girl ends up sleeping with this man in the bush.” She stated.

“Girls do get taken out for sex, sometimes without their full understanding. They get pregnant and can die while giving birth or trying to abort. It is sad.”  said Raymond of Murema primary school.

Over the years HFAW has done school outreaches visited schools in Nyamira and Nairobi County and talked to boys and girls about child abuse, FGM, Teenage pregnancies and its consequences. We have interacted with teachers, students and pupils who confirmed cases on the same. Feedback from small group sessions with the pupils showed that they lack basic life skills education and often shy away when they hear of these topics. Most importantly girls and boys are gaining from what they are learning during these sessions.

“I now know what my rights are as a child.” Said Patience from Pisgan academy after a mentoring session.  “I know where to report if someone tries to hurt me.” She continued.

Previously, we thought these are girl’s problems but now I know even us boys must learn and advocate for girls, said a young boy at Murema primary school.

“If I see my parents try to cut my sister, I will dialogue with them,” said a youth at Tindereti primary school.

Keeping Girls in School and providing life skills education is very effective strategies to end teenage pregnancies and empowering girls in Nyamira County. None of these can happen without your support. In the recent times your contributions have helped us reach over seven schools with over 2000 students and 15 teachers. We invite you to share information about this work with your friends and family. Tell them what your contribution means to a young girl. She will survive, thrive and reach her full potential.

Thank you for supporting this project.

Yours Sincerely,

Winnierose N. Sululu

With much gratitude.

Tindereti pupils participating in sessions
Tindereti pupils participating in sessions
Pupils highlighting notes after the sessions
Pupils highlighting notes after the sessions
Sungututa pupils listen to Anti early pregnancy se
Sungututa pupils listen to Anti early pregnancy se
Notes highlighted by murema pupils after sessions
Notes highlighted by murema pupils after sessions
Pupils learning during the sessions at Sungututa
Pupils learning during the sessions at Sungututa

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Organization Information

Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)

Location: Nairobi, Kiambu County - Kenya
Website:
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Twitter: @HFAW2015
Project Leader:
Dr. Grace Bonareri Mose Okong'o
Nairobi, Nairobi County Kenya
$100 raised of $5,000 goal
 
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