Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya amongst school going girls has become a worrying trend. Young girls drop out of school due to pregnancy and may not continue with their education.
Teenage pregnancy refers to girls becoming pregnant when in either primary school or high school, basically below 18 years of age.
This means they have to drop out of school to first take care of themselves and the baby when it is born.
These cases of early teenage pregnancy in Kenya have diverse effects not only to the individual but also the community as a whole.
This trend is very saddening; think of how these girls become pregnant and what becomes of their life after this. I am a mature single mother to two beautiful children and parenting is still challenging. So can you imagine how much harder it is for these girls, who are single, under age, unemployed and immature.
Reality of Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya
Young people are sexually active more now than before and at very early age. This exposes them not only to the risk of becoming pregnant, but also to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDs and other venereal diseases. So not only should we be concerned about this rise of cases of teenage pregnancy in Kenya but also increase in infection cases.
Most pregnant teenage girls have no idea of what they are getting themselves into when they engage in unprotected sex and then later discover they are pregnant.
They are thrown in to a panic not knowing who to turn to for fear of rejection. First when the father of the baby discovers in most cases they disown the pregnancy and claim innocence, the society is hostile and then the situation at home in some cases becomes violent. The girl is thrown out of home, becomes homeless or shipped to some hide out till she delivers as she has now become an eye sore for the family.
Causes of Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya
- Peer pressure
- Cultural practices
- Broken families
- Lack of sexual awareness
- Abuse of alcohol and drugs
Most young people trust their peers and are easily influenced to engage in sexual encounters as a way of belong to a group. This may not be spelled out as a ritual but is expected of every member of the group. This is one of the main factors leading to increased cases of teenage pregnancy in Kenya.
Teenage girls are the most abused age group of women. Rape at this age is in most cases by a person who the girl trusts. This can be a male relative, including biological fathers and step fathers, teachers and domestic workers.
Some communities in Kenya marry off young girls from age 10 to men old enough to be their parents. At this tender age, these girls have not being exposure to any form of sexually education and have no clue of what their husbands expect from them. They become baby making machines, so why won’t this be a major contributor to increased cases of Pregnancy in Kenya.
Lack of a stable family structure push the girls to look for security else where and this is when they get lured in relationships which have devastating effects on their lives.
Due to poverty, girls are forced by their parents to sell their bodies as a source of revenue for the family, just to cater for their basic needs.
Lack of sexual awareness:
There is a big difference between the society we were brought up in and the current society in terms of sexual awareness.
When I was growing up, sex education was a taboo, we could not talk about it in public not even in schools and neither at home. So most of us were not taught about the changes our bodies were going through not until we joined high school and during biology class that we understood our bodies. This is why majority of us now as parents will not talk to our children about sex and leave them to be educated by media and their peers. This leads to experimenting, so why won’t cases of Pregnancy in Kenya be on the increase.
Abuse of alcohol and drugs:
Young people are abusing drugs rampantly and of course this will increase the sexual activities. This is a major contributor to increased cases of under age and unwanted pregnancies.
How do we address these cases of Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya
This a burden all of us as members of the society have to bear, why can’t we be our sisters keeper. We have sisters, daughters, nieces and grandchildren who need us to enlighten them on the dangers of engaging in sexual activities.
These girls do not get themselves pregnant, some man was an active participant. Where is he now? why can’t we hold him responsible, he is someone’s brother, father, uncle, grandfather, nephew or husband.
Let’s stop all this cultural nonsense of marring off babies to become wives. What a shame!!!
Girls do not engage yourselves in sexual activities if you are ready for the consequences which include contracting HIV/AIDS. Respect yourself, do not let your friends make decisions for you. They will be the first ones to call you lose or a slut when you become pregnant and they will not help you carry the pregnancy to term. Neither will they stay up late nights with you when the baby comes nor provide any kind of support, they will be busy enjoying their uncomplicated life.
Your body is a temple of the Lord; guard it with your life and lets reduce unplanned cases of Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya.