According to media reports over a three month period of the Covid-19 lockdown, there was a 40% rise in the number of teen pregnancies in Kenya, with 152,000 pregnancies reported. A number of studies have indicated that most girls who drop out of school due to teenage pregnancies rarely return back to school after childbirth despite the favorable policies.

The Kenya school reentry policy and the National School Health policy stipulate the procedures on reentry of teenage mothers back to school. However, implementation of the aforementioned policies has not been fully actualized due to several barriers and challenges such as community perception, negative attitudes, and fear of shame, stigmatization and failure by some school heads to divulge policy provisions for the fear that this might promote early sexual activities in schools among others.

The COVID -19 pandemic has also led to decline in economic status of many parents who may have suffered from job losses and pay cuts impacting on the parents’ ability to provide the basic needs to their children. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Kenya’s economic growth has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 shocks with direct and indirect consequences especially to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized households who rely on informal employment and businesses. Their ability to finance school related expenditure such as school kits, meals, learning materials has been severely compromised. With the Government adopting remote teaching to support distance learning and online education delivered through radio and television and internet, learners from poor, vulnerable and marginalized households may not have access to these mediums of learning further widening inequality gap, in equity, access and quality of education.

Within this project, FAWE and ENAI propose a collaborative action with Government ministries and departments, Civil Society, Academia, Religious Groups, Community leaders and Parents for joint strategies to address teenage pregnancy in Kenya. A baseline survey/rapid assessment will be conducted to establish a clear picture on the number of teenage pregnancies in the 5 counties (Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos, Kajiado and Narok). This will not only ensure data credibility but also inform implementation of activities within the program. The process will also allow involvement of the teenagers, their opinion and proposed solutions “nothing about them without them”.

The project recommendations acknowledge that there must be a multi-sectoral approach to end teenage pregnancies hence the interventions will not only aim at empowering girls on the importance of going through the full cycle of education but also sensitize their communities (parents/guardians, educators, community leadership) to support them. The process will involve in depth discussions on Comprehensive Sexual Education and development of homegrown solution to reduce or end teenage pregnancies.

Laws and policies are trusted to contribute to significant changes to societal problems. FAWE and ENAI will advocate for implementation on favourable policies and where lacking champion for their enactment. The stakeholders to be targeted will include relevant Government ministries, organisations working in the Education, Health, Legal, Economic Sectors, faith based organisations, youth organisations, the Academia and Media. FAWE and ENAI will also work with existing civil society networks that have been established to respond to rights of the girl-child or children generally.

FAWE and ENAI will work in partnership with other civil societies that support girls’ initiatives in the community to sensitize and create awareness on SRHR and social accountability. FAWE will also utilize its existing relation with Kenya Ministry of Education (Memorandum of Understanding between FAWE Kenya and MOE) to create an effective network to support the project activities.

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