Inaugural Teen Mums Initiative Forum Held.

Dr. Susan Gitau emphasizing a point during the Teen Moms Initiative as one of the teen mum's looks on.

The first ever Teen Moms Initiative forum was held on Saturday 25th  November at the Africana College of Professional Counselling, the event organised by Susan Gitau Conselling Foundation (SGCF) brought together close 100 teenage mums aged between 15-20 years from informal settlements such as Matharau, Goshen, Kiandutu, Gacagi. Most of the participants sighted pregnancy as the main reason why they left school at an early age, and despite there being a policy that allows young mothers to return to school, Matharau, Goshen, Kiandutu, Gacagi  areas still have a high female school dropout rate.  

One of the teen mums who attended the Teen Moms initiative forum feeding takes time to feed her baby.
“I dropped out of school in form one after being chased away due to lack of school fees, our family was going through a rough patch, my father had just passed on and my mum and younger brother had just been admitted to hospital and we couldn’t raise school fees, two months down the line I discovered that I was pregnant, even though my mother encouraged me to keep it the boy who impregnated me couldn’t hear none of that, I would like to go back to school and complete my studies,”  said Florence Wanjiru a 16 year old teen mother from Goshen Village.

As young girls become mothers in their teen this affects their attainment of education. According to Dr. Susan Gitau, school re-entry by parenting girls is viewed as more acceptable than school continuation by pregnant learners, therefore she urges that the relevant stakeholders in the education sector need to be vigilant in monitoring school re-entry of teen mothers, and also a lot of advocacy needs to be carried out in making sure that teenage mothers, their parents and communities are aware of the rights of teen mothers to return to school.

“It pains me as a counsellor and a mother to see a lot of these teens being subjected to ridicule and shame, because they got pregnant in their teens, it is my hope and prayer that those charged in looking into their welfare will take up the challenge and see to it that they have at least gotten back to school, and perhaps its high time both the county and national governments set up vocational training centres around the affected areas, this will go a long way in instilling confidence and hope to this young and bright teens,” she further added.

According to the 2009 Population census, Kenya’s population is largely comprised of young people, persons aged 19years and below account for more than half of the population, while those aged 15 years and below form 45% of the population. Teenage pregnancy is a major health and social concern due to its association with maternal and child morbidity and mortality it is a major obstacle to young girls in gaining education across Kenya. Early pregnancies not only lead to girls dropping out of schools they also have a heavy impact on their health, social and economic outcomes.

Teenage pregnancy in Thika Town is more rampant in informal settlement areas where young girls are subjected to poverty, gender inequality, lack of sexual and reproductive health information and services and lack of comprehensive sexuality education.

The event also brought together various stakeholders from health, education and psychology industries.

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