Media Centre Archives - CREAWKENYA


April 7, 2021by CREAW

One week ago, the public were shocked by the disdainful comments made by former Homeboyz Radio Station presenters during a breakfast show aired on 25th of March, 2021. The comments condoned gender-based violence and placed the survivor at fault.

When a woman, or indeed, any other person survives gender-based violence, they expect empathy and justice and not blame, shame and stigma meant to further re-traumatize and stifle their voices into silence. Public broadcasting stations must not be used as a platform to victim shame. We call on Home Boyz and all broadcasting stations to take note of the Constitutional provision that requires the media to be responsible in their coverage of matters that touch on the safety, security and wellbeing of women and girls.

In the wake of the Home Boyz experience, we demand that all media houses adopt gender and zero violence tolerance policies that categorically provide for redress of violations, address gender biases and provide for balanced news reportage and media content.

Homeboyz situation is not an isolated case. In recent times sexism and misogynistic conversations have openly supported, made jokes, or sensationalized violence against women and girls, often diverting public attention from the perpetrators of such acts or not holding them accountable for their actions. Such actions only serve to perpetuate misogyny and discourages many victims from reporting cases of violence out of fear that they might be blamed for the harm meted on them or further victimized.

Any actions that promote or justify sexual violence do not stem sexual harassment and violence nationally. The mass media must play its role in eradicating the silent pandemic. During the corona pandemic, GBV cases have increased by 42 per cent. In this country, 47 per cent of women compared to three per cent men experience some form of Gender Based Violence. This violence also costs Kenya at Ksh 29 billion annually.
While supporting the rapid actions taken by the East African Breweries, Radio Africa Group management and the Communication Authority of Kenya, we urge the mass media industry to take up their critical and powerful role of promoting and protecting human rights.

Further, we call upon the media industry to:

  1. Put in place clear policies and guidelines for reporting sexual, gender and human rights violations. Where these are already in place, they should be implemented, and all members of staff made aware that they exist;
  2. Put in place accountability frameworks that address perpetrators and protect victims.
  3. Institutionalize strong reporting mechanisms devoid of victimization;
  4. Allocate sufficient resources to train/orient media employees on gender sensitive reporting, human rights and on the implications of GBV;

We stand ready to work with media houses in Kenya to boost their responsibility in reporting on human rights violations and sensitize presenters/hosts on gender responsive broadcasting. We note that the issues surrounding the incident are layered and will require numerous actors to address and this, therefore, offers an impetus for accelerated efforts on the same.

This statement has been issued by four human rights organizations namely Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), Amnesty International Kenya, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) and the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW).

COVAW is an organization that focuses on influencing sustained engagement on violations conducted against women and girls in Kenya, with a focus on Gender Based Violence.

Amnesty International Kenya is an organization dedicated to securing human rights all over the world. Amnesty International Kenya works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.

AMWIK is a non-profit membership organization for women journalists and communicators in Kenya. AMWIK is committed to enhancing the status of women in Kenya and Africa. AMWIK seeks to use the media to promote an informed and gender responsive society through a professional and transformative media in Kenya and Africa.

CREAW is a duly registered, national feminist women’s rights non-governmental organization whose vision is a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity.

Ms Wairimu Munyinyi Wahome – COVAW
Dr Dorothy Njoroge – AMWIK
Ms. Wangechi Wachira – CREAW
Mr Irungu Houghton – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL KENYA

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March 19, 2021by CREAW

We are deeply appalled by the information going round on social media platforms about sexual assault and the gruesome murder of Velvine Nungari Kinyanjui allegedly by one Anthony Njenga Murimi. Our deepest condolences to Velvine’s family and friends.

As an organization that has committed itself to the promotion of the rights of women and girls, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) notes with concern that while Velvine’s case is not an isolated one; countless number of women and girls across the country have become subjects to gender-motivated killings, sexual violence including rape, female genital mutilations, and sexual harassment in the households, communities, workplaces and by extension public spaces. As many as seven in ten women in various parts of the country report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, most of them at the hands of intimate partners.

Data from CREAW shows that by the end of 2020, cases of violence against women and girls across Kenya had risen by 64% amidst the pandemic. The statistics that are further affirmed by the National Crime Research Center report 2020 which recorded a 92% increase in cases of GBV between January and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. These statistics demonstrates that violence against women and girls continue to go unabated despite the Constitutional provisions that upholds the rights of all Kenyans, women and girls included.

We welcome the actions by the National Police Service (NPS), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (ODPP) in apprehending Velvine’s alleged assailant (Anthony Njenga Murimi), however we demand that speedy investigations be done and the culprit be charged for nothing less than murder for the life of Velvine. The Judiciary should ensure that the case is heard and determined and that the perpetrator is fully made accountable for the heinous act. We shall remain vigilant until justice is done for Velvine, one life lost is one too many other lives lost in our communities. She was loved, she was cared for. We are missing a life, a sister, a daughter, a friend, stolen from our hearts and our minds. Femicide is unacceptable!

In all, CREAW stands in solidarity with all survivors and victims of femicide and other forms of GBV and call on the government to break their silence on the “shadow pandemic” and honour their obligation as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 to end violence against women and girls.

We are also cognisant that, survivors voices continue to be stifled by the patriarchal notions and societal stigma; a matter that has left many survivors wallowing in pain and hopelessness. We are calling on individuals and communities to rise beyond the gender biases, play their part and take action to liberate women and girls from all forms of violence.

End Notes

About the Center for Rights Education and Awareness

Founded in 1999, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) is a national feminist organization driving change for equal societies in Kenya. We place women and girls at the center of our actions to end inequality and realize social justice. We question political, social, economic, legal, cultural and religious structures that silences the voices and agency of women and girls in Kenya.

CREAW envisions a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity. We believe in the equality of rights, with empowerment and justice made available for every woman and girl. We stand for, ensuring women and girls have Power, Voice and Agency. For more information on CREAW, please visit: www.creawkenya.org

For more information please contact [email protected] or call 0720-357-664.


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January 26, 2021by CREAW

We meet Neema* (not her real name) in the informal settlements of Kawangware where she has been living for six months since her husband of 10 years beat her and threw her out in the cold in the wee hours of the night with her two children.

“For the last 10 years I have been married to him, there has never been peace in our home. Occasionally, we would fight even on the slightest provocation,” she says, adding that everything changed when she lost her job; her husband threw her and her two young children out in the cold, and she was left to fend for her children with no income in sight.

Sadly Neema* is not the only one facing domestic violence: her experience mirrors that of many women and girls who are increasingly being trapped with their abusers at home.

With the raging cases of COVID-19 pushing households into economic slumps, women and girls “locked” with their abusers are also finding it difficult to seek safety away from violence marred homes- cutting them off from their supportive networks and resources that could help them.

Like Neema, Kadija ( not her real name) is also another survivor of domestic violence from the informal settlements of Kibera. It has only been a month since she left the shelter where she had sought refuge after receiving constant abuse from her husband that only worsened during the pandemic.

“I am unemployed and depended on my husband. Because of the pandemic, he received a pay cut and we could barely afford to pay for food and rents. Many times we would fight even over minor things. I feared for my life and that of my children,” says 29-year-old Kadija who is now separated with the husband.

As the pandemic keeps raging on, CREAW’s owned hotline-0800720186 has been a buzz with women and girls making frantic calls to report violations and seek legal and referral services. On average, the hotline receives 90 cases in a month, this compared to 20 cases during the same time last year. Similarly, the rising incidences of violence against women and girls have been further affirmed by the data from the National gender based violence (GBV) hotline 1195, indicating a 55 percent surge with women accounting for nearly 70 percent of those cases.

With the pandemic disrupting access to essential support services to survivors of GBV, CREAW, with the support from UNDP Kenya, adapted its intervention in the community during the pandemic to ensure that women and girls- survivors, especially those living in the informal settlements of Nairobi receive the much needed support to heal and build resilience beyond the pandemic.

This includes, free legal information and representation, psychosocial support to help survivors heal from their traumatic experiences. In-addition, CREAW also integrated the survivors to the existing livelihood cash reliefs intervention supported by the European Union in Kenya and shelter services as they reorganise their lives.


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September 23, 2020by CREAW

We, the undersigned Women, Women Associations, Women Rights organizations and Gender Equality Advocates in Kenya, being representatives of women in all their diversity including grass root and rural women, women in the informal settlements, women in Business, Women in Professional Bodies and in all Associations and organizations have taken note of the Action taken by the RT. Hon. Chief Justice , David Maraga issued Monday, 21st September 2020 to His Excellency, the President Uhuru Kenyatta in respect to the dissolution of Parliament for its  failure to enact legislation to implementation of the two thirds gender rule as provided for in Article 10 (2), Article 27(6) ; Article 81(b) and Article 100 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

The women of Kenya stand in solidarity with the action taken by the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice on dissolution of parliament. The action by Rt. Hon. Chief Justice is timely and takes cognizance of the challenges that women have faced and continue to face in our quest for inclusivity and equality.

We further note that it is the responsibility of each one of us to remain accountable to our Constitution and the Rule of Law.

We further affirm that the drafters of our Constitution were alive to the patriarchal challenges and difficulties in promoting women’s political leadership and representation in our country.

We note the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s decision has taken cognizance of the numerous attempts by Parliament to provide a mechanism for actualizing the gender provision anchored in the Constitution. On all these occasions, Parliament has failed to reach a decision and demonstrated a lack of good will and respect for the rule of law.

We note that by advising, H.E. the President to dissolve the 11th  Parliament, Rt. Hon. Chief  Justice has acted within the bounds set out in the law, and as espoused in Article 261(7) and in furtherance of our democracy and the rule of law.

The women of Kenya are in full support of the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s insistence that the Country must hold everyone accountable for their actions or lack thereof. This is as it should be.

We further highlight the four (4) Court Orders that have been issued directing Parliament to implement the two thirds gender rule within clearly specified time lines. We acknowledge the efforts and attempts that both houses of Parliament have taken on the matter. However, we note that these attempts have not resulted to any outcome as envisaged in the Constitution.

We regret the push-back and voices from Parliament that are misleading Kenyans with the false narrative that the ‘two thirds gender rule: Is not part of the mandate of Parliament; that there is no mechanism to implement this provision; and that it is too costly to implement the two third gender rule.

We note that all these narratives are misleading and point to the challenges that we have encountered and have had to endure with parliament in our attempts to push for enactment of a mechanism for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule.

While women welcome the attempts in Parliament to implement Article 100, we wish to point out that this does not in any way provide for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule as it only deals with limits its focus to the existing seats in Parliament.

We reiterate that the spirit of our Constitution envisages an inclusive Kenya in which all citizens including women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized categories have equal opportunity to socially, economically and politically participate fully in the affairs of our country.

We note that the crisis the country finds itself, unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, is self-afflicted and hence its solution is within our reach.

We further reiterate that Implementing the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in its entirety including the two thirds gender rule is a matter of great interest to all Kenyans. Unfortunately, this crisis did not happen yesterday and has been with us for the last ten years.

We emphasize that the time has come for Kenya to entrench constitutionalism and the rule of law. The hall mark of a democracy is its adherence and fidelity to the Rule of Law and Separation of powers between the various arms of government.

We note that the Two Thirds Gender Rule is not about giving seats to women but it is about creating an inclusive and sustainable society in furtherance to its commitment to the SDGs, the Agenda 2063 and the Vision 2030.

We note that while Kenya has made some great advancements in promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality, the country is lagging behind other countries including Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal among others who have embraced gender quotas. Kenya is a leader in many respects except in this area of women’s representation.

We stand on the various promises that His Excellency, the President has made to the women of Kenya including his commitment to ensure that Kenyan women enjoy full political, social and economic rights. Mr. President, the Judiciary and parliament have done their part. The ball is now squarely in your court.

We are confident that H.E, the President will assert himself on this matter and provide leadership that will move this Country forward and entrench Constitutionalism.

Finally, we note that all women and men are equal and it’s the obligation of the leadership to ensure that its citizens enjoy all the rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.


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April 25, 2020by CREAW

his appeal raises novel questions of law on whether vicarious liability can be attributed to the appellant, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) who at the material time had employed Astorikoh Henry Amkoah, (3rd respondent hereinafter referred to as “teacher”) for alleged acts of sexual abuse against the students hereinafter referred to as “WJ” and “LN”).


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February 6, 2020by CREAW

By Christine Ogutu

For 12 years Margaret Sepengo was a renowned female circumciser in the remote village of Leparwa tucked in the north of Isiolo County.

In 2015 she abandoned the cut all thanks to the sensitization efforts by CREAW auspiced under the Tunza Mama Na Mtoto project aimed at empowering communities to abandon retrogressive cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) that inhibits on maternal and newborn health.

With the support from UKAid through Christian Aid, the project that is in its third year of implementation adopted a community mobilization approach dubbed SASA! (Start, Awareness, Support, Action),to educate and inspire communities to take actions for social change.

Margaret was lucky to be among those who were capacity built on maternal health issues and how they can use the knowledge to advocate against FGM, early marriages, teen pregnancies and gender based violence all of which are rooted deep in culture and the leading causes of maternal and newborn motilities and morbidities in the larger Isiolo County.

“It is the trainings that enabled me shun the practice and engage in alternative source of livelihood,” says Margaret who is now a respected community activist who is using the SASA! model to change perceptions and attitudes of her community towards FGM.

Female Genital Mutilation as she puts it, used to be the cornerstone of livelihoods for many households but the situation has changed. When she learned the art of the cut, her only motivation was to eke a living.

“I used to admire an elderly neighbour who used to circumcise girls and would earn a lot of money. Being a third wife and an only breadwinner in the family, I learnt the art and would make Sh1000 from each girl. The prices would go up to Sh2500 during high season and sometimes poor families will offer their goats or cattle,” she says.

“With the sustained community dialogues targeting the council of elders, men and women, the community has opted abandoned the age-old tradition,” she adds.

In her quest to have the elders lift the ban on the curse placed on any man who marries uncircumcised girl, Margaret reach out to the Masaai Morans to have the elders allow them to marry uncut women. The elders agreed to their quest and held a public forum to ‘break the curse.’ The forum held in Laikipia brought together the young and elderly from Masaai, Turkana and Samburu communities. This was a great step towards eradicating FGM.

“During the exchange visit between reformed circumcisers from Isiolo and Kajiado, I learnt the different initiative that my counterparts were using to have the elders to create a by-in with the elders who are the custodian of culture. I came back and embarked on the same. My efforts bore fruits,” explains the mother of four.

“Among pastoralist communities, uncircumcised girls were doomed to be a bad omen and outcasts. The blessings symbolized an end to the cut among the communities,” she says, adding, “ This was a step to ensuring that women and girls would now be free from early marriages and complications experienced during childbirth associated to FGM. “

Aside from her proactive activism in her community, she has enrolled herself into adult education program now in level three. She explains that like many girls in her community, she was married off to an elderly man at the age of 14 and was not able to ascend through to high school.

“If we give girls the opportunity to go to school, we will be able to break the cultural barriers and make healthy decisions for their reproductive health and that of their families and children,” she says.

 

 


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February 4, 2020by CREAW

By Christine Ogutu

Thursday afternoon, the weather is chilly and the usually busy Githongo pitch has no sight of any young ones kicking around the ball in the pitch or athletes working out as in the usual. In the surroundings, the densely constructed shelters are slowly shifting the small rural town of Githongo to an urbanized community center.

Utawala Chiefs Group at the Githongo Chief Camp. PHOTO/CREAW

Looking on to the vast field in the left corner is the Githongo Chiefs Offices. Outside, a group of women and men are seen chit chatting. Their starched and well-pressed brown khaki uniform brings their steadfastness to the fore; their threaded shoulders mark them out as protectors and defenders of the larger community as their call of duty bestows them.

The uniformed women and men are Chiefs from Imenti Central, Meru County who came together to establish the 14 members Utawala Chiefs Group with an aim to better provide coordinated response to GBV matters in their localities. Today, they are having their usual biweekly meetings to discuss the emerging issues in the community.

At the location level in Kenya’s administrative system, Chiefs are charged with mandate to maintain order within their jurisdiction. For the Utawala group, the work in the community goes over and above their call of duty. They derive passion from a violence free society where women and girls live in dignity, are better protected and able to move freely and thrive and thus their continued conversations and coordinated response to the ills that bedevils their community.

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For more than two years now, they have been working together, raising their voices and driving conversations through Chiefs’ Barazas to educate their communities on the ills of GBV and the channels of reporting.

“I was privileged to be part of the Chiefs’ training that taught them on how to handle and support survivors when they report violations,” says Faith Kagwiria, a Chief at Kathurune West Location and also a member of the Utawala Chiefs.

As the first respondent when an incident occurs, it is paramount that Chiefs like Faith are well vast with the roles and responsibilities they play in regards to the various matters reported thus, CREAW through the Haki Yetu Jukumu Letu initiative came in handy to build their capacity to enable them to effectively support survivors and respond to the needs of the locals.

The initiative now in its third year of implementation and supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya equips Chiefs among other duty bearers with the knowledge on GBV related laws, how to document and report matters as well as how to set up community structures that promotes safe spaces in the community.

“Not a day goes, without widows flocking my office puzzled, confused and bewildered when their in-laws take away their matrimonial lands,” narrates Phyllis Mungatia who is the Chairperson of the Utawala Chiefs.

She says the inequalities when it comes to access and control of matrimonial land particularly in the agricultural rich region of Meru disenfranchises women.

It is such that draws the Utawala group to work with a unity of purpose. Their work in the community is slowly gaining momentum with the continued conversations, the community is slowly opening up and speaking out on matters such as incest that were shelved at family level.

“Apart from the weekly chief barazas, we also conduct targeted dialogues with men, women and in schools,” explains Stella Kinoti.

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She goes on to say that they have also consistently taught the village elders and area managers on how to tackle GBV noting that it takes both individual and community actions to create a ideal community for all. The Nyumba Kumi clusters have also come in handy to map out cases like female genital mutilation and child neglect.

But as Lucy Magiri puts it, their success has not been without the challenges. Sometimes they are forced to flee their homes or handle cases under cover for fear of their lives. Nonetheless, together, they affirm that their actions are just a starting point to lasting change in the community. They are positive that with their collective efforts, their neighbourhoods will violence free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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January 31, 2020by CREAW

In Kilifi County, pregnancy remains a key barrier to girls’ education. In 2018 alone, over 17000 girls fell pregnant – some of the cases are attributed to wayward bodaboda riders who lure young girls with gifts and impregnate them; some girls also fall pregnant after being molested by those they trust most: relatives teachers and clergymen.

When we meet 16 year old *Riziki at her maternal grandparents home, she is cuddling her two year old son- a product of an affair she had with the bodaboda rider. Then, she was in Form two.

“I met him on my way to school and he offered to transport me,” she says. What followed were everyday rides that transitioned into sexual encounters.

“He promised to take care of me but denied being the father of my baby when I informed him I was pregnant,” says Riziki

Like many other girls in Kilifi, Riziki forms part of the statistics of girls whose dream to ascend higher in education and make their future a reality is cut shot by pregnancy emanating from wayward bodaboda riders.

In the wake of this, CREAW through the Haki Yetu Jukumu Letu initiative with the Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya incorporated the Bodaboda riders in the community outreaches where they learn how to ensure that children are safe and well protected from sexual violence and other ills in their communities.

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Daniel Tinga is the chairperson of Bodaboda riders in Kaloleni Sub County. He tells us that through the community outreaches he has learnt the dangers that sexual violence pose on the lives of young girls. From the lessons, he teaches his fellow riders to uphold respect and dignity of the women and girls they come into contact with.

“As a bodaboda rider I have the responsibility to ensure my customers whether young or old, arrive to their destination safely,” says Tinga.

In Ganze, Tinga’s counterparts are also organizing around the issue of defilement that has labeled them as perpetrators. In them is a resolve defy the ‘normal’ – they are building agency and using their voices to champion for good.

“ As a father I want, other girls in my community to grow well and complete their education just as my daughters. I want girls to fly high and build our village to greater heights,” says Shadrack Kazungu, a bodaboda rider at Matano Manne, Ganze Sub County.

He explains to us that after attending various community dialogues by CREAW his outlook on violence against women and girls has changed.

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“I learnt that cat calling and groping violates the rights of girls. Before I was never attentive to such matters because in my industry, they are ‘normal.’ I am glad there is a shift, the conversations have helped us build consensus amongst us,” he says while noting that, in their Association they are on the look out for individuals who goes against the ethics and conduct they have set as such, they are excommunicated and matters referred to the police.

At Kibaoni, the Bodaboda riders’ voices are even getting more louder in their day to day work. In their numbers, they want Kibaoni Bodaboda Association to be known for good. With their collective voices, they are certain that their community can only getter better.

“We have a good relationship with village elders and Chiefs within Kibaoni who help us in tackling gender violence matters even among our circles,” says Sudi Zalikini.

Writing by Christine Ogutu

 


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January 31, 2020by CREAW

Source: Daily Nation

By Moraa Obiria

Teen pregnancies among school girls is a worrying phenomenon in Kenya. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), notes that 378,397 girls aged 10 to 19 got pregnant between June 2016 and July 2017.

Similar data by Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, indicates that about one in every five adolescent girls has either given birth, or is pregnant with her first child.

Notably, in November 2018, Kilifi County Children Affairs department released shocking statistics. They recorded 13, 624 pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 years in the past one year.

Incidents of deliveries among girls, during Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), often surface.

The same year, the Ministry of Education reported at least 50 cases of pregnancies during KCPE. Kitui County presented a classical scenario with a report of 100 pregnancies during KCSE.

Last year, a similar trend was reported in Bomet County during the KCSE with at least 12 pregnancies.

Across Africa, the structural systems are inflexible and inconsiderate of the burdens of adolescent mothers seeking to return to school.

As at 2018, 15 countries had re-entry policies for the girls, but the conditions set for the re-entry are repulsive.

The countries include Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique. Others are Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe

In Malawi, girls are suspended for one year the moment their pregnancy is known, according to a2018 Human Rights Watch report on discrimination of adolescent mothers’ discrimination in access to education.

There are conditions set for the young mothers to apply for re-admission. She must send a request to the Ministry of Education and the school she intends to join, as noted in theLeave No Girl Behind in Africa Discrimination in Education against Pregnant Girls and Adolescent Mothersreport.

In Zambia and Gabon, girls have a better chance of continuing with their education. The countries have policies privy to their additional needs. They ensure primary and secondary education is free; the girls have time to breastfeed, and can choose morning or evening classes. They also have nurseries and day-care centres close to schools where their babies are sheltered while they attend classes.

In Kenya, a proposed law on supporting girl-child parents to complete their education after childbirth is still pending in the Senate.

Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill

The Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill (2019) proposes a framework for ensuring girls such as those in Kilifi and Kitui are granted care and protection by the national and county governments to actualise their right to basic education while ensuring the care of their children.

The Bill sponsored by nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, mandates the national government through the National Council for Children’s Services to “address any educational and related barriers faced by pregnant and parenting students.”

The Council would also be required to “guarantee funding and sustainability of the initiative and other child welfare programs aimed at benefiting child parents.”

There is also a proposal that county education boards and county executive committee members for education collaborate in establishing “programs to ensure expectant children and child parents have access to education services.”

And that “academic support programs that ensure students with extended absences for reasons related to pregnancy and parenting, are able to enrol back to school or other education facility to access education services.”

The Bill has been reviewed by Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, with the report being tabled in the House in November last year.

It would require National Assembly backing to become law. Upon approval by the Senate, it would be sent to MPs, before the Speaker of Senate forwards it the President to assent to it.

Long-term solution

Addressing pregnancies among the school girls is, however, not just about institutional structures with financial support, argues Dr Emmanuel Manyasa, an education analyst and Executive Director of Usawa Agenda.

“We have to be careful with giving financial support as it may end up being an incentive for pregnancy,” says Dr Manyasa who spoke to the Nation on phone.

He says allowing girl-child parents back to school must be accompanied with a long-term solution.

“Needy girls end up pregnant as a consequence of poverty. The girls must be freed from poverty to avoid repeat pregnancies.”

Ms Isabella Mwangi, of Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) underscores a multi-pronged approach to ending teen pregnancies.

She says the government, parents, teachers, religious institutions and community elders play a critical role in creating safe spaces for advancement of school girls.

Ms Mwangi says the government and religious institutions must agree on the introduction of sex education in schools, since sexual relations among teens is a reality that cannot be ignored.

She identifies recreational centres near schools as fertile grounds for luring girls, and the government ought to eradicate them.

She says parents must be responsible for teaching their girls and boys about their sexuality.

“Parents must nurture their children to know that they have a purpose in the society. Talking to their children is a responsibility they must not abdicate to anyone,” she notes.

While emphasising on role of community elders as custodians of cultural traditions, Ms Mwangi says they must be involved, as their influence in spearheading anti- retrogressive practices campaigns would lead to drop in teen pregnancies.