Posted July 9, 2021 9:18 am by

KISII, Kenya July 9 – Due to loss of income and lack of job opportunities during the global COVID-19 pandemic, women, in particular, are experiencing financial and social distress, with serious implications for health and safety.

Teenage girls are particularly affected to the extent of dropping out of school after the resumption in January 2021, due to high recorded cases of sexual exploitation leading to pregnancies.

Schools in Kenya were closed from March 2020 to January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had killed more than 3,500 people by July.

Statistics compiled by Non-Governmental Organizations and Kenya’s Ministry of Education, 152,820 young girls got married while others fell pregnant during the first three months of the lockdown.

In Trans-Nzoia County alone, there were more than 10,000 reported cases of teenage pregnancies in 2020, according to the government.

The International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya indicated that more than one-third which is 36 percent of young women had reported cases of violence in one or more transactional partnerships in the past year. There was also an increased financial dependency since April 2020, when the Government effected stringent COVID-19 restrictions in the country that included dusk to dawn curfew.

Reports by the Ministries of Education and that of Interior and Coordination of Government showed commitment to ensure that all school-going girls were enrolled to schools bu no official statistics are out todate.

However, there are girls who went to hiding due to stigma associated with being pregnant before completing school or have been kept in hiding due to lack of financial support.

Edinah Nyaboke Kangwana who works at the County Government of Kisii is a gender, youth mentor and coach who has taken the initiative to reach out to the women and engage young girls on matters of sexual reproductive health resilience.

“I grew up knowing I had a responsibility to change my society in whichever small way possible. I think I owe that to the community that lovingly brought raised me and provides great values, and a foundation till this day,” she said during an interview with Capital FM News.

In her line of duty, she was at the center of coordinating the emergency response to COVID-19, a role delegated to her from the main Committee where her boss was the Chairperson. Here, there were a number of directives that were issued and needed implementation, such as the curfew restricted movements, lockdowns, closing down of schools and of the open-air Read More…