Addressing barriers to accessing sexual health services among teenage girls in Kakamega County, Western Kenya

Daisy Ungaya (2020, African Studies), 2021 volunteer

However, I also argue that various factors have contributed to a sharp rise in teenage pregnancies in the region especially school closures due to Covid and the sharp increased rate in poverty levels.

From the engagements, I discovered that the girls lack mentors and people to look up to. As such, I teamed up with a group of local women (Able Women Group) and capitalized on the one-hour bi-weekly Guidance and Counselling sessions that schools have set aside. We had open conversations with the girls regarding sexual behaviour. We also urged them to work hard as well as to tap into opportunity outside their locality. Activities during the project were made to be very open and easy to participate in. For instance, the girls anonymously wrote their questions and concerns, and they were responded to accordingly. Above all, we encouraged them to embrace monthly periods especially because we noted that majority of the girls are ashamed to talk about it. Hence, I explained to them that it is normal and okay to experience it. Thereafter, I distributed a total of 850 sanitary towels and left 3 bales in each institution for emergencies which would last the girls three months.

For the weeks that the project was running, the schools recording a diminishing number of girl child absenteeism with at most 2 girls missing school. Finally, am in conversation with the County Government health department where am tabling a bill which will make sanitary towels available to these students.

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