Eunice Owino
Posted September 30, 2019 from Kenya
Procession to Kolunga Beach on 16 days of gender activism
Procession to Kolunga Beach on 16 days of gender activism (1/3)

Sex for fish is a famous trade along the beaches of Lake Victoria commonly known as jaboya or joboya (plural). Once the boats dock at the beach from their fish catches, beehive of activities towers Kiwa Island. Atis a grade five pupil is among the fishmonger who accompanies her grandmother Nyowila to the beach, forcing her to miss school frequently. She comes in to support her grandmother Nyowila fend for her and their three siblings. Her mother died four years ago when she was 8 years. Since then her grandmother Nyowila had been taking care of them through her business as a fishmonger.  Now that Nyowila is aging at 49 years; joboya no longer see her as attractive thus she resorted to be accompanied by her eldest granddaughter; Atis to entice joboya. Atis confessed to have been engaging in unprotected sex with joboya. Five months into that dubious trade, Atis got pregnant; at 13 years. This, is what most girls face in Homa Bay County.

The county came second in Kenya in a demographic survey on teenage pregnancies at 33% for girls aged 15-19 years old. According to the latest Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS, 2018), Narok County had the highest burden of teenage pregnancies at 40%, followed by Homa Bay County. Teenage pregnancies have become a serious issue in Kenya that has propelled the then Cabinet Secretary Amina to commission an inquiry to investigate the causes and interventions. In Homa Bay county Jaboya is one of the factors that are responsible for teenage pregnancies. Homa Bay county has close to 80% of the Lake Victoria side (CIDP,2014), other factors include high poverty levels, it is noted that many engage in transaction sex to meet basic needs, music and dance after burial of the dead (disco matanga), others blame absentee parents and many orphans and single parents due to HIV/AIDS among other factors.

Despite all these challenges, forces of change and a better society for the girls and women are optimistic that all these could be addressed and give the girls opportunity complete school and build their lives. It is important to tap and make use of Kenya’s favourable policy and legal frameworks that promote adolescent SRH and SRH rights. These frameworks include but are not limited to the Constitution (2010), National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy (2015), National Guidelines for Provision of Adolescent Youth Friendly Services (YFS) in Kenya (2005), the Children Act (2001) and the National Youth Policy (2007).

At SOY-Worldwide we have been doing several sensitization programs on sexual reproductive health rights. We believe this is a step to addressing the teenage pregnancies. It should also be noted that this should be given a concerted effort from church to the community to the schools to the leaders and from the government

This story was submitted in response to GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

Comments 8

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Jill Langhus
Sep 30
Sep 30

Hi Eunice,

Welcome back!!! This is so sad:-( I'm glad that your organization is optimistic about changing these situations and stats around, though. What is your first focus and priority? Do you have a website and/or social media page(s) that we can like/follow to learn more about your organization?

Hope you're doing well and having a great day!

Sep 30
Sep 30

Hi Eunice,
I am out of words with this your amazing but sad post. "Sex for fish". If I may ask how many pieces of fish exactly? This answer will inform us the painful torture these girls go through, it's wickedness to denied a girl only a piece of fish, demanding you have sex with her :-(. Sorry but I am getting involved now.
No wonder the percentage of pregnancy within age 15-19 is 33%. What actually are the authorities doing about it? Child activist etc...

Thanks for sharing and hope you have a great day.

Hello, Eunice,

It's really sad what poverty can make women do. It's heartbreaking to know Atis got pregnant at 13 years old. Sex for fish. Oh, dear. She is worth more than that.

Thank you for doing something about cases like this. I'm glad that SOY-Worldwide is in partinership with the church, community, schools, and government. This is an important movement you are doing for teenage pregnancies. Thank you and please keep up the great work!

Jacqueline Namutaawe

Dear Eunice thank you for sharing this is eye opening infact am shocked and I realise it is the same story here in Uganda in the fishing communities around Lake Victoria-our girls are engaged in all sorts of trades to be able to survive prostitution being the most enticing trade. As for teenage pregnancies it is a story of another day. Thanks for the amazing work your organisation is doing.

Anita Shrestha
Oct 01
Oct 01

Thank you for sharing. Keep it continue

Oct 06
Oct 06

Hi Eunice,

I feel sad about this. I hope that your community will help together to address this concern.

Beth Lacey
Oct 07
Oct 07

Every girl does count!

Tumanjong Miranda
Oct 25
Oct 25

Dear Eunice,
It's a pity our young girls have to go through all that in Homa county.
Thank you for not relenting your effort to ensuring conditions are improved
I am really appreciate the Kenyan government on what the are doing with respect to ASRH.
Thanks for sharing and please do not hesitate to give us more update. Please share your social media sites so that we can follow and get to know more about your activities.
Hope you are having a great weekend!