Key words and meaning
Joboya-Fishermen; Jopeng-Motorcycle riders; Jobanda-Sugarcane cutters; Jokuoyo-Sand scoopers; Jopuonj-teachers; Jogonya-handout seekers; Jopiny-The entire populace/community
A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2018 report in Kenya shows 378,397 adolescent and teenage pregnancies for girls ages 10-19 between July 2016 and June 2018. More specifically, there were 28,932 girls ages 10-14 and 349,465 girls ages 15-19 who became pregnant. Consequently, the latest Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) documented Narok County to having the highest burden of teenage pregnancies and motherhood in Kenya at 40 per cent, followed by Homa Bay County at 33 per cent. Yes. My county is the second in Kenya on teenage pregnancies. In fact, in May 2018 as the chief officer of education in the county I was invited to talk to the girls in a certain school. All the class seven girls were pregnant! I repeat ALL! All the 15 girls in a class were pregnant! Damn it! So painful!
It’s time for ACTION! This must end!!!
Teenage pregnancies in Kenya have been linked to poverty. There is also very high unemployment rate. Homa Bay County has a 51% poverty rate (KNBS 2017) and also the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Kenya between 2013-2017 (27%, 25%, 26%, 26%, 23% NACC). Geographically, Homa Bay County has diversity; 80% of Lake Victoria Kenyan side, another region is the sugarcane belt, the northern side blessed with sand and stones. The socio-economic activities include: fishing hence joboya, sugarcane farming hence Jobanda, sand harvesting hence Jokuoyo, motorcycle riders hence Jopeng and 65% unemployment rate hence handout seekers; Jogonya. It is common belief many girls in poverty engage in “transitional” sex to meet basic needs. Also it is attributed to some people taking advantage of the innocence of the girls. In 2016, a survey by the population council in Homa Bay County showed 80 per cent of teenage pregnancies occur in primary school. Some of the cases are found to be from the teachers; jopuonj who take advantage of the naïve and vulnerable girls. Data from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) shows that in 2015, some 126 teachers were struck off the teaching roll for various vices, including sexual offences.
It’s now time for Action! Teen Pregnancies must end.
We must put a concerted effort to achieve this!
CWE-TECH; my organization, in partnership with various organizations and sectors is carrying out a campaign to reach the Jo whom some are perceived to be the main perpetrators for teenage pregnancies in the county. Already conversation with the beach management units (BMUs) is gaining fruits targeting fishermen; joboya. The motorcycle and sand associations have been involved. The education leadership is in. The county leadership and the political administration through the commissioners to the local chiefs are now vigilant to bring perpetrators to the book. The chiefs have also banned the dances carried out during funerals; disco matanga. The entire populace, the community; Jopiny are being sensitized on this! Other partners like Plan International, Red cross, NEWI among others are involved! Will the war against teenage pregnancies be won in Homa Bay County? Time shall tell….