TARGETING THE ‘JO’ ON HOMA BAY TEENAGE PREGNANCIES

Eunice Owino
Posted November 24, 2019 from Kenya
Eunice addressing people of Rusinga Island in Homa Bay County
The issue of teen pregnancies

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….

 

Comments 9

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Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Nov 24, 2019
Nov 24, 2019

Hello, Eunice,

We can very much relate to the problem of teenage pregnancies in our country, too. Thank you for speaking up about this issue, and for doing something about it. It's great to know that you have partnered with international non-government organizations to solves the issues you presented.

On your question will the war against teenage pregnancies be won in Homa Bay County? I believe with you and your network, you will be able create a snowball impact. Thank you for sharing!

Lisbeth
Nov 24, 2019
Nov 24, 2019

Hello Eunice,
It's very alarming! The rate at which teen pregnancies is going especially in Africa is so scary.
Indeed action needs to be taken. I am glad you have also notices it and others as well.
Thanks for sharing. Keep us updated.
Kind regards

Anita Shrestha
Nov 24, 2019
Nov 24, 2019

Hi
Thank you for sharing

Jill Langhus
Nov 25, 2019
Nov 25, 2019

Hi Eunice,

Thanks for sharing your informative post about teen pregnancies in your area and country. This is very sad, and the stats are staggering, I have to say. I was thinking, damn if I was one of those teen girls I would like myself in a room or wear a chastity belt for real. I don't mean to make light of it, but for real. Something needs to be done. I'm so glad that you and your organization are carrying out campaigns. Are there other NGOs or governmental organizations tackling this prevalent challenge, I hope? Collectively more could be done at a quicker rate. Are there any WP sisters that you could collaborate with on this issue? I'm looking forward to seeing what progress you will make:-)

Ekitah
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 27, 2019

Hi Eunice!
Thanks for the sensitization on teenage pregnancy. Its a laudable initiative. Teenage pregnancy is increasing especially in sub saharan african. Its a great thing you raise your voice on it. Thanks for sharing.

otahelp
Dec 08, 2019
Dec 08, 2019

my dear Eunice the issue of teenage pregnancy is the same in all low income countries especially those of us in Nigeria.
thank you once again for taking action and partnering with other organisations. please keep us updated.

Asaad Ali
Dec 12, 2019
Dec 12, 2019

Thank you for sharing sister

Jap Mouki Christelle Alexandra
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Hello Eunice . Thanks so much for sharing all these statistics. Thanks for patterning with those you know will bring a change. Let's help our girls

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Hi Eunice,
Thank you so much for sharing this information. Have a lovely day..