Aug 4, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Covid-19 nightmare of out-of-school adolescent parents in Kenya

Twelve year old Hafeeza Daud (not her real name) was a happy girl who loved school. In January last year, she reported a normally long school year at a primary school in Kajiado County.

Having just started eighth grade, she was looking forward to going to secondary school after her final exams later in the year Year. Like many young learners, she had big dreams. She wanted to be a stewardess to fly to Hafeeza unknown. Her life was about to take an unexpected turn.

When schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hafeeza’s father decided it was time for her to get a husband. There is too much uncertainty about what would happen next and what better way to deal with it than to marry Hafeeza in exchange for cows, argued her father.

Fast forward to June this year. The school-loving girl from a few months ago is now a full-time housewife: wife of a 41-year-old man, mother of an infant and part of an amazing statistic that now only comes to light in the East African country.

In the Learning disabilities for almost a year as a result of Covid-19, early marriages and pregnancies, transactional sex, physical violence and depression are just a few of the evils that have raised their ugly heads against Kenya’s school-age children.

Deputy Chief of Staff (Politics and Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President, Ruth Kagia, says the negative consequences will be felt for decades to come.

According to a study published on Tuesday, “The Experiences of Young People in Kenya During the Covid-19 Pandemic” It was found that four percent of adolescent girls in Kenya (aged 15-19) are pregnant or have recently had a baby / p>

In Kenya, adolescents aged 10 b is 19 years old, about 24 percent of the country’s population. Based on projections from the 2019 census, the study estimated that 250,000 girls and 125,000 boys who went to school in March 2020 had not returned by February 2021, mainly due to lack of school fees – underscoring the impact of the economic crisis on their education. The second leading cause of non-enrollment in school were unwanted pregnancies among girls and the choice of job opportunities for boys.

328,000 pregnancies

The Ministry of Health records show that over 328,000 girls have been imprisoned first year of pandemic pregnant. When the schools reopened, some of the girls did not register again due to missing school fees and unwanted pregnancies and did not take any national exams.

In addition, 2-4 percent of 15 to 19-year-olds were married which is reflected in over 100,000 early marriages. Of these girls, 32 percent married after the onset of Covid-19, 44 percent married because of pregnancy, 16 percent said they would not get married if there wasn’t a pandemic, and 24 percent said it was not their decision to Adolescent pregnancies and early marriage continue to pose significant problems for Kenya’s adolescent girls as they limit their ability to graduate from school and maximize their potential. Almost every fifth girl between the ages of 15 and 19 is said to be pregnant or have already had a child – a trend that is consistent in the demographic and health surveys carried out between 1993 and 2014. In addition, an estimated 14 percent of all births in Kenya will occur to teenagers aged 15-19, with the majority (63%) being unintentional.

The pandemic and financial disability were among the reasons why why teenagers opted for an early marriage.

Of the four counties examined, Kisumu had the highest percentage of teenage girls who had transactional sex with five percent, Nairobi followed with four percent and Kilifi had one percent. < / p>

Almost three out of ten girls (29th) percent) said they got married after the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Incidentally, in Wajir County a majority of married girls ( 87 percent) that marriage is their choice. This was confirmed by nearly 74 percent of the girls in the overall study.

In Wajir, one in five (21 percent) married girls said this happened after the Covid-19 outbreak, and 13 percent said it was not your choice. A further few (seven percent) said it was their parents ‘choice, particularly in Wajir, where one in five reported parents’ influence. Another group (three percent) said they got married because their families needed the money.

The study commissioned by the Presidential Policy and Strategy Unit in June 2020 and its data Surveyed immediately after schools closed in March 2020 and when they reopened in February 2021 found that an even higher number – 16 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys – did not return to school when they opened in January 2021. Girls and boys in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kilifi, and Wajir were interviewed in the study.

Increased violence

The adolescents identified idleness, lack of money in households, peer pressure, exposure to violence and difficulties with Fixed access to family planning services. as some of the factors promoting sexual activity.

They reported increased household tension and incidents of emotional, physical and sexual violence in the past year. Sexual violence was experienced almost exclusively by teenage girls. Half to three quarters of those surveyed said the violence had increased compared to the pre-Covid era – due to lost income, stress from restricted mobility that forced families to spend time in confined spaces, and in some cases unwanted pregnancies .

In Kenya, there has been significant advances for youth, including gender parity in schooling, 100 percent transition from elementary to secondary school, a return to school policies that allow school-age girls to do so after Go back to school during childbirth and adopt political and legal measures against female genital mutilation, gender-based violence and child, early and forced marriages.

However, it is feared that ongoing socio-economic difficulties will be triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic , the profits made over many decades could be particularly vulnerable Wiping out juveniles and girls in marginalized societies in the country.

“The pandemic deepens pre-existing inequalities, exp weaknesses in social, educational and economic systems, which in turn amplify the effects of the pandemic,” said Ms. Kagia.