Teen mothers return to school after mentorship programme

Ms Edinah Kangwana during a guidance and counseling session. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

Kemunto was 16 years when she started dating a 30-year-old man.

She was a Second Former in a day school in Kitutu Chache South, Kisii County when she got pregnant. 

“He gave me and said he loved me. I had my doubts but still I loved him,” she says. 

When she gave birth, she left school for some months to take care of the baby.

“My parents were furious with me though they stood by me and promised to pay my school fees so I could complete my studies,” she says.

Today, Kemunto is 18 years old and will sit KCSE exams.

She spends her weekends caring for her two-year-old daughter while her mother, a daily wage worker in Mosocho market, minds the baby on weekdays.

Buy contraceptives

“I was an honest person. This is not the way I wanted my life to turn out,” Kemunto says.

“I feel sorry for my mother. I could have procured an abortion but I thank my teachers who encouraged me to soldier on.”

She says that she had no say in the relationship.

“My boyfriend always insisted on having unprotected sex and later he would give me money for contraceptives,” she says.

“There was a lot of pressure from my peers; all we could discuss during our free time was sex.”

In the same school, 18-year-old Nyamusi is seven months pregnant. 

She had a relationship with a Fourth Former in a nearby school.

“Unfortunately we are from the same clan and we don’t intermarry.

“Hopefully, I will give birth after my exams,” Nyamusi says, adding that they have been in a relationship for three years.

She says since her mother died, she has face a lot of challenges.

“I could stay at my boyfriend’s place for days without my father questioning where I was,” she says.  

“Dating was cool and I never thought I could conceive. At some point I was on contraceptives.”

The two students are now advocates for change in the community and in the school where four other girls have children.

Records at Kisii County’s department of health in indicate that 34,000 adolescents got pregnant in the last three years.

These are figures for the cases reported to medical facilities only.

Administration Executive Edinah Kangwana mentors and counsels at least 17 girls.

The 17, including Nyamusi and Kemunto, are among 46 girls under Ms Kangwana’s guidance programme. 

Kangwana grew up in Moturu-Kiareni in Kitutu Chache North sub-County where women did most of the work at home and in the farms.

The girls stayed at home as the boys were taken to school. She later realised that she lives in a patriarchal society. After university, Kangwana got a job in a bank and got empowered to address some of the societal ills.

“I was lucky to join KCB Women in Leadership Programme that aimed at bridging the gender gap especially at management level. I was trained well and got attached to a mentor,” she says.

“I developed a strong urge to give my voice and energy to addressing the gender gap and I have never stopped,” she adds.


In 2017 she joined Kisii Governor James Ongwae’s Cabinet. “I have taken an initiative to visit schools to talk to girls and boys on the need to have a purpose-filled life,” she says.

Today, Kangwana gives special attention to teen mothers and encourages them to complete their studies. 

“Growing up, I saw girls who got pregnant while in school and dropped out and got married. “They were stigmatised by the community, teachers and students,” Kangwana says, adding that the community most of the time knew the men responsible for the pregnancies.

Dr Mercy Nyamongo of Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital’s department of reproductive health admits that teenage pregnancies is major problem in Kisii and Nyamira counties

“We cannot hide our heads in the sand any longer.

“The issue of abstaining should be a priority while use of family planning methods should be encouraged,” she says.

In 2019, Ogembo sub-County Hospital registered 841 teenage pregnancy cases with most girls aged between 15 and 18.

A total of 22 girls aged between 10 and 14 also delivered at the hospital in that year.

Related Topics

Teenage Pregnancies