The Standard Group Plc is a multi-media organization with investments in media platforms spanning newspaper print operations, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services. The Standard Group is recognized as a leading multi-media house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest.
  • Standard Group Plc HQ Office,
  • The Standard Group Center,Mombasa Road.
  • P.O Box 30080-00100,Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Telephone number: 0203222111, 0719012111
  • Email: [email protected]

Parents roped in to help stop teen pregnancies

 Parents at a sensitisation forum in Mwala Sub-County, Machakos County, June 18, 2024. [Rose Mukonyo, Standard]

In 2021, news broke that 3,000 underage girls in Machakos County were pregnant or had delivered during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Out of these, 96 were from the Mwala sub-county alone.

Within the same period, more cases of defilement of children under the age of 11 years were also reported, with many of the cases being handled in kangaroo courts where the culprits were never brought to book.

Some of those girls were reported to have been defiled by people well known to them, but they did not know if they ought to have reported the matter to their parents or not.

This prompted the community to come together to break the cycle of teen pregnancies and gender-based violence in the area. The initiative brought together stakeholders such as the church, civil societies, non-governmental organisations, the police, political leaders and the media.

Speaking during a parents’ sensitisation forum organised by Kenya Connect, a non-governmental organisation in the area, Deborah Musili, a mother of two boys, said many parents do not know how to begin the sex education topic with their children or how to have a meaningful conversation in their homes.

“You find that, often, a child may have an issue bothering them and because we never created the atmosphere to talk about their issues freely, they will shy away. Also, how we respond to them when they come to us will determine if they will ever attempt to discuss with us again,” she says.

She says she has learned to bring her children close by developing a relationship with them from an early age to open up avenues that they can discuss about their lives.

Nicholas Mutuku, a father of two, also believes that a parent is the first teacher and should not let their children learn about sexual matters from elsewhere as they may get misleading information.

“I always try to educate my children on morality, although it is not easy because I have a boy and a girl of different ages. I have come to realise that it is my responsibility as a parent to tell my daughter and my son what is right and what is wrong,” Mr Mutuku says.

Joyce Musyoki, a grandmother, advises parents to plan fun activities with their children. This, she says, allows a parent to spend time with their children and get closer to them. 

“That will be the first step to making them relax when with you. Also, always provide answers even to young children from as early as three years when their minds are curious and want to explore. This means they will trust the information you give them and do not shy away from explaining how their bodies function,” Ms Musyoki says. 

Pastor Benjamin Musyoki of AIC Wamunyu says that parents need to be candid with their children about their sexuality and that those discussions should be at home, in the church and in school.

“In church, we have youth programmes such as camps where we invite specialists to talk to both boys and girls on morality and health education.”

Research shows that talking with your children about sex does not encourage them to become sexually active. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention resource Talking with your teens about sex: Going beyond ‘the talk’, adolescents who talk with parents about these topics begin to have sexual intercourse at later ages, use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex, have better communication with romantic partners, have sex less often than other adolescents, and have a lower risk of teen pregnancy.

The students learn about peer pressure, consent, body boundaries and accurate sexual health information, and according to Faith Doucette, the head of the boy-girl empowerment program at Kenya Connect, parents come in to bridge the gap in communication in the parent-child relationships.

“Three years down the line we have recorded zero teen pregnancies in our partner schools which tells us that the information that the students and the parents are learning is helping to mitigate the issues that the girls were facing.”

Further, Sharon Ranch, the Executive Director at Kenya Connect, says that the empowerment program is a way of advocacy by raising awareness in the community that unwanted touch is not fair to the girls and that everybody has to be part of the solution.

Additionally, the Wamunyu Member of County Assembly Justus Mutuku says stumping out of kangaroo courts has helped in curbing the defilement cases in the area, making a plea to law enforcement to ensure that cases brought to the courts are expedited, with stern measures taken against the perpetrators, and, also anyone found guilty of trying to negotiate with the defilement suspects.

Related Topics


Trending Now


Popular this week