Amb. Amina Mohammed and the Ministry of Education: Ensure full implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Kenya
Let’s tell Amb. Amina Mohammed to ensure the full provision and full implementation CSE through the national school curriculum and ensure young girls and women access services that are responsive to their sociocultural and livelihood contexts within which they face teen pregnancy to enable them to make also decisions about their situations.
In Kenya, teen pregnancy continues to rise and are not falling rapidly enough. This represents a significant challenge to young people especially girls rights to education and sustainable development. Teen pregnancy aggravates development issues for Kenya as it’s a major barrier to achieving progress in sexual and reproductive health in the country.
Statistics from UNFPA indicate that between June 2016 and July 2017, 378,397 adolescent girls in Kenya aged 10-19 got pregnant. Just last week we watched in shock the alarming news of over 14000 teenage girls sitting their national exams while heavily pregnant or immediately after delivery. 13624 pregnancies were recorded among girls aged 10-19 years in Kilifi County alone. This is simply unacceptable, we are letting our young people down. Unexpected pregnancy changes the trajectory of a girl’s life and leaves a girl with long-lasting physical, socioeconomic and psychological ramifications. Despite the commendable return-to-school policy, which allows pregnant girls to stay in or go back to school after delivery, more must be done to stem the flow of teenage girls into the family way. Living in denial and burying our heads in the sand will not cut it.
These high rates of unplanned pregnancies can be reduced by equipping our children with age-appropriate and need appropriate Sexual and Reproductive Health information. Our adolescent girls, young sisters and daughters, need information to be able to make safe, healthy and informed sexual choices. Evidence from UNESCO shows that comprehensive sexuality education programmes, including 29 in developing countries, found a number of positive outcomes:delayed initiation of sexual intercourse, decreased number of sexual partners, increased use of condoms for those who were already sexual and decreased sexual risk-taking.
Adolescent sexuality is a reality that makes many governments, civil society organizations, religious institutions, parents and society very uncomfortable. But unless we understand the complexities, and agree to dialogue on the issue, we will fail to make progress in filling gaps in our knowledge, especially for 10 to 14-year-olds and unmarried girls and boys, and in addressing these challenges.
Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Education goes well beyond biological reproduction and ensure that young people are equipped with a solid foundation for life and love. Although widely discussed, providing this platform does not increase sexual activity, but rather empowers young persons to take charge of their own lives with healthier and happier outcomes. As we continue to stall the process of developing and implementing this important aspect of our children’s development, our children continue making uninformed and unhealthy sexual choices.
The governments must partner civil society organizations, religious institutions and parents to fully implement Sexual Reproductive Health education in schools. If and only if this happens can we collectively succeed and achieve Vision 2030 and reap from the demographic dividend.
In 2013, the Kenyan government signed ESA commitment in which it committed to scaling up comprehensive rights-based sexuality education. Despite the inclusion of CSE in the revised National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy (2015), there have been no or little efforts at all by MOE to deliver its mandate as expected. We as civil society organizations believe in CSE and we call on CS Amb. Amina Mohammed to ensure the full provision and full implementation CSE through the national school curriculum and ensure young girls and women access services that are responsive to their sociocultural and livelihood contexts within which they face teen pregnancy to enable them to make also decisions about their situations.
We are confident that through CSE, the number of teenage pregnancies in Kenya will reduce significantly.