Murang’a County Government has set in motion measures to establish a back-to-school program to enable teenage mothers to go back to school.
Speaking during the State of the County address Governor Dr Irungu Kangata noted that the back-to-school program will be rolled out once the County Assembly passes the supplementary budget.
“Even as we sensitize the public on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and aim at reducing the statistics, as a County we are committed to ensuring re-entry of the teen mothers to schools as education is the only way that will enable them to secure their future,” he said.
The country has a high teenage pregnancy burden and the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022 key indicators show that the main drivers of teenage pregnancy include lack of education, poverty, early sexual initiation, harmful cultural practices, and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services.
Further, data from Kenya Health Information Systems indicate that a total of 110,821 pregnancies were recorded among adolescents aged between the ages of 10 to 19 years in the first five months of 2023
In Murang’a County, seven percent of girls aged 15 to 19 years have often been pregnant according to a data fact sheet from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022.
The Governor’s commitment comes on the backdrop of other key players and non-governmental organizations who are championing teenage mothers’ re-entry into schools in the county.
The Forum for Africa Women Educationalists, Kenya (FAWE-K) is implementing such a program in 20 counties including Murang’a County whose teenage pregnancy burden stood at seven percent in 2022.
FAWE ‘Imarisha Msichana’ program aims at reducing teenage pregnancies and ensuring re-entry of the girls to school as well as supporting women and girls to acquire education for development.
“Our maternal support program continues to incentivize women to attend clinics as this will go a long way in ending maternal deaths and birth complications and so far the county has registered over 7000 mothers in the program,” confirmed Dr Kangata.”
At the same time nominated Member of the County Assembly Njeri Mwaniki while lauding the initiative noted that sponsoring teen mothers to access education is a noble idea whose effects will have long-lasting social and developmental outcomes for the county at large.
Meanwhile, the county will also adopt a recommendation by the Committee of Trade, Industrialization, Cooperatives, Tourism and Wildlife whose report dated August, 2023 seeks to introduce a Gikuyu music festival.
“Once the supplementary budget sails through the Gikuyu music festival will be held on December 24 and consequently become an annual event in the county cultural calendar,” Governor Kangata said.
The festival will among other things celebrate Murang’a’s departed music heroes like Queen Jane and Demathew and will be the largest Gikuyu music festival ever held,” he added.
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