Reflections from our OBOC Program
On 21st September 2023, the streets of Makadara in Nairobi were filled with the voices of young mothers and a marching band as they conducted a procession in the lead up to World Contraception Day on 26th September 2023. Over 100 community members came together to celebrate the occasion, which culminated in a panel discussion and presentation of a joint communique prepared by young mothers with key demands to the government concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights. Responding to the demands, the Chief Officer Health representative for Nairobi County committed to support 20 young mothers to attend technical and vocational training (TVET) courses and equally create opportunities for girls and young women at the County level in the Environment Program.
TICAH believes in amplifying community voices, and we are proud of our young mothers for exercising their agency and demanding for their rights. Read their full communique below.
We are grateful also to our partners at Mothers and Daughters Care Initiative (MADACI), Youth Empowerment Movement (YEM) Kenya) and Aunty Jane, as well as the support we have received from Fos Feminista and American Jewish World Service (AJWS).
JOINT COMMUNIQUE BY YOUNG MOTHERS FROM KAWANGWARE, MAJENGO, VIWANDANI, KOROGOCHO AND KIBRA
We, girls, and young women from Kawangware, Viwandani, Majengo, Korogocho and Kibra have gathered here in Makadara to reclaim our VOICE! today 21st September 2023 as we mark world contraception day whose theme is power to choose.
According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2022 key indicators report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals that Kenya is making progress in reducing the national prevalence of FGM, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence. Wide variations however still exist according to wealth, geographic location, and education. The household-based survey shows that teenage pregnancy rates declined to 15% in 2022, from 18% in 2014. Poverty and a lack of education were associated with higher rates of adolescent pregnancy as about 4 in 10 women aged 15-19 years who have no education have ever been pregnant, compared to only 5% of women who have more than secondary education. Adolescent pregnancies are also more likely to occur among poor communities, as 21% of women aged 15-19 in the lowest wealth quantile reported to have been pregnant, as compared to 8% in the highest wealth quantile. Teen pregnancies are a major challenge for socioeconomic development because they deprive our young girls of the opportunity to further their education and attain their career goals. It also exposes them and their children to major health risks. We acknowledge the efforts of the government to curb the triple threat that is teenage pregnancies, GBV and HIV but still there is more to be done.
We appreciate the critical opportunity provided by TICAH to convene, deliberate, and strategize towards the community we want. We, therefore, through this communique present our urgent demands on this day as we celebrate World contraception day 2023, have our key issues prioritized. We Demand:
1. Deletion of the proposed service charge/fee of 500 Ksh on family planning services in the draft County Finance Bill 2023 that will impede access to SRHR services by girls and young women.
2. Accessible and affordable Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) information and services for girls and young women in all their diversities.
3. Formulation, review, and implementation of laws and policies that safeguard and protect the dignity of girls and young women in their diversities.
4. Meaningful engagement of girls and young women in leadership and decision-making spaces at all levels of government.
5. Implementation of Sexual offence act (2006) without reservation – Fast tracking of cases, ensuring that survivors of SGBV are supported financially.
6. Provision of waiver/GOK scholarships to facilitate transition to TVET especially for teenage mothers.
We the undersigned girls and young women from Kawangware, Viwandani, Majengo, Korogocho and Kibra will no longer remain silent as decisions are made for us, about us but without us, we shall SPEAK FOR OURSELVES!!!!!! and hope that our key asks are considered and implemented.