We Need to Talk About It: Sexuality Talk Among Youth in Siaya County, Kenya

Presenter: Bevalyn Kedogo, World Vision Kenya

Background: Early pregnancy is a major problem in Alego Usonga sub-county, Siaya County, Kenya. A project baseline survey in 2014, found that the mean age of sexual debut for girls was 15.3, and the average age for a first birth was 16.5 years and according to the 2014 Kenya Aids Response Report, HIV prevalence is 17.8%. Ministries of Health (MOH) and Education (MoEd) and World Vision (WV) partnered to mitigate early pregnancy and HIV prevalence among adolescents in 60 primary schools.

Methodology: Sixty-eight Peer Educators were trained using the MoEd Life Skills curriculum with a focus on reproductive health and timing of pregnancy. They use a “black book” for reporting and is stamped by school head teacher after sessions. Four peer educators visit a school at least twice in a quarter. On average 70 girls and boys per school receive information on the dangers of intergenerational and/or transactional sex, the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and importance of completing school. Parental sessions solicit view of parents.

Results: Due to emphasis placed on completing education, all 60 primary schools have committed to keep pregnant adolescents in school and these will be monitored by community groups. This support has encouraged girls to make different reproductive health choices such as opt for abstinence and to seek contraceptive information from recommended community and health facility points. MoH, MoEd, Peer educators and the project have linked up with the Child Protection Department and the police to arrest child predators.

Conclusions: Scaling up of the activity will inform young people about their sexual health, how to protect themselves from predators, delay sexual debut, and boy’s responsibility on sexual behavior will be strengthened. Parents as partners will delay early marriage- all to help reduce rising rates of teenage pregnancies, STIs and boost retention in schools.