Community Focus Group International

 Success Stories
By Pamela Ateka - Project leader

Teenage pregnancy has been rising despite of the initiation of programs to help stop the occurrence. What seems to have gone wrong is the lack of importance given to the social and emotional effects of teenage pregnancy. Being a teenage mum can bring along social repercussions that extend into adulthood. A large percentage of teen moms drop out of primary or high school in Kenya. Dropping out of school to handle pregnancy or care for a newborn can prevent a teenage mum from learning the skills necessary for adulthood and obtaining a job. Without proper education, she will struggle even more to rise above an increased risk of poverty. Caring for a new baby requires a sacrifice of sleep, expenses, and time. For a teen mum who was previously engaged in social activities, it might be a shocking change to suddenly be unable to participate in many extracurricular activities. The amount of isolation that she feels can be harder, especially from family members. Only a few of teenage mum have the opportunity to have emotional or financial assistance from their parents or relatives. In addition, some teen mums find themselves overwhelmed by their new lifestyle and will have to work to make new friends they have more in common with.
Adolescents do not usually have a plan of getting pregnant when they engage in sexual behavior. It is their inability to make a note of the consequences of unplanned indulgence in sex that puts them at risk. It is after the teenager has realized that she is pregnant that she discovers the possible downsides to it at a tender age. The fact that most teenage girls are unaware of the process that pregnancy is, they end up not taking care of themselves and indulging in bad habits such as smoking and drinking to lay the depressed phase off. Below are stories of teenage mums (Sharon, Joan and Diana) whose lives have been transformed after 100 Girls Initiative.
Sharon, Joan and Diana are teenage mothers who are between the ages of 15 and 18. They all come from vulnerable families and they are partial orphans. Being teenage mums they all had a share of challenges and difficulties in their lives. As they narrated their stories Joan had worked in illicit brew den with her widowed mum to support their family, Diana joined her mum at a tender age farming land for people and sometimes not being compensated for the hard work done or sometimes paid 1 dollar which is indeed exploitation. Sharon moved from one relative to another and worked as a domestic worker without being paid and faced a lot of abuse.
The 100 Girls Initiative was an eye opener to the girls as most of them had no ideas of how much potential they exuded. The training was designed for 6 months of which they were to learn skills on hair dressing as business venture. They had no prior training or experience in this field of hairdressing and beauty and only one of them had a talent in braiding but had no professional training on hair dressing. At the orientation sessions at the Elegance Salon in Homabay County the young women had very low self esteem and lacked confidence and self-awareness. There was need to enhance their self esteem and confidence within themselves by encouraging group discussions to share their experiences and challenges as teen mothers.
Success stories after the training: Sharon, Joan and Diana were taken through an internship for two months and after finishing the internship. Sharon went back to settle with her mother comfortably and found employment at one of her mother’s friend salon in their neighborhood and also she has began plaiting corn rows at home and supplying to nearby salon and clients. Diana gained employment at a nearby salon and she is paid in commission per client and sometimes she offers assistance to the salon where she did her internship if there are more clients to earn extra money. Joan has been fully absorbed at the Elegance salon after the training and internship as a permanent employee. To minimize the negative social impact, communication with a solid support system is essential for a teenage mum. If a teenager is experiencing the challenges of parenting, as a society is our responsibility to make sure she has access to a counselor and she has an economic support. In addition our communities should offer programs to enable teenage mums connect with each other, develop their skills and promote economic sustainability. It is also important for schools to have programs that allow teenage mums an opportunity to complete their education if they wish to and avoid discrimination.


GlobaGiving 2023 Visit. Met with Sarah, discussed ways on how to strengthen our partnership going forward.