Magarini has 8,000 teen pregnancies out of 17,000 cases in the entire Kilifi county
Teenage mothers in Magarini constituency now have a place to take refuge and gain technical skills through which they can generate income.
A Sh4 million resource and protection centre has been established at Marafa through a partnership between Sauti ya Wanawake Magarini and Action AID Kenya. People’s Postcode Lottery provided funds.
The model facility is the first of its kind in the subcounty. It is fully equipped to train young mothers in tailoring, hairdressing and masonry so they establish ventures and become self-reliant. Already, more than 160 young mothers are undergoing training.
Magarini has borne the brunt of teen pregnancies in the recent past. It recorded an increase of 3,000 cases under one year — 8,000 this year from 5,000 last year. The entire Kilifi county has recorded 17,000 cases.
Teenage mothers narrated their painful experiences. Some blamed their parents for refusing to fund their education, while others cited poverty. They thanked the NGO for introducing the centre. It has caretakers to look after babies as their mothers attend lessons.
On Friday, Jane Kige of Action Aid Kenya said the centre is ideal not only for teenage mothers but also for girls who drop out of school and those who finish but are unable to continue their studies. She spoke during the opening ceremony. Also present were MP Michael Kingi, Gender, Culture and Social Services executive Maureen Mwangovya and two MCAs.
"We are imparting skills to the young mothers who suffered teenage pregnancies... We did the structures and equipped it with facilities but they [the gvernment] will be in charge of the day to day running of the facility," Kige said.
"Not all will be here for one or two years. Some will be trained for three to four months before they leave."
She urged Governor Amason Kingi's administration to roll out similar projects across the county as part of the campaign to empower young mothers.
MP Kingi hailed Action Aid for coming up with the development-oriented initiative. He said teenage pregnancy has been a huge problem in the region.
Kingi expressed concern that young people are not wary of HIV-Aids. He said a percentage of the 17,000 girls who got pregnant must have been infected with the deadly virus.
"The NGOs and the county government should look for a way of preventing teenage pregnancy through sensitisation in schools. There must be special programmes to ensure awareness," the lawmaker said.
Mwangovya said the centre will go a long way in economically empowering teenage mothers. She said being pregnant is not the end of life and such a centre gives transforms them into useful people in society.
Published on the Star Newspaper: https://www.the-star.co.ke/counties/coast/2019-07-29-new-rescue-centre-in-magarini-to-empower-teenage-mothers/