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Early Marriage, HIV And GBV: Top 3 Biggest Challenges Affecting Youths

Early Marriage, HIV And GBV: Top 3 Biggest Challenges Affecting Youths.

According to National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Director General Dr. Mohammed Sheikh, the top three biggest challenges facing the country’s youth today are early marriages, HIV, and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Speaking at a Garissa hotel during a one-day workshop that brought together various stakeholders to discuss population and development issues, Dr. Sheikh said the three that have been dubbed the “triple threat” should be addressed head on in order to protect “our next generation.”

According to Dr. Sheikh, the national and county governments, as well as the relevant stakeholders, must work together to provide opportunities for the youth through proper planning and prioritization of programs that will empower the youth.

He stated that the challenges differ from one county to the next, noting that teenage pregnancy and FGM are prevalent in the North Eastern region, with alarming statistics, necessitating the need for stakeholders to take appropriate action to halt the situation.

FGM is practiced at a rate of more than 98 percent in the North Eastern region, according to statistics. Other vices that persist in the region include gender-based violence and child marriages.

Northern Kenya has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, with obstructed labor due to FGM being the leading cause.

He stated that there was a need to educate members of the public, particularly rural residents, about harmful practices and health risks, as well as the penalties associated with them.

“We all need to create awareness on the laws that exist especially to the rural folks that if you are found engaging in this harmful practice then there are laws that will deal with you.

Unfortunately a big number are still not well informed about these laws,” Dr. Sheikh said.

He said it is essential that this information be disseminated to the general public and the people of Garissa so that they can comprehend it.

“Vigorous campaigns and awareness creation need to be carried out,” he added.

Chiefs, village elders, and the Nyumba Kumi, according to Garissa Deputy County Commissioner Solomon Chesut, have a significant role to play in not only ending the vices but also disseminating accurate information to the public.

 “We are law enforcement officers and the law is very clear when it comes to practicing some of these harmful cultural practices that have been prohibited under our laws,” Chesut said.

He added that any administration officer found abetting them will have only himself or herself to blame, as serious administrative measures will be taken against them.

According to Fatuma Dekhow Maalim of Women Education and Health for Development, wananchi have a significant role to play in ending these regressive and harmful practices that have only harmed the community.

“There is no single person who is placed to end these harmful practices, it is a collective responsibility that involves the sheikhs, elders, the civil society, the youth, and our mothers. Everybody should be involved,” she said.


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The international conference on population and development (ICPD) was also discussed at the workshop.

Kenya made 17 commitments at the 2019 conference, including issues such as ending teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, and gender-based violence.

Early Marriage, HIV And GBV: Top 3 Biggest Challenges Affecting Youths

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