“THE TALK”: TEENAGE PREGNANCIES IN NAIROBI SLUMS.Canje
Slums in sheng’ or street slang language are called GHETTOS. In slums, most of the time, life is not always or ever to their advantage. It is argued that slum dwellers simply survive; They don’t live. Sauti Ya Mtaa – “Voice from the Streets” amplifies slum residents’ voices to the public.
Research by the African Population and Health Research Centre in 2012 shows young people living in urban slums are at significant risk of early-unplanned pregnancies. For instance, that, in Nairobi’s urban slums, 116 girls out of every 1000 girls between 15 and 19 had given birth. Half of these births were unplanned.
Common slums in Nairobi are Kibera, Mathare, Dandora, Kawangware, Kangemi, Huruma, Kayole and Korogocho.
I live near Kawangware slums from where I make forays to catch up with few friends while doing community work here and there. Joy Furaha (not her real name) has been living there for the past twenty-three years, having been born there.
Born in a family of 5 and being the first born she acts as the head of the family. It hasn’t been an easy journey for them since her folks separated. When she was 14 years old she could go out to work as a laborer so that she could get few coins.
Everybody’s life has these moments, where one thing leads to another, some are big and obvious and some are small and seemingly insignificant. Joy Furaha got into a relationship with a young man from her hood. She became pregnant at the age of 14 thinking by getting pregnant that would strengthen the relationship. When she told him about the pregnancy he got agitated blurting, he wasn’t ready to be a father neither was she.
Her mother was in rage besides being ashamed and felt like Joy’s pregnancy was a burden to the family. Joy could not afford essentials that come with new borns and there she was left to her own designs.
Let’s join hands in impacting young people in slums with knowledge on teenage sex and develop a community-based approach utilizing school sex-education involving youth, parents, church and community groups.
Blog written by Jane Kiragu, an attachee at NCPD and a student at Riara University