Home News School Re-entry for Teenage Mothers: Offering a 2nd Chance to Dignity

School Re-entry for Teenage Mothers: Offering a 2nd Chance to Dignity

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By AGGREY NZOMO

One of the objectives of the broader agenda of reproductive and adolescent health in Africa is to ensure that adolescents lead dignified lives within their communities. In Kenya and Africa at large, access to education is considered as one of the highways to socio-economic success. Adolescents, and indeed all members of the community, believe that people who have attained good grades in school take up all good jobs and earn a lot of respect and recognition from the community.

Education, therefore, has not only become the tool to eradicate poverty in Kenyan homes but also the pathway to recognition and respect. And each adolescent desires to get good education. It is through this understanding that UNESCO UNESCO prides itself on the global movement dubbed Education for All that advances access to education as a basic universal human right.

In accessing education as a basic universal human right, some groups of people within the community have either been sidelined or disadvantaged based on their gender, disability, age, economic backgrounds among other factors. Adolescent girls form a one of these groups that have been disadvantaged in the quest for access to education. The various issues within the adolescent health dialogues and activities have hence sought to address how adolescents access education and other human rights.

The theme of adolescent youth sexual reproductive health (AYSRH), therefore, is a key indicator on whether nations are moving in the right direction in ensuring that adolescents lead dignified lives within their communities. In addition, practitioners in adolescent health always thrive to provide a relevant body of knowledge that will help governments and other stakeholders in formulating policies and programs aimed at delivering for the youth with a view to bettering their lives.

In Kenyan, adolescents are those youths living within the conversion age mostly below 20 years of age and being prepared for adulthood. This is largely borrowed from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which is a human rights treaty signed in 1986 and globally adhered to. It is naturally expected that during this conversion age, adolescent boys and girls will attend school and acquire skills and later become professionals in various fields when they become adults.

While adolescent girls are allowed to have equal treatment with their male counterparts in Kenya, they face serious challenges. Among other documented challenges, pregnancy remains the major barrier to their academic pursuit and reproductive health. Throughout their school life, adolescent girls are preyed upon by school boys, their teachers and all manner of male predators. Eventually, a big number of these girls become pregnant, drop out of school.

They are sentenced to a life full of low self-esteem in the innermost circles of poverty dominated by a majority of uneducated single African mothers.

Aggrey Nzomo has been the secretary for AYSRH technical working group for the last 6 years.

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