Teen pregnancies blamed for poor results in exams in Narok - Daily Nation
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Teen pregnancies blamed for poor results in exams in Narok

Thursday June 14 2018

A pregnant woman.

A pregnant woman. Some 233 adolescent girls in Narok County aged between 10 and 19 years became pregnant in the last six months. PHOTO | FILE 

By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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Some 233 school girls from eight secondary and primary schools in Narok County aged between 10 and 19 years have been impregnated in the last 6 months and forced to discontinue with their learning.

The shocking revelations emerged as leaders expressed dissatisfaction in results posted by the county in  national examinations.

For instance only 459 students (7.71 per cent) out of the 6,479 students who sat for  Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2017 qualified to go to University.

An analysis of the 2017 KCSE exam results by the County Quality Assurance Officer Moses Moseti indicated that no student attained an A grade, with 5,012 which represents 77.8 percent scoring grade D+ and below with girls most affected due to the retrogressive cultural practices and teenage pregnancies.

REPORT

According to a report by Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya, Transmara West Sub-County is leading with 157 pregnancies followed by Narok East with 30 pregnancies cases reported to the police and respective authorities.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation at his office, Mr Natembeya further revealed that Narok South had 18 cases, Narok North and South having 15, with Transmara East with 13 cases reported.

The county boss said early pregnancies have become a burden to the country but through joint efforts with security officers, 54 people linked to the cases have been arrested and are facing charges in court.

Those arrested per Sub-county are 17 (Transmara West), 7 (East), 15 (North), 12 (West), 4 (South) and 3 (Transmara East).

"Most of the girls dropped out of school after being impregnated. It compromises education attainment and the ability to secure decent economic opportunities. We must come together as stakeholders to end this vice," said Mr Natembeya who has become a face behind the crusade against early teenage pregnancies in the county.

Mr Natembeya is in record for banning of night prayers in the County solely to protect girls whom he said are lured into sex during such events.

The teenage pregnancies have been blamed on lack of parental control and guidance and high poverty levels in the region.

“I gave an order earlier that banned night prayers. I still maintain that it is illegal for those students unaccompanied by their church pastors or their parents to hold prayers in any designated area,” said the county commissioner.

Like in Narok East local youths with the allure of the Standard Gauge Railway SGR cash have turned to be “sponsors’ of the girls in Schools in the region which they use to cage the girls.

Narok East Sub-County commissioner Daniel Nyakundi said out of the 17 girls from the region who got pregnant 5 of them were impregnated by youth working at the SGR phase 2A of the project between Suswa and Duka Moja trading centers.

 “Most girls are lured into sex by these men who provide them with their basic needs like sanitary pads, oils and soap. These girls are forced to look for support from other people as an alternative way to survive,” said added.

So far 32 girls of Suswa Girls and 7 of Eor-Ekule high schools have dropped out of school last term after they were impregnated.

He noted that most young girls between the age of 10 and 14 have been impregnated by boda boda riders, adding that there was an urgent need to create awareness among perpetrators and the society.

Narok North Sub-county Children officer Pilot Khaemba regretted the trend and said due to the high number of teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted diseases had increased and, subsequently, a marked increase in maternal mortality among girls aged between 10 and 19.

Mr Khaemba said other contributory factors to the pregnancies are poverty, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, drug and substance abuse.

“I urged school heads to give the correct health information to teenagers, especially on drug abuse, abstinence, HIV/Aids, gender-based violence and marginalisation, among others,” he said.

He spoke last week when 5 primary School Girls from Olokuseroi Primary School in Nkarretta ward, Narok North Sub County fell pregnant and were presented to his office by the head teacher and the parents.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Counties with the highest burden of teenage pregnancies include Narok, in which 40 per cent of its teenagers became pregnant between July 2016 and June last year.

Maasai University Students Association and county governor first lady Sarah Tunai have joined the government efforts to stop more pregnancies and called on teachers and parents charged with the responsibility of bringing up children in an upright manner, and urged them to engage more on the issue.

The debate has attracted attention of the the Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of interior and National Coordination, Patrick Ole Ntutu who have put all chiefs and their assistants on notice over rising cases of teenage pregnancy in the region.

Narok is leading among counties with the highest burden of teenage pregnancies followed by Homa Bay at 33 per cent, West Pokot 29 per cent, Tana River 28 per cent, Nyamira 28 per cent, Samburu 26 per cent, while Migori and Kwale both stand at 24 per cent.