At least 600 young mothers in Magarini Constituency, Kilifi County, received dignity packs on Tuesday.
The donations by Action Aid’s Education for Life program are meant to cushion them for the next six months.
Speaking during the official launch of the program in Garashi area, assistant County Commissioner Abdulrahman Hemed, said the high number of teenage mothers is attributed to low enrolment of girls in school, adding that parents are to blame for neglecting their roles.
“It is unfortunate that our community has still not embraced girl child education. We have side-lined the girls and this is exposing them to sexual and gender-based violence, early marriages and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/Aids,” he said.
A baseline survey by Action Aid revealed that 30 per cent of girls aged between 10 and 19 have never gone to school, most of whom are young mothers.
The cultural belief that attaches more value on boys’ education than girls’ has contributed to 70 per cent drop outs and early pregnancies.
Poverty in the region has also exposed girls to child labour, where many as young as nine years old are employed as house-helps.
‘Leave No Girl Behind’ Kilifi County project officer Jonathan Kogo said the young mothers are back home after closure of the 22 catch-up centres due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some of the girls stay with their parents while others have been married off due to the closure of safe shelters,” said Kogo.
The ‘Education for Life’ program aims at recruiting 1,068 young mothers and 100 boys for vocational training.
Those who benefitted from the dignity packs, which included sanitary towels, panties, toothbrush, tooth paste, body oil and washing bar soap were from Garashi, Dagamra and Bungale locations.