Talking about sexuality
'The social values and norms in the village where I grew up were very strict.'
Amlakale Muchia, 16 years old, is a grade 7 student in Wondata primary school. He explains how the Yes I Do programme is informing him on his sexual and reproductive health and rights.
‘Young people weren’t free to talk about sexuality. It was even considered a taboo to talk about menstruation, sexual intercourse, about contraceptive methods etc.
Most of us were afraid of being judged by others and didn’t want anyone to point to us saying ‘look at them: they have the wrong priorities for their age! Their parents may think they are studying well, but instead they are talking about sexuality.’
At first Amlakale found it difficult to have discussions with his parents. The turning point came when his parents attended the exhibition he made as part of the Meharebe club, an in-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme.
“My friends and I have presented what we were talking about in the Meharebe club. I could tell from the expression on their face how impressed they were. Puberty, body change, friendship, sexual intercourse, risks of unsafe sex etc are issues they undoubtedly want us to be aware of. However, they find it difficult to talk about it to us. I felt that what holding them back were the strict norms.’
Lonesi’s Tale of Teenage Pregnancy
Lonesi Juma (18) is the last born in a family of 5 and she is a favorite girl in the family.
In 2015, she attends kachere Day Secondary School when things change as she becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, Jacobo (17). At that time she is only 15 years old. Lonesi was reluctant to tell her parents about her pregnancy, fearing the anger of her father.
‘It took me 7 days to find the courage to confront my mother about the Issue. I was so scared at the time, but Jacobo kept insisting that I shouldn’t worry. He promised to marry me and .take care of me and the baby since he was from a well to do family.’
Her mother told her father of the pregnancy. Both the parents were infuriated with news. For them it was clear that Lonesi should marry her boyfriend, even though both Lonesi and her boyfriend were young schoolkids.
‘My parents sent me away from their house. They wanted me to go and stay with Jacobo. Fortunately my uncle intervened. He advised my parents against the decision, citing the dangers of child marriage, and institute another punishment.’
Instead of being sent off to marry her boyfriend, Lonesi was forced to live with her grandmother, ultimately dropping out of school in the process.
In Kenya, both girls and boys get trained in school to fight and prevent sexual and gender based violence. The training is facilitaed by our Keyan Yes I Do partner Umajaa.
BBC made an item on Kenyan schoolchildren being trained by Umajaa to say no against sexual violence.
Also check the news item Dutch National Youth News ('Jeugdjournaal') made on it. It starts at min 12:26.
300 child marriages annulled
In Malawi half of the girls are married before the age of 18. Malawian senior Chief Mrs. Kachindamoto featured prominently in the media as she annulled over 300 child marriages. The traditional leader applied a law which forbids marriage before girls are 18 and sent the girls back to school.