Getting Disruptive: Step Up Campaign Write-shop on Reducing Teenage Pregnancies in Kenya

Getting Disruptive: Step Up Campaign Write-shop on Reducing Teenage Pregnancies in Kenya

30 June 2019, KENYA- Y-ACT, Youth in Action- a youth-led network of youth in Kenya led in hosting a multi-sectoral write shop dubbed “Step Up the Fight to End Teenage Pregnancies in Kenya” on 24-25th June 2019 to design a national campaign that was focused on accelerated action by various stakeholders on the teenage pregnancy crisis in the country. Co-created and led by youth organizations around the country, including marginalized youth and key populations, the campaign design focus was on co-creating an action plan that would hinge on disruption as a concept, challenge the norm, question agency and encourage learning and scale-up of interventions that have worked.

To be truly disruptive, the write-shop engaged a total of 120 bipartisan actors including county political leaders, celebrities, social influencers, religious leaders, media practitioners, service providers, private sector and civil society organizations to challenge current interventions, learn from those that are working and develop joint action plans that would inform the next steps for the campaign. The report summarizes the outcomes of the two-day campaign write shop. The campaign action-plan was informed by 5 key distinctive, thematic pillars identified as ‘Press Play Repeat: Access and Service Delivery’; ‘Breaking the Bars: Policy & Legal Interventions’; ‘Political Action & Traction’; and ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’.

Overall, the two-day meeting called for a BOLD One issue, One Ask Campaign Strategy to be implemented in two phases:

Phase one: will involve bold calls to action over a period of one year that will lead to commitments made by high-level decision makers

Phase two: will focus on implementation of commitments with a firm focus on ensuring accountability structures are put in place. The implementation phase will focus on multicomponent, community-led program approaches at the national and county levels.

“In Kenya, 378,397 adolescent girls aged 10 and 19 years became pregnant between July 2016 and June 2017. The 2018 national examinations went down in the country’s history, as 200 teenagers sat for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Examination (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) while pregnant. A large number of KCPE candidates in 2018 were forced to write their exams in hospitals after going into labor during exams2. The situation was declared a national crisis by the then Education Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed together with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Noordin Haji ordered investigations into the high cases of teenage pregnancies in

Kenya. This led to the constitution of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on teenage pregnancies to lead these investigations.

Y-ACT, Youth in Action (Y-ACT) – an initiative of Amref Health Africa, are collaborating in a youth-led campaign to end teen pregnancies in Kenya. Dubbed, “StepUP the Fight on Teenage Pregnancy: An accelerated multi-sectoral action and disruption in addressing the adolescent pregnancy crisis in Kenya,” the campaign aims to propose ambitious interventions that can contribute to ending the increasing rates of teen pregnancies in the country.

In the lead up to the StepUP the Fight on Teen Pregnancy campaign launch, AFIDEP and Y-ACT are holding a 2-day write-shop that will bring together 100 youth from across the country to brainstorm and develop one key objective and an output for a one-year campaign action plan. The write-shop is scheduled for 24th to 25th June 2019 in Nairobi.

Discussions at the write-shop will be organised under five key pillars related to adolescent health and policy. Content will be developed through interactive co-creation sessions, led by the youth.

There has been an alarming rise in the rate of teenage pregnancy in Kenya despite numerous efforts to address the crisis. This poses a great risk to the future of the Kenyan adolescent girl; the impact of pregnancy at an early age is devastating with emotional, physical and financial implications for the girl, family, community and even country. The StepUP campaign is an ambitious and bold initiative to drastically reduce teen pregnancies. The campaign involves a multi-section of stakeholders including the government, development partners, political leaders, celebrities, social influencers, religious leaders, media practitioners, service providers, private sector and civil society organisations. It hinges on disruption as a concept that challenges the norm, questions agency and encourages learning and scaling up of interventions.