Approximately ONE THIRD of girls (ages 15-19) have begun having children in rural southwest Kenya.
Cultural myths, inaccurate peer- to- peer teaching and general misinformation contribute to this high rate of adolescent pregnancy. In addition, a lack of resources for pregnant youth and society’s taboos magnify the issue- dividing families and leading to abandoned education, life threatening pregnancy termination, hopelessness, and even suicide.
Over 30% of girls in Kenya marry before the age of 18 either due to an unintended pregnancy or cultural norms. Both perpetuate a cycle of under education and poverty.
Approximately 200,000 women and girls are treated for complications from unsafe abortions in Kenyan public hospitals every year. 1 in 6 of those is aged 10-19.
Loss of Life
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death of girls in Kenya ages 15-19. The adverse effects also extend to the health of their children. Newborns born to adolescent mothers have a 50% higher mortality rate and are more likely to have low birth weights and long-term effects.