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Passionately Speaking and Advocating for Kenyan Youths Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by VICTOR RASUGU, Kenya Sep 7, 2007
Health , Human Rights   Short Stories
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Passionately Speaking and Advocating for Kenyan Youths Kenyans in the age bracket of 30 years and below constitute about 75% of the country's population, forming the largest source of human resource. However, they have remained on the periphery of the country's affairs and their status has not been accorded due recognition. They have been excluded from designing, planning and implementing programmes and policies that affect them. Many of the youth who are productive and energetic remain unemployed, continue to suffer from poor health, and lack sufficient support. Some of them have special needs that require attention. These include those living on the streets, those living with HIV/AIDS, the girls and those with disabilities. The responsibility of ensuring that the aspirations and hopes of the youth are met cannot be left in the hands of a single stakeholder. Everyone in the community, both young and old, must play their role.
Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa comes in the face of a myriad of challenges facing the youth in Kenya. Although the number of organisations dealing with young people has increased over the years, the lack of a coordinated joint network for youth peer educators and by youth peer educators makes it difficult for these groups to effectively address these challenges.
It is important as youth advocates and peer educators to reach out to four classes of youths in our society i.e. those who do not anticipate having sex in the next year (delayers), those who anticipate having sex (anticipators), those who have had sex with one partner (singles), and those who have had two or more sexual partners (multiples) in order to walk the road to economic development towards the realization of the government's vision for 2030 and Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Adolescents in Kenya-What the statistics say at a glance.
Currently over 25% of the world’s population is made up of young people between the ages of 10-24. 86% live in developing countries. According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS 2003) data, 36% of the Kenyan population consists of young people aged 10-24, while those between the ages of 10-19 make up 25%. As in other parts of the developing world, Kenyan children face serious challenges, which severely affect their growth and development. The transition to adulthood is fraught with many dangers for young people. Economic decline, unemployment, increasing poverty and marginalization, HIV/AIDS and lack of access to basic social services are some of the factors contributing to increased destitution and suffering among young people.

55% of Kenya’s population is less than 19 years of age, with one third of the entire population being between 13 and 19 years old.

7 out of 10 women and 8 out of 10 men have had sex before age of 20, with a median age at first sexual intercourse of 17 years.

30.9% of men and 14.4% aged 15 to 24 have had sex before 15 years.

47% of young men and 25% of young women aged 15 to 24 used a condom the last time they had sex with a casual partner.

General Fertility rate (GFR) for those aged 15-19 is 114/1000 and 243/1000 for those in the 20-24 age group.

About 3 out of 10 children aged 15-19 are currently working.

29% of the children work in order to support their families, 13% to cover school fees and 10% to buy food.

1 in 10 adolescents aged 15-19 years report having experienced sexual violence.

1 in 5 girls are coerced or forced into their first sexual encounter.

Almost 5 out of 10 adolescents begin child bearing before the age of 20.

Almost half of adolescents (46%) without an education have began child bearing, compared with only 10% of those with some secondary or post-secondary education.

1 out of 10 children in primary school and 2 out of 5 children attending secondary schools in Kenya have consumed alcohol.

4 out of 10 women who die of unsafe abortion complications are below the age of 20. Adolescents are more likely to experience pregnancy related complications.

3 out of 10 women in Kenya have been circumcised, marking a 10% decline from 1998.

1 in 4 women ages 20-24, and 1 in 5 women ages 15-19 have been circumcised.

1 out of 10 children in Kenya are orphaned.

Of the 1.7 million orphans in Kenya, 650,000 are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS .

47% of men aged 15 to 24 currently have identify ways to prevent HIV and women 34% in the same age bracket in the last 12 months of the interview.

Progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS at a glance.
Over the past years, Kenya has seen a significant decline in HIV prevalence rate. High prevalence rate had fallen to 7% in 2003 from a peak of 10% in adults in mid 1990’s. More recent sentinel surveillance data indicates that adult prevalence has fallen even further to 5.1% as at the end 2006 (Kenya HIV and AIDS Data booklet, 2006). The decline is not uniform however, and in some areas prevalence remains as high as 13%. Gender disparities are particular concern. HIV prevalence in women aged 15-24 is 4.4%, while for men aged 15-49 is 0.8%.

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Victor Rasugu is a reproductive health activist committed to entrenchment of accessible and affordable sexual reproductive health services at all levels.
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