On August 12, the Githurai Youth Empowerment Centre in Githurai, Nairobi County, Kenya celebrated International Youth Day and hosted a panel to discuss vital issues affecting youth in Kenya, namely teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment, and access to family planning measures. Photographer Brian Otieno interviewed participants about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them personally, how access to information on family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has been impacted, and what they hope for the future.
Watch this space to meet the youths facilitating change in Githurai!
“What has changed during the pandemic is access to sexual and reproductive health services, which has reduced. Every time we refer people to the health centres, most are not attended to. Health care providers can only assist some of the youths who visit the facilities.
Another challenge is that the number of teenage pregnancies has risen. When we talk to the teenagers, you find that many of them are full of stress. COVID-19 has brought us an economic burden. I used to have a small business making beadworks that used to cover my bills but now many people prefer to put food on the table instead of buying the beads and necklaces I used to make.
What worries me the most is that the pandemic is here to stay and I don’t know the way forward. I worry about my tomorrow. If the pandemic will last for long, I think my future will be highly interfered with because the way I used to put food on the table has changed and I will struggle to meet my financial needs.”
Lucy Arunga is a member of the Link Empowerment Initiative in Githurai, Nairobi, Kenya.