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January 16, 2019

Officials blame poverty as 270 primary schoolgirls get pregnant in Kilifi

Pupils and parents of Ngoloko primary school in Kilifi county / BRIAN OTIENO
Pupils and parents of Ngoloko primary school in Kilifi county / BRIAN OTIENO

About 270 primary schoolgirls are pregnant in Kilifi, gender executive Cyrilius Mwangome has said.

Mwangome on Friday blamed teen pregnancies and early marriages for the high number of girls dropping out of school.

He said the trend was negatively impacting on education standards. He said close to half of those pregnant sat KCPE exam that ended last week.

“There is a need to speak to each other to curb the rate of teenage pregnancies. We don’t want cases where pupils deliver during national exams,” Mwangome said.

He was spoke at Ngoloko Primary School when a German family visited pupils and projects they are sponsoring at the school.

Peter Hoffman, his wife and their son Philip said they were concerned about teenage pregnancies. They called for stringent measures to stop the trend.

“It is worrying that such a big number of pupils become pregnant. It is even more worrying to hear parents could be contributing to this,” Hoffman said. 

Mwangome said most of the pregnancies were because of forced marriage. He said parents and guardians were pushing the girls to get married to wealthy suitors.

“It all comes down to poverty,” Millicent Rachweya said. Rachweya, a social scientist, spoke to the Star on phone yesterday.

Rachweya said Kilifi is among the poorest counties with most residents  living below the poverty line especially in the rural areas.

“Parents therefore work hard to bring up their daughters in a way that prepares them for marriage life at an early age,” Rachweya said. 

Mwangome said parents were not concerned about their daughters’ education.

“For instance, we were to have a meeting with 650 pupils and their parents but less than 20 showed up. It shows they don’t value education,” he said.

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