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SOCIETAL CHALLENGE

Too many teen mums will put a strain on economy

But who is to blame?

In Summary
  • This is an issue that involves three parties: The parents, government and society. All three have a role in nurturing children.
  • Parents, faced with harsh economic realities, have abandoned their core mandate of parenting and spend most of the time struggling to put food on the table.
A pregnant teenager
A pregnant teenager

As of April, around 380,000 teenagers (15-19 years) had given birth or were pregnant. This is an average of one in every five teenage girls.

But who is to blame?

This is an issue that involves three parties: The parents, government and society. All three have a role in nurturing children.

Parents, faced with harsh economic realities, have abandoned their core mandate of parenting and spend most of the time struggling to put food on the table.

Children spend most of their time in school. Now that they are home, household expenses have shot up, straining their parents’ pocket.

It won’t be fair to criticise the government at a time it is overburdened with Covid-19 and flooding, which has claimed more than 237 lives and destroyed property, not forgetting the desert locust menace.

As parents and government struggle with these myriad challenges, predators now have an opportunity to unleash their claws on naive young girls, majority of whom have not reached the age of consent.

The increasing use of the internet and social media has led to a rise in societal ills. Earlier this month, 21 teenagers in Nakuru were found in a photoshoot that was allegedly procuring pornographic content.

Speaking in Kitale, the region’s county commissioner expressed concern over the increasing rate of defilement and cautioned the perpetrators that the law would take its course.

All this is happening at a time the music industry, which apart from entertainment is meant to educate, has been flooded with dirty content from the new kid on the block—‘Gengetone kids’.

There is need for a clarion call. So many teenage mothers going into adulthood with little economic prospects will put a strain on the economy.

Law student and political pundit