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Education Act says schoolgirls must have sanitary pads

Education Act says schoolgirls must have sanitary pads

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Daniel Otieno, Naya Kenya

published by the Star Newspaper, 5th October 2017

image courtesy: 3.bp.blogspost.com

One out of every 10 girls misses school during their periods, UNICEF data shows .This may extend to 15 days of absenteeism in a term. Challenges associated with sanitary pads include cost, fear caused by cultural myths and limited education on menstruation.

Some learning institutions lack proper places to dispose of the pads as well as private places for the girls to change. This results in low self -esteem and frequent absenteeism .There are also cases of teenage pregnancy, HIV-Aids and unsafe abortion, which are still high. This adversely affects the girl’s education.

The Education Act has already been amended to ensure girls in school have access to sanitary pads. Political will, availability of resources and proper coordination are necessary to ensure accessibility in both public and private learning institutions.

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Kenya Must Address Unmet Need for Family Planning

Kenya Must Address Unmet Need for Family Planning

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Michael Okun Oliech NAYA Youth Advocate, Kisumu

The Daily Nation, 28th September 2017

image courtesy: www.tinzwei.com

As Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Contraception Day on September 26th, a lot of women in the country are still faced with an unmet need for family planning .Women with unmet need are broadly defined as those who want to postpone their next birth for two years or more, or not have any more children, but they are not using contraception.

According to the latest national survey (Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014), about one in four married women of reproductive age reported having an unmet need for family planning at the time of the survey , which translates into approximately 1.4 million women. Half of these women to space their next birth and the other half did not want to have any more children.

Women who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception, account for a large majority of unplanned pregnancies .In Kenya, 43 per cent of pregnancies are planned. Unmet need for family planning is highest among adolescents (15 to 19-year-olds) and 20 to 29-year –olds at about 30 per cent , compared to 22 per cent of 30 to 34- year-olds .The level of unmet need continues to be higher in rural in rural areas(27 per cent) than in urban areas( 20 per cent).

According to the Ministry of Health, the top four reasons why women who say that they want to avoid pregnancy are not using family planning are;

  1. Fear of side effects and health concerns.
  2. Opposition to use, either by the husband or partner or owing to perceived religious prohibition.
  3. Having sex infrequently ; many wrongly believe that if they only have sex occasionally , they are not at risk, and therefore don’t need to use family planning
  4. Women cited postpartum reasons for not using, although many women are not sure how long they are safe from getting pregnant after giving birth.

While lack of contraceptive supplies and logistics problems in getting the contraceptives to the user continue to be a challenge in some counties, only a small proportion of women (six per cent) stated that lack of access (distance or costs) was the reason for not using them.

With the unacceptably high level of unmet need of family planning in Kenya, reducing it is paramount in the fight against the high level of induced abortions, maternal and neo-natal morbidity .Family planning is critical for the health of women and their families.

Promotion of family planning and ensuring access to preferring contraceptive methods for women and couples is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women. Allowing women to choose whether, when, and how many children to have achieves progress on global health goals .It also helps break the cycle of poverty and puts families, communities and countries on a stronger, more prosperous and sustainable path.  

 

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Parents Should Talk About Sex with Teens

Parents Should Talk About Sex with Teens

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Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Michael Oliech, Naya Kenya, Youth Advocate, Kisumu County

The Standard, October 2nd 2017

Many parents and teachers usually think that discussing sex with teenagers is a taboo and embarrassing, and has largely contributed to the rising cases of teenage pregnancy by encouraging promiscuity. We need to realize that talking openly about sex is not the same as encouraging promiscuity .It is about making teenagers aware of what is happening to their bodies, respectful ways in which they can treat their bodies, and how to act responsibly during sexual encounters.

According to the Center for the Study of Adolescents (CSA), there is no evidence to suggest comprehensive sexuality education increases sexual activity among young people .Kenya’s population is largely young. Persons aged 19 years and below account for almost half of the country’s population .First sexual encounter in Kenya stands at 15 years .Some 20 per cent of women aged 15 to 19 years have already had at least one birth.

Comprehensive sexuality education is essential for helping young people prepare for healthy and fulfilling lives. High quality information and education can equip young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make informed choices to enhance their independence and self-esteem, and to help them to experience their sexuality and relationships in a positive and pleasurable way.

The problem of teenage pregnancy and HIV infections among young people in Kenya can only be resolved when all stakeholders , especially teachers and parents , agree to teach young people the dos and don’ts of sex.

I call upon parents and teachers to support comprehensive sexuality education in and out of school .Denying young people their right to information is denying them their hopes and aspirations .All young people have a right to know how to keep themselves safe from abuse, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. When young people get the right information about their sexuality, they will make the tight choices.

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Kenya must address unmet need for family planning

Kenya must address unmet need for family planning

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Published by Daily nation on 09/28/2017.

Courtesy: https://www.voanews.com

Michael Okun Oliech, (Youth Advocate-Kisumu)

As Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Contraception Day on September 26, a lot of women in the country are still faced with an unmet need for family planning.

Women with unmet need are broadly defined as those who want to postpone their next birth for two years or more, or not have any more children, but they are not using contraception

According to the latest national survey (Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014), about one in four married women of reproductive age reported having an unmet need for family planning at the time of the survey, which translates into approximately 1.4 million women. Half of these women wanted to space their next birth and the other half did not want to have any more children.

Women who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception, account for a large majority of unplanned pregnancies. In Kenya, 43 per cent of pregnancies are unplanned.

FAMILY PLANNING

Unmet need for family planning is highest among adolescents (15 to 19-year-olds) and 20 to 29-year-olds at about 30 per cent, compared to 22 per cent of 30 to 34-year-olds. The level of unmet need continues to be higher in rural areas (27 per cent) than in urban areas (20 per cent).

According to the Ministry of Health, the top four reasons why women who say that they want to avoid a pregnancy are not using family planning are:

1. Fear of side effects and health concerns.

2. Opposition to use, either by the husband or partner or owing to perceived religious prohibition.

3.Having sex infrequently; many wrongly believe that if they only have sex occasionally, they are not at risk, and therefore don’t need to use family planning.

4.Women cited postpartum reasons for not using, although many women are not sure how long they are safe from getting pregnant after giving birth.

LOGISTIC PROBLEMS

While lack of contraceptive supplies and logistic problems in getting the contraceptives to the user continue to be a challenge in some counties, only a small proportion of women   (six per cent) stated that lack of access (distance or costs) was the reason for not using them.

With the unacceptably high level of unmet need for family planning in Kenya, reducing it is paramount in the fight against the high levels of induced abortions, maternal and neo-natal morbidity.

Family planning is critical for the health of women and  their families.

Promotion of family planning and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women.

Allowing women to choose whether, when, and how many children to have achieves progress on global health goals. It also helps break the cycle of poverty, and puts families, communities, and countries on a stronger, more prosperous and sustainable path.


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Step Up for Sexual Health

Step Up for Sexual Health

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Step Up for Sexual Health

Step Up for Sexual Health


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Trump Policy on Transgender Uninformed, Reckless and Unwarranted

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Category : Naya Blog

By Robert Aseda, (Varaq)

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump, the US president, in his usual style, made a very important public policy declaration on social media: the banning of transgender soldiers from American Army arguing that their inclusion somehow makes the US Army unfocused and disrupted from their main agenda. He further argued that they are expensive to maintain due to the astronomical medical costs involved; Claims that are not only factually untrue and not based on any scintilla of evidence, but are misguided, inflammatory and likely to cause severe physical, emotional and psychological anguish not just to the US Transgender soldiers but to the lesbian, gay, transgender and queer community throughout the globe.

America may be so far away, but this declaration will have ramifications the world over. Like the Biblical city on the hill, which opens its light for all to to see, America definitely plays a huge role in defining global policy on a number of issues. 

Of course it defeats logic for one of the most powerful people on earth to insinuate that somehow who you are or who you love could make you incompetent or render your services and sacrifices unwanted and unappreciated.

Worrying still scrolling through the comments on social media, a huge percentage still felt this action necessary and timely, despite the exclusionist and segregationist agenda that it seeks to spread.

Whereas very unfortunate and grossly misinformed, this ill advised declaration has opened a very important discussion not just on the specific rights of trans soldiers but on the not so discussed and often misunderstood issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gender and sexual minorities including the LGBT community have continued to face untold misery, discrimination and violence due to how they identify or who they love. In his first report to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, narrated how throughout the world, this community still face major human rights violations including denial 0f access to crucial services including healthcare, justice, education, security among others.

“Even though human rights are inherent to everyone and propel protection for all persons without exception, regrettably persons with an actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity diverging from particular societal norms are at times targeted for violence and discrimination including killings, rape, mutilation, arbitrary detention, mental health assault and bullying from a young age, ” a section of the report reads.

It’s very important to remind ourselves, that there’s more to a person than who they love or how they identify themselves. But more fundamentally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the founding human rights law, reminds us that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The deprivation of a right hinders fulfillment and enjoyment of other human rights.

We may not agree on a number of issues, but we definitely agree that exclusion, discrimination and violence has no place in the 21st century. Not just because it is against international and national instruments, but also because it has no benefit whatsoever, other than entrenching further inequalities.

In many countries throughout the world including Kenya, despite constitutional provisions to non discrimination, the penal code still propagates discrimination and violation of human rights to dignity, association, the right to recognition everywhere as a person among several others. During the last Universal Periodic Review Cycle, Kenya committed to developing a comprehensive anti-discriminatory law. It’s time to walk the talk.

If we are to realize the Kenya and the world we want; if we are to realize Vision 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals; then we can’t afford to leave anyone behind, for any reason, the least being sexual orientation and gender identity.

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CULTURE: TAKING HOSTAGE OF GIRL’S BODY

Category : Naya

Photo Courtesy: 123RF.com

By Esther Kimani (@KelsieKim )

CULTURE in Africa and many parts of the world allows girls to be married off as young as 10 years or before they are 15 years, CULTURE allows old men to rape girls in the name of “she is my wife”, CULTURE does not allow for girls who are married to access contraceptives and health care services, CULTURE allows for girls to be sex slaves in the name of Beading of girls, CULTURE silences girls to take control over their sexuality, their bodies, CULTURE denies them their rights to bodily integrity, to sexual and reproductive rights, CULTURE has taken hostage of girls bodies.

 

Five years ago, I visited a town called Oloitoktok in Kenya and met 5 girls brides; some had been rescued and were back in school but Susan was still a bride.

I asked her; why are you still living with him and community leaders are willing to help? I haven’t forgotten her response.

“My CULTURE (Maasai) does not allow, it owns me, My husband owns me, My parents own me too, I do not have a say, I hate this CULTURE but I am its PRISONER” 

She continued by saying; I am 14 years old, I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter and my full names are “Susan Kaimenyi” She narrates;

Three years ago when I was only 11 years my parents made sure that I got circumcised, even when I refused my mother said that “this is our CULTURE, I went through it all girls in this community did and you must do it”.

I felt helpless at that time I did not know much about family because I was just a child, I wanted to play with my friends I was still in school I was just a girl. A year after I went through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) my mother sat me down again and told me that; “my daughter you are a woman now, women in our CULTURE start their homes and family after going through FGM and it is very important to your father to me and the entire clan”

Mmmmhh I wondered what is this CULTURE that allows girls as young as me to get married to an old man. Because I did not know what to do, I was so young my father had already taken all the cattle’s paid as dowry so I was forced to go.

The first few months into this so called marriage, I cried and cried and cried, sex was painful; this man forced himself on me the first night and every other night; he beat me up and threatened to kill me if I say anything to anyone. Every time he would force himself on me he would say “according to our CULTURE a wife must give in all the time to satisfy her husband” I thought about killing myself all the time but I could not because I was pregnant and according to the CULTURE: a wife needs to reproduce.

I got my first-born 10 months after I was forcefully married off. My son is about 14 months now; I have been forced to grow up to take care of him. I delivered at home with the help of Traditional Birth Attendant and was later taken to hospital. The nurse who looked at me with pity and sympathy, she took good care of me. Before we left the hospital when she was talking to me about family planning, my mother butt in and said “or CULTURE does not allow women to use family planning you must give birth until your body stops” So I did not and now I am two months pregnant again.

I know I am not the only one I cannot wait for the day my body will be freed from CULTURAL captivity, girls need to be protected from being a prisoner of CULTURE.

This is a story of just one child bride however; Worldwide, about 1 in 3 women were married before age 18, with the highest rates of child marriage in South Asia. Asia is closely followed by West and Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa, where 41 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married in childhood. This is unacceptable, we need to join forces and end forms of violence against girls in the name of CULTURE.

As we celebrate the Day of the African Child today with theme “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030″, We need to ask ourselves these questions; When will our girls be safe? Who will protect them from this scourge of violence? Who is responsible? Who will rescue girl’s bodies from CULTURAL captivity? WHO?

We are all responsible to ensure girls rights are protected, Women, Men, Religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Governments, the UN system, private institutions and all International agencies. We all need to commit to end violence against girls, we need to commit to change these retrogressive cultures that violates girls, we need to make sure that; girls have access to contraceptives, information on their sexual and reproductive health and rights and access to comprehensive sexuality education that will prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce deaths resulting from unsafe abortions.

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The author is a Young Feminist Who Believes in Women  Rights. She is also a FEMNET member.

She currently works with the Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH ). You can follow their work at ticahealth.org and on Twitter @TICAH_KE.

 

 


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Non-Communicable Diseases Impoverishing Families

Non-Communicable Diseases Impoverishing Families

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Category : Naya Blog

Daniel Otieno

Youth Advocate, Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa, Naya Kenya.

Much is spent on treating non-communicable diseases and more disturbing is that the spending may be in a life time as some non-communicable illnesses are not curable. There are fears that by 2020 non-communicable diseases may double communicable diseases in developing countries. Kenya is recording progress by availing drugs for the treatment of breast cancer in Kenyatta National Hospital and also setting referral hospitals as well as equipping them with treating equipment.

 

A major challenge, however, is the limited financial allocations to the health sector, Limited prioritization of prevention of non-communicable diseases and inadequate implementation of policies relating to elimination of non-communicable diseases. A good example is the national school health policy that targets the elimination of non-communicable diseases among school going children. Non-communicable diseases impact negatively on the economy of households. Eliminating non-communicable diseases begins with setting a health financial strategy. This will ensure adequate money is allocated for treatment and setting screening equipment in public health facilities.

 

This will make treatment affordable. Prioritization of non-communicable diseases should also take equity in resource allocation. Persons in marginalized areas should be able to access affordable treatment, services, and information on non-communicable diseases.  Policies that will promote screening on NCDs at the community level will also increase the number of people seeking treatment. This will promote the preventive aspect of non-communicable diseases. Policies implementation also includes making effective the national school health policy which will enable reduction of non-communicable diseases among children. Finally public and private partnership will subsidize the cost of treating non-communicable diseases. In allocating resources for treating non-communicable diseases, let us strike a balance in prevention and curative aspects of non-communicable diseases.

 

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Equal Distribution Of Health Resources Will Enable Reduction Of Noncommunicable Diseases Within Counties

Equal Distribution Of Health Resources Will Enable Reduction Of Noncommunicable Diseases Within Counties

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Category : Naya Blog

By Daniel Otieno.

Network For Adolescents And Youth Of Africa, Naya Kenya

Photo Courtesy: internewskenya.org.

The promulgation of Kenya constitution in 2010 made health a devolved function. Through this devolution, each county was to manage its own health system with resources from the national government. However, Kenya counties still lack adequately trained health workers and drug supplies needed to manage the provision of health services including prevention of non-communicable diseases. The Abuja declaration requires each country to allocate 15% of its national budget to the health sector.

 

However, Kenya’s allocation to health is still below the target. A limited number of health workers, a few screening equipment, cost of treatment, unequal distribution of resources among counties and limited drug supply are responsible for increased cases of non-communicable diseases. Marginalized areas bear the greatest burden of non-communicable diseases due to poverty, distance to health facility, adherence to drugs and lack of efficient health services. In addition, there has also been limited implementation of national school health policy that is to address noncommunicable diseases among learners.

 

According to world health organization, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases are the major non-communicable diseases that negatively impact on individual health. Poverty at county level not only increases the prevalence of non-communicable diseases due to poor nutrition or unhealthy eating habits but also poor health seeking behavior’s that are characterized by a delay in screening. Reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases at the county level will contribute to reduction at the national level. In order to achieve this, we must first identify needs of the counties in relation to prevention of non-communicable diseases, for instance, the capacity of medical personnel, availability of drugs and screening equipment. Secondly, we must ensure the limited resources are prioritized to provide the minimal standard of services required.

Immediate allocation of 15% of national budget to health may not possible but we can have a starting point and make it progressive. Progressive reduction of noncommunicable diseases at the county level will then lead to a reduction in the national prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

 

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accounting_intern_wanted

Accounting Intern Wanted

Category : Naya Blog

NAYA-Kenya, a reputable regional SRHR advocacy network is looking for an Accounting Intern to assist the Finance Department with the following duties:

  • Filing documents
  • Ensure all finance and admin related documents are properly filed
  • Maintain a proper filing system
  • Reconciles bank statements
  • On a monthly basis, check and post all bank charges
  • Prepare bank reconciliation statements for all bank accounts
  • Ensure reconciliations are checked, approved and properly filed with the related bank statements
  • Maintaining the fixed assets register
  • Continuously update and maintain the fixed assets register
  • Ensure all assets are properly insured and the insurance list is properly updated.
  • Follow up for insurance claims
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Any privileged information must remain confidential
  • Sharing information and printing of financial and admin records to other staff members or third parties must be subject to express and individual approval.
  • Any other duties as may be assigned.

Requirement

  • Must be at least a holder of CPA Part 1.
  • Any other qualification relating to Finance will be an added advantage.

How to apply

Applicants must submit their cover letter and CV to info@nayakenya.org by no later than the 5th June 2017.

If you do not hear from us within 4 weeks from the closing date, kindly consider your application unsuccessful and any further correspondence will be entered with only shortlisted candidates.

NB: The accounting intern will be based at NAYA’s Nairobi office.