EYE-OPENER ON ADOLESCENTS FROM THE KISUMU 2022 RACE DEBATE
Adolescence is the phase of life marked by the transition from childhood to adulthood. According to KNBS 2019 national census, 24% of the national population comprises adolescents (10- 19 years). Adolescence is a very delicate stage that involves body changes that adolescents may not understand. Apart from the body changes, adolescents also face challenges such as misinformation and lack of information on SRHR, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, sexual gender-based violence, lack of proper support systems, mental health issues, lack of safe spaces, exposure to wayward cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), and drug abuse.
“I will create centers to rescue and educate masses and handle individuals on a personal level,” said Grace Akumu, a women representative aspirant giving out her plan in addressing the issue of sexual minorities’ inclusion, especially among young people. The environment and support systems also play a key role in adolescents’ well-being. Creating these safe spaces and rescue centers will encourage young people to come out and air their challenges so that they can get the help they need. This can be done by counseling and providing both psychosocial and physical support.
There is a need to engage members of society and stakeholders so that adolescents get the best and safe environment for them to realize their full potential. Political aspirants, religious, and cultural leaders need to understand the challenges of the adolescents, and their needs and openly obligate to address them. The political leaders at all levels need to include the needs of adolescents in their manifestos and use their political power to address them as well as formulate, amend and implement the policies affecting young people. When all these are done we will realize a better future for our adolescents.
By Purity Karimi Kirema