Embracing multifaceted solutions for SRHR among adolescents and youth in Kenya

Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) has been a critical issue that needs to be addressed in the strongest way possible. It is important to acknowledge that every individual has sexual rights and they need to be respected just as any other fundamental human right. An individual has the right to decide on whether to have sex, who to have sex with, whether to use contraceptives among other choices. It is a great disgrace that sexual rights are always violated with minimal action taken, and this has majorly affected the female gender. In numerous interviews it is often evident that some women get involved in unhealthy sexual activities in order to afford some basic needs including food and sanitary towels to manage their monthly periods.   

As a society we wish for young people to practice healthy sexual conduct and behaviors. To achieve this, the government needs to get involved through introduction of age appropriate SRHR as a topic of study in the syllabus for all learning institutions. The government should also help by sponsoring youth organizations to advocate for healthy sexual practices. When the government keeps in touch with the public on the retrogressive practices then we may end up realizing a sexually healthy society. It will automatically lead to fewer to no cases of new HIV/AIDS infections, STIs and fewer cases of unsafe abortions and teenage pregnancies. In the scope of educating the public, keen interest should be taken to address the use of contraceptive such as condoms, emergency pills among other options and to encourage the youth to abstain.

With a keen interest on the youth and the school setup we realize that girls are faced with more challenges when having their periods. The challenges include lack of adequate information on menstrual hygiene, lack of knowledge before the onset of the first period, inadequate materials to manage the menstruation and pain associated with it as well as inadequate water supply. Accordingly, there is need to educate the ladies on how to manage their menstrual hygiene and provide sanitary towels to those who cannot afford them. In a mixed institution there is need to enlighten the boys on menstrual hygiene so as to avoid shaming the ladies who may soil their clothes in class during their periods.

When we get to practice the above guidelines, we hope to have a sexually healthy society which will be a great success for the nation.

Article written by Alex Owino, Youth Advocate and Project Assistant, Ryculture Health and Social Innovation

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