Kenya’s president ordered an investigation earlier this month into rising reports of teen pregnancy and gender-based violence. Lockdowns intended to stop COVID-19 reportedly led to isolation and abuse.
Calls to helplines rose more than tenfold since officials imposed restrictions in late March, Reuters reports. Plus, there’s an economic factor. “Open-air markets are not open, where they (Kenyans) typically would go and sell their livestock to get money,” Joy Mueller of Kenya Hope explains.
“By marrying off their girls, the bride price provides [the] funds they need to survive right now.”
To end this exploitation and abuse, Kenya Hope is waging war against contributing factors. Prevention is a critical part of ministry efforts.
Prevention through protection
Typically, education provides Kenyan girls and young women with three layers of protection. Empowerment is the first layer; students gain the tools and skills they need to rise above poverty through education. Then, instructors come alongside as a support network.
“With schools being closed, they (girls) have lost their advocates, which were the female teachers and headmistresses,” Mueller explains.
“Schools in Kenya will not be opening until January, [which] puts a lot of pressure on our communities and the young girls to stay safe, and keep them safe during this extended time off.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for Kenya Hope staff and pastors as they confront these issues.
- Pray for strength as believers bring physical aid and Christ’s hope to desperate situations.
- Ask the Lord to protect vulnerable girls and young women.
- Pray for sufficient funding so Kenya Hope can continue this vital program.