ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to find out teenagers’ views concerning the causes and prevention of teenage pregnancy in Nguluni located in Kenya. The aim was to get important information that can be used by partners and stakeholders who have a role in reducing teenage pregnancy. This study was qualitative through participation of 40 female students aged 13-16 from a local mixed day high school. Narrative study was used to collect data where participants wrote essays. Data was analysed by content analysis.

The results showed that causes of teenage pregnancy were peer pressure which led to bad decisions. There was lack of guidance and counselling because parents hardly took time to guide and counsel their children due to lack of time and required knowledge. Poverty in the area has caused early marriage, prostitution, dangerous relationships, substance abuse and alcoholism. Teenagers engaged in unprotected sex when they were under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol and were subjected to rape. The results also showed that senior male students and teachers took advantage of female students who are not acquitted to school environment. Taboos had led to early marriage of young girls while media exposed teenagers to explicit material such as pornography.

The results showed that prevention of teenage pregnancy was through; awareness campaigns, change of teenagers’ own behaviour and involvement of the government. Awareness campaigns should incorporate ideas from the teenagers and other members of the community during the formulation, implementation, evaluation and continuous improvements of teenage pregnancy prevention programs.

1. INTRODUCTION

The birth of a child is an event that creates joy, celebration, and astonishment . The celebration comes easily and naturally and it is not easy to resist the happiness that comes within us when we are near a new born. (Cherry, Dillon & Righ 2001, 2.) However teenage pregnancy can affect these celebrations and therefore it is important to understand teenage pregnancy experiences and children born by teenagers. (Op. cit. p. 2.) During teenage phase an individual acquires skills and attributes necessary to become a productive and reproductive adult. Nearly all cultures recognise this phase in life when society acknowledges these emerging capacities of young people. The passage from childhood to adulthood can either be direct or short passage or a prolonged teenage phase marked by identities choices and roles which determine the contents of a particular culture .(Barker 2007, 1.)

According to DiClemente, Santelli & Richard (2009, 4), teenagers experience physical, psychological, socio-cultural, and cognitive development. Growth and maturation of body systems such as the reproductive organs and brain lays the foundation for other body development. Cognitive abilities mature due to the changes in brain in the early stages. Combination of new cognitive abilities with life experiences result to social judgement which includes risk and safety. Teenagers’ relationships with the world are also transformed where social lifestyles, peer pressure, adults work life, and social responsibilities become more important while the family circles are temporarily less important. Teenagers have to learn how to relate to the social world, develop social skills that attract friends, romance, employment and social responsibilities within many social spheres. The teenagers have to acquire a stable sense of identity and develop autonomy or agency. Search for identity is usually after many trial and errors in their social roles and social behaviours. However, many fail to become healthy adults and productive citizens due to the challenges encountered. They become victims of social and behavioural morbidities and mortality hence failing to achieve full potential as workers, parents and individuals. Some become short time victims while others extend into adulthood. The failures of teenagers development is as a result of preventable health risk behaviours .(Op. cit. p 4.)

The purpose of this study was to find out teenagers’ views concerning the causes and prevention of teenage pregnancy in Nguluni. The aim was to get important information that can be used by partners and stakeholders who have a role in reducing teenage pregnancy. Nguluni which is located off some 60 km from Nairobi along Nairobi-Kangundo road. According to National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCAPDa 2005, 10) Nguluni is part of Kangundo district in Machakos County. Bright Hope International describes Nguluni as a poor drought stricken area surrounded by grasslands and rampant HIV/AIDS. Schools in the area are substandard and most of the people move to the cities in search of better life. According to Akamba Cultural Trust(ACT), the area is inhabited by the Kamba community which is the fourth largest ethnic community in Kenya found mostly in counties of Kitui, Machakos, Makueni and Mwingi in the lower part of the Eastern Province in Kenya.