AFIDEP and Youth in Action (Y-ACT) – an initiative of Amref Health Africa, are collaborating in a youth-led campaign to end teen pregnancies in Kenya. Dubbed, “StepUP the Fight on Teenage Pregnancy: An accelerated multi-sectoral action and disruption in addressing the adolescent pregnancy crisis in Kenya,” the campaign aims to propose ambitious interventions that can contribute to ending the increasing rates of teen pregnancies in the country.

In the lead up to the StepUP the Fight on Teen Pregnancy campaign launch, AFIDEP and Y-ACT are holding a 2-day write-shop that will bring together 100 youth from across the country to brainstorm and develop one key objective and an output for a one-year campaign action plan. The write-shop is scheduled for 24th to 25th June 2019 in Nairobi.

Discussions at the write-shop will be organised under five key pillars related to adolescent health and policy. Content will be developed through interactive co-creation sessions, led by the youth.

There has been an alarming rise in the rate of teenage pregnancy in Kenya despite numerous efforts to address the crisis. This poses a great risk to the future of the Kenyan adolescent girl; the impact of pregnancy at an early age is devastating with emotional, physical and financial implications for the girl, family, community and even country. The StepUP campaign is an ambitious and bold initiative to drastically reduce teen pregnancies. The campaign involves a multi-section of stakeholders including the government, development partners, political leaders, celebrities, social influencers, religious leaders, media practitioners, service providers, private sector and civil society organisations. It hinges on disruption as a concept that challenges the norm, questions agency and encourages learning and scaling up of interventions.

Dr Bernard Onyango, a Knowledge Translation Scientist at AFIDEP, notes that the StepUp campaign comes at a time when AFIDEP, together with the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, is implementing the Full Access Full Choice project in Kenya. A key component of the project is to generate evidence on the youth’s access to expand family planning method choice and to inform policy shifts and programmatic action to expand method choice for youth. This objective, therefore, resonates with the StepUp campaign, as expanding method choice for youth is one avenue through which teenage pregnancies can be curbed.

The StepUP campaign aims to achieve its goal by embracing the strengths and best practices of several organisations and partners. Partners working with Amref Health Africa through the Youth In Action (Y-ACT) initiative include: AFIDEP (through the Full Access Full Choice programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Population Service International (Kenya), Marie Stopes Kenya, Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, Africa Population Health Research Center, National Council for Population Development, Center for the Study of Adolescence , Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa, Siasa Place, Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association, Better For Kenya, Punguza, Afrika and SGD-Forum Kenya.

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