The First Lady of Kenya, Mama Rachel Ruto, has called for a heightened campaign to increase awareness on the negative impact of teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS on young people.
Speaking in Kericho during the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child Celebrations, the First Lady urged stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, leaders, and communities to vigorously work at eradicating the resurgence of these vices that persist in the society despite their criminalisation.
“We must continue to work together to create a safe environment for our girls without excluding our boys,” said Mama Rachel Ruto
The First Lady also asked the 14 county assemblies represented in the celebrations to consider legislative interventions that allocate resources to combat the triple threat, thus supplementing the efforts of the national government.
With the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) being estimated to be 15% in Kenya and child marriages being 23%, the First Lady stressed that immediate action is required by all state and non-state actors.
“The resurgence of FGM despite its criminalisation, is an outdated practice that law enforcement agencies and our courts must vigorously eradicate. We cannot allow such practices to persist in our society,” she added.
The First Lady further applauded the First Spouses Association of the LREB Member Counties and their initiative to advocate for the rights of the girl child by running menstrual hygiene programs in schools, fighting the stigma of menstruation, and promoting policy sensitisation.
Other leaders present in the celebrations included Dr. Eric Mutai, Governor of Kericho County; Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Chair, Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB); and Governor Kisumu County; Dr. Paul Otuoma, Governor of Busia County; and Emily Nyaribo, Chair of the Lake Region First Spouses Association.