Changemaker: Deborah Chebet
According to the National coordinating agency for population and development (NCAPD) Kenya 46% of Kenya’s population lives below the poverty line. Of this 70% are young people below 35 years .Of this percentage 65% are below 25 years. However the disturbing fact is that 80% of this population is rural and even more disturbing that of this percentage 64% are girls aged 14 to 25. Lokichoggio Turkana is an arid region faced with perennial droughts, as thus many families cannot afford a daily meal. Fathers opt to marry their daughters at an early age (13 to 16 some as early as 11) not only as a way of easing the financial burden but also as a source of income to the family. Many of these girls often lack basic education and hence even in their married life have no knowledge of family planning methods. As a result by the age of 19 most have 4 to 5 children. With little or no education these young mothers have no access to formal employment opportunities, they resort to subsistence farming which yields very low returns in an arid and drought prone region. They are thus left to depend on their pastoralist husbands for their daily needs, leaving them with no bargaining power and vulnerable to domestic violence. For the few girls attending school the challenges are immense. There is only one school in Lokiding region which is roughly 5 km away from the three villages. There are not enough textbooks for everyone (1 among 5) and the puberty aged girls end up missing three months of school each year due to menstruation UhaiBinti (Girl Alive) was founded in November 2011 during the Global youth summit 2011 with the sole purpose of looking for a comprehensive approach to addressing these issues.