If it takes a village to raise a young girl into womanhood, then a village is a good place to grow up. A teenager like Beryl has aunties, cousins and other close-knit family to seek wisdom from and ask questions about her body, relationships, sex. She feels safe and known—though everybody is up in her business, which comes with its own concerns.
But in the slums, that tight-knit community is gone. A girl has no place to ask questions and feel confident she is getting accurate information. The older women she sees often struggle to make ends meet and may rely on more than one sex partner for help. She might not routinely attend school. She may not feel safe. She wants information about sex and turns to a friend who tells her there’s no way to get pregnant the first time you have sex—but someone else tells her the opposite. Others assure her she can always seek an abortion.
Jhpiego’s adolescent and reproductive health expert Jane Otai has a frank conversation with teenage girls like Kenyan Beryl Obel about their experiences seeking reproductive health education in rural settings, and the stark differences in urban arenas. What are the pervasive myths and odd misconceptions that young people share? What made them feel ashamed? What made them feel empowered? And, crucially—how can the global health community better serve them, whether they live in an intimate village or a sprawling slum?
Beryl is a member of G-Amini, a public/private partnership putting youth at the center of family planning in Kenya, a country where nearly 1 in 5 girls are pregnant before they turn 20. Together with Jane, she’ll dish on things you might not know about family planning from a young person’s point of view.
Jane Otai, Adolescent Health Advisor, Jhpiego
Jane Otai, a former Aspen New Voices fellow, brings decades of experience in adolescent health and family planning.
Beryl Obel, Kenyan Youth Leader
Beryl Obel is a young Kenyan woman in our G-Amini program, a public/private partnership putting youth at the center of family planning in Kenya, a country where nearly 1 in 5 girls are pregnant before they turn 20.