In the heart of Kenya, locals have formed a women’s soccer team to tackle the problem of teenage pregnancy.
An astonishing 152,000 Kenyan teenage girls have been reported to become pregnant in a three-month period in lockdown. That was a 40 percent increase in the country’s monthly average.
High teenage pregnancy is not uncommon in Kenya. According to the Demography and Health Survey, almost two in ten girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are pregnant or already have a child.
When teenage pregnancies skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown in Kibera, local teachers and parents tried to combat this problem by starting a football club to help steer teenage energies in a positive direction.
Kibera is located in Nairobi. It is one of the largest slums in Africa. Most of the slum dwellers in Kibera live in extreme poverty and earn less than $ 1 (£ 0.72) a day.
The East African city consists of around one million people who live in a settlement roughly the size of New York’s Central Park.
One team that has been deployed to fight problems such as teenage pregnancy are the Undugu Queens. They practice daily and play every weekend. Parents say the demanding schedule helps keep their daughters safe and healthy.
The team’s hard work pays off. The women’s club is expected to join the Nairobi County Football League after its sports ban was lifted due to the coronavirus.
Undugu Queens, as well as the other women’s clubs in the area, also offer mentoring programs for schoolwork and menstrual care products.
In a similar program to increase women’s participation in soccer, the Kenya Footballers’ Welfare Association (KEFWA) recently partnered with the Dandora-based Johanna Omolo Foundation to distribute sanitary towels to soccer clubs.
The future of women’s football in Kenya is growing. You have been announced to host the first CECAFA Women’s Champions League. The tournament will feature teams from 11 nations across the continent, including Kenya’s reigning FKF WPL champion Vihiga Queens.
The Undugu Queens are looking to continue their success by entering the Nairobi County Football League. They will also try to inspire more young girls to take up football and provide an alternative chance in life than early parenting.
You can find out more about the Undugu Queens here.
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