Jenifer’s Story

“Fear of speaking about sexuality to adolescents by parents jeopardises their future aspirations.”

Jenifer is a 67-year-old retired primary teacher. She is one of the Social Analysis and Action (SAA) group members under the SHE SOARS project in Dadamo sub-county. She has five children and one adopted child, making her a mother of six. She raised them alone after separating from her husband who suppressed her in the marriage and evicted her.  

While in the SAA dialogue session, which are group discussions held weekly in communities under the SHE SOARS ptoject to identify negative social norms in the community, Jenifer expressed her sadness on the tragedy she went through in her early 20s and 30s.

“If I had known that it is normal to talk about sexuality to young people, my 14-year-old, by then, in primary seven would not have fallen prey to defilement which led her to drop out of school.

Jenifer lamented how she had been a teacher but feared to discuss sexuality like puberty, menstruation and life skills with her daughters.

“I felt that speaking about it would triger their curiosity and in turn push them to engage in sexual activity.”

According to Jenifer, the SAA dialogues have allowed her to share her experiences with young mothers and fathers, which will hold them accountable for teaching their children about sexuality. Currently, she is engaging and educating parents in her neighborhood, both group and non-group members on the need to create a conducive environment for their children, to feel free to speak and discuss puberty, menstruation management, HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) prevention, managing peer groups and providing life skills. She believes that this will protect them from unwanted pregnancy, and early marriages, build their confidence, and eventually achieve their educational aspirations.

Jenifer sharing her views during a Social Analysis and Action session in the community.

“I want to thank Restless Development for training a good SAA facilitator in our community.”

Through the SHE SOARS project, I believe there will be a significant impact on families’ mindsets regarding sexual reproductive health. In creating awareness of the negative social norms that prevent young women and girls from accessing SRHR services, the members of this group are enabling the future of our young people to be brighter.