Online Program

Adolescent reproductive health needs in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Celeste Marin, MPH, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Muzabel Welongo, Solidarity & Advocacy with Vulnerable Individuals in Crisis (SAVIC), Nairobi, Kenya
Meriwether Beatty, MPH, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya is home to over 150,000 refugees. Reproductive health education is limited and youth-friendly services nonexistent. In 2013-2014, JSI Research and Training Institute supported National Council of Churches of Kenya and three refugee-run CBOs to implement an education program for adolescent girls. We conducted cross-sectional surveys at baseline (n=322) and endline (n=306) among program participants and non-participants to assess the program and document existing needs. The 2014 survey showed positive signs: participants knew more about family planning (FP) methods and where to get them and communicated more about RH with parents and friends. Girls said they enjoyed the program and had learned a great deal, shared information with friends and improved their behavior. However abstinence messages were retained more than those about FP. Myths about FP were widespread among participants and non-participants alike: half thought FP causes infertility and is more dangerous for adolescents than pregnancy. Most girls said they preferred abstinence to FP, but one-third did not think they could refuse to have sex any time they did not want to. Although most said they themselves would refuse, more than half of all girls thought their friends would have sex in exchange for money or gifts. Adolescent girls in humanitarian settings are especially vulnerable to coercive sex. They may also choose to have consensual sex but want to protect themselves from infection and early pregnancy. Programs in Kakuma and other refugee camps should promote comprehensive RH, emphasizing the range of FP options and their safety.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss barriers refugee girls face in accessing comprehensive RH Describe reproductive health knowledge of adolescent girls in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya Compare adolescent girls’ perceptions of their own RH attitudes and behaviors to those of their peers

Keyword(s): Youth, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 13 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation of reproductive health and maternal and child health programs in developing countries. I am a doctoral student in demography.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.