Challenges to unmarried adolescent motherhood: A case study of Masaba South subcounty, Kisii county, Kenya.

The study examined the challenges in unmarried adolescent motherhood in Masaba South Sub County, Kisii County. Its main purpose was to establish the challenges in unmarried adolescent motherhood and to find all the impacts and thereby recommend ways in helping the situation and finally to identify and explain how these unmarried adolescent mothers cope and adopt in these challenges they face. Quantitative data were collected using structured questionnaires for individuals. The respondents were young mothers aged 15-19 years, who had had their first pregnancy between ages 13-19 years. Respondents were selected using stratified random sampling method from three sampled County Assembly Wards. For qualitative data, Focus Group Discussion was conducted with unmarried adolescent mothers, parents (men and women separate) and youth both young men and women. Also key Informants interviews were conducted with head teachers/principals, chiefs, religious leaders, opinion leaders and other administration leaders. It was found out that ignorance, poverty and illiteracy, experimental or adventure drive to satisfy sexual curiosity and lack of mentorship by the parents are some of the factors that contribute to early pregnancy in the study area. From the findings, unmarried adolescent mothers experienced financial challenges, psychological torture, stigmatization, some were expelled from their families, dropped out of school, most of their friends abandoned them and to some, their fathers insulted them all the time. The study found out that the main challenges they anticipated if they returned to school were: unfriendly students, idleness/drug abuse, discrimination and criticism from peers and teachers when attending school. The study found out that communities have provided the awareness in order to reduce unmarried adolescent motherhood. The church has provided moral teachings which enable the young girls to be at right side of life and respecting their bodies. Community has tried to avoid and stop discriminating, undermining and stigmatizing of these young mothers and gave them moral support. Parents Support their girls afterbirth by providing them with basic needs for them and their babies. The government has provided awareness on importance of using contraceptives and free family planning facilities. The government has introduced policies for re-admission of girls back to school after birth to finish their studies. Also government had provided funds to support them in small business in order to be self reliant. It punishes teachers who are responsible for pregnancies. The community initiatives have helped unmarried adolescent mothers to cope with them, they feel fully accepted in family hence they don't face much challenges compared to the time no one was there for them. Their parents support them both finically and emotionally hence they don't lack any basic need for them and their babies, and this has helped them a lot. The government initiatives have enabled unmarried adolescent mothers to be re-admitted back to school to finish their studies. This has enabled many of them to finish their studies and join universities and other colleges. The health facilities like health center and clinics, free delivery services, contraceptives and family planning are of great help to them. The study recommends that parents and guardians should be encouraged to educate their children about reproductive health because. The study recommends that knowledge on reproductive biology should be taught in schools from elementary level which will help greatly in combating the problem of adolescent pregnancies.