Mains Streaming Cross Cutting Issues

Cross Cutting Issues

SEP acknowledges that its programs cannot happen in a vacuum but are implemented in an environment where there are other forces within and without that affect the final desired result. While these other forces are not within SEP’s core mandate it’s important that a mechanism is designed to respond to the impact they pose on SEP’s intervention strategies through mainstreaming cross cutting issues. The term ‘cross-cutting issues’ refers to aspects that are not one’s core mandate but must be addressed to enhance to improve the final desired result. SEP has identified the following as cross cutting issues to its program intervention;

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Physical, Emotional & Psychological challenges facing the youth

Environmental conservation

Sexual And Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Programme

As part of its comprehensive Sexuality Education, SEP is currently preparing to launch a sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) programme. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022, 18% of girls in Kenya between the ages of 13-19 years are pregnant or have given birth. Siaya County, where the project will be carried out, has a higher pregnancy rate of 35%. The rate significantly increased in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Between January to May 2020, 5000 teenage pregnancies were reported in Siaya. Research has shown that teenage pregnancies affect girls’ sexual and reproductive freedom and reduce their access to a system of health protection.
Besides, the Kenya School Health Policy, 2018 states that adolescents in Kenya are generally vulnerable to early and unplanned pregnancies, female genital mutilation, child marriages, sexual violence, malnutrition, mental health issues and sexually reproductive tract infections including HIV/AIDS. Pregnancy exacerbates their vulnerability to poverty, exclusion, exploitation and violence. Besides, they face stigma and are likely to drop out-of-school. About 13,000 girls drop out-of-school each year due to pregnancy in Kenya.
Most of the government’s efforts to promote the SRHR of teenagers are made within the school context. For example, since 2018, the State Department of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs has been running the Sanitary Towels Program in schools to reduce period poverty. Similarly, the Kenya School Health Policy, 2018 made by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health recommends that sex education be offered in schools. Such programmes automatically exclude out-of-school teenage mothers thus increasing their vulnerability.
Similarly, out-of-school teenage mothers are not the main focus of any of the civil society organizations which do SRHR advocacy in Kenya.
SEP aims to address this problem by advocating for the full attainment of the sexual reproductive health rights of out-of-school teen mothers (beneficiaries) in Siaya County. This will be done by establishing a youth-friendly space to offer comprehensive sexuality education, guidance and counselling and gynaecological services to the beneficiaries. SEP will collaborate with stakeholders such as families of beneficiaries, civil society organizations, as well as government officials. Media campaigns will also be conducted to spread awareness of SRHR to the broader community.
The expected impacts which the project will contribute towards are:

a) Elimination of stigma and discrimination on grounds of gender

Many girls drop out of school because of the stigma and ostracization attached to being a teen mother. In contrast, teen fathers rarely suffer the same level of stigma. It is hoped that advocating for them will reduce negative social perceptions and attitudes toward them.

b) Increased access to comprehensive sexuality education, information, and SRHR services for out-of-school teen mothers in Siaya County

Out-of-school teen mothers have reduced access to platforms to obtain information. The project aims to provide them with accurate information on a range of age-appropriate topics; with a view to fostering knowledge, attitudes, values, and skills to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their sexuality. The project will also link them to youth-friendly SRHR service providers

c) Enhanced access to SRHR services that are rights-based, culturally appropriate and gender-sensitive by out-of-school teenage mothers

The organization will establish a youth-friendly space to provide guidance, counselling and provide gynaecological testing and advice to beneficiaries

Physical, Emotional and Psychological Support Program

Humans undergo constant behavioural, emotional, physical, and cognitive changes throughout their life lifespans, from conception to death. While many of these changes are normal and expected, they can still cause challenges that people sometimes need extra assistance to manage. Particularly among the youth who are SEP’s target beneficiaries, it’s important to identify potential problems and provide early intervention.
The teenage years are often the subject of considerable interest as children experience the psychological turmoil and transition that often accompanies this period of development.
At this age, the adolescents often test limits and explore new identities as they explore the question of who they are and who they want to be. Developmental psychologists can help support teens as they deal with some of the challenging issues unique to the adolescent period including puberty, emotional turmoil, and social pressure.
It is for this reason that SEP plans to introduce physical, emotional, and psychological support program for its beneficiaries.

Environmental Conservation

Mother earth is a complete ecosystem comprising of both living and non-living things that ensures life exist as we know it. Since the onset of industrial revolution, human activities have affected this ecosystem adversely. As a result, environmental conservation has become an important issue that needs to be addressed to save mother earth from the repercussions of industrialization. The benefits of environmental conservation include some of the following;
a) Reduce air, water and land pollution
b) Facilitate the conservation of natural resources for our future generations
c) Ensure the protection of biodiversity
d) Implement sustainable development
e) Restore the ecological balance
a) Save our planet from harmful repercussions of global warming