The COVID-19 pandemic has struck hard in most family’s especially those from slums and very low-income families. With most of them working in the informal sector, the hard economic times have rendered most informal jobs to shut down therefore worsening the situation. The education sector that used to occupy the school-going adolescents and youths and ease the parents of the burden of basic commodities like food is closed and therefore putting even more pressure on the households. Due to this pressure, most of the school-going girls cannot afford most basic commodities such as food and sanitary towels which would otherwise be provided in school by the county government aid. It is for this reason and many others that they opt to sell sex in order to get food and contribute towards caring for their families. Because of this, the teenage pregnancy rates have gone 10 fold in the slums of coastal Kenya compared to the national prevalence prior to the pandemic. The pregnancy does not halt the sex work from taking place, many opt to secure abortions through crude and uncouth means that could be fatal and deadly; while those who opt to carry on with the pregnancy continue with the sex work even in pregnancy and after birth in order to get basic commodities for her baby and herself. Well, there’s nothing we could do to stop the pregnancy, but we could do something to empower these young mothers to get the basic commodities such as clothing, soap and milk for their babies instead of having to sell sex to survive. With mothers as young as twelve years old, the only help she knows is her guardian who also lives from hand to mouth; and has to bear the burden of another extra mouth to feed; the girl only sees a single avenue for survival, Sex work.
A seed grant to empower the girls to invest in small scale money-generating business of worth $100 will have a great impact to the young vulnerable mothers. The businesses will occupy the girls as well as provide dimes for their day to day needs including a 250ml packet of milk costing $0.2 per day for the baby. In order to ensure the capital is put into good use, we will tag on it a minimal interest rate of 10 %( subject to discussion) for the loans given to start the businesses. We will then put them through a financial management mentorship programme on how to run the business and plough back profits and save. This will not only empower the girls but also enable them to yearn to transform their lives and if possible return back to school. The money ploughed back will then be used to reach more girls and enable transformation through economic empowerment.