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Title: Empower Through Education: An Exploration of Sexual Health Education and Reproductive Health Resources in Laikipia County, Kenya
Authors: Eller, Madison
Advisors: Nelson, Timothy
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: This thesis explores: What is the intersection between sexual health education and access to reproductive health resources in Laikipia County, Kenya? Access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and resources remains a contentious topic in many countries. The communities in Eastern and Northern Laikipia County encounter numerous negative sexual health outcomes, particularly afflicting adolescents. Despite the abundance of research conducted regarding sexual health education, most studies do not focus on this region and will often center research on one specific topic. This thesis demonstrates the intra-community dynamics surrounding SRH which complicate both education and access to resources. Focusing on the specific areas involved in this thesis allows for a unique, holistic analysis of a community and the multiple variables which influence their SRH outcomes. Rather than assigning causation, this thesis displays the complex relationships between systems of education and health. This thesis employs a qualitative approach to research, utilizing interviews and focus group discussions with relevant stakeholders in Laikipia County, Kenya. This research involves 5 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, and 5 health facilities in this area. These interviews included a range of teachers, students, community health volunteers/workers (CHV/Ws) and health professionals. Additionally, local activists, regional health officials, and education bureaucrats were involved in this thesis. These interviews are supplemented by current literature regarding the topic. I utilize this combination of sources to narrate the experiences of this larger community. I find there is not an extensive SRH curriculum implemented in primary or secondary schools. The many additional sources of information for SRH come from outside visitors, teachers, and through supplemental curriculums such as Life Skills. There are many community level issues with accessing SRH resources at local health facilities, often stemming from socio-cultural stigmas and gender dynamics. Logistical issues, including transportation, staff availability, and language barriers further discouraged accessing these resources. Overall, community influence is a consistent theme in the discussions on both education and health resources. Community leaders, ranging from elders to local activists, can significantly impact the perspectives held. I argue that increased SRH education in schools would help to improve sexual health outcomes and counter the prevalent misconceptions in the community. Logistical issues which afflict both schools and health facilities should be addressed through funding increases and innovative approaches. Ultimately, the community, especially its authority figures, has the demonstrated power to encourage positive change within these systems and to address flaws which contribute to negative SRH outcomes.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2020

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