Population Services Kenya (PS Kenya) emerged triumphant as the 2nd runners-up in the just concluded Devolution Warrior Awards held on the 16th of August 2023 at the second edition of the Devolution Conference in Uasin Gishu County. The non-governmental organization was awarded under the Chui category in recognition of their dedication to promoting gender responsiveness and inclusivity for youth, women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, and other vulnerable groups.
With their visionary initiatives and tireless dedication, PS Kenya has not only showcased the transformative power of Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) but also solidified their position as trailblazers in the health sector. The award acknowledged the organisation’s unwavering commitment to fostering community-driven progress and reshaping the landscape of inclusivity across the nation. The award ceremony took place in front of distinguished government officials and stakeholders in the different industries that keep the country running.
PS Kenya is at the forefront of catalyzing change and fostering gender equality through the Accelerate Program that is funded by the Danish Government. The programme contributes towards the ICPD 25 goals of zero unmet need for contraception, zero maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful traditional actices.” According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS 2022), one in three girls over the age of 15 and women have experienced physical violence, and girls are six times more likely than boys to experience sexual violence.
Accelerate is currently active in 13 marginalised, underserved, and hard-to-reach counties and supports 424 health facilities in Kenya. In a remarkable stride of progress, the programme has brought about 394,281 couple years of protection between June 2021 and March 2023. It has also supported 503,004 women to access family planning services and linked 17,201 GBV survivors with comprehensive integrated health services, 234 of which have been linked to Accelerate support groups for psychosocial support.
PS Kenya’s steadfast commitment to ‘leaving no one behind’ can be evidently seen through its Delivering Equitable and Sustainable Increases in Family Planning programme (DESIP). This programme is particularly focused on poor, rural, and marginalised women of reproductive age and adolescents, as well as persons living with disabilities (PWDs). The KDHS 2022 shows that there has been a rise in the use of modern methods of family planning among currently married women in Kenya, increasing from 18% in 1989 to 57% in 2022. Additionally, eight in ten live births were delivered in a health facility in 2022, up from six in ten recorded in 2014.
DESIP uses cutting-edge innovations such as structured mentorship, male involvement, engagement with religious leaders, and social inclusion for PWDs. The programme has so far trained over 5,000 health facility providers through digital platforms such as WhatsApp and supported the launch and rollout of 12 reproductive health policy documents. The impact has been felt in spades through the achievement of 2,571,902 couple years of protection and 2.4 million women accessing health services.
Through the A360 project, PS Kenya endeavours to uplift the aspirations of both married and unmarried adolescents aged 13 to 19 years in four counties in the country. The project focuses on providing access to information and services on contraceptive use while empowering the girls with different money-making skills such as tailoring, hairdressing, and soapmaking, with the ultimate aim of cultivating an inclusive environment that nurtures empowered decision-making. KDHS 2022 states that teenage pregnancy rates declined to 15% in 2022 from 18% in 2014. The high rates of adolescent pregnancy were attributed to poverty and a lack of education, as about 4 in 10 women aged 15–19 who have no education have ever been pregnant, compared to only 5% of women who have more than secondary education.
Interventions carried out by the A360 project have reached over 129,629 girls with aspirational programming and girl-friendly contraceptive services, supporting 40,516 girls to voluntarily adopt a modern contraceptive method. The project has also led to the formation of self-help groups and individual businesses by 631 girls and 243 girls, respectively. 167 girls have also joined different technical vocational education and training institutes.
As PS Kenya continues to champion these causes, the second-runner-up accolade serves as both a validation of its ongoing efforts and a reminder of the work that lies ahead. With unwavering determination, the organisation is poised to continue making strides towards a more just, equal, and inclusive Kenya.