Mentorship program leads to reduction of outdated practices in West Pokot

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The mentorship program was put in place by West Pokot first lady Dr. Mary Lonyangapuo
The mentorship program was put in place by West Pokot first lady Dr. Mary Lonyangapuo

A mentorship program for youths in West Pokot during the holidays has helped in the reduction of outdated cultural practices that have prevailed in
the region for the past decades.

The mentorship program that is spearheaded by County first lady Dr.
Mary Lonyangapuo has seen a drastic drop in early marriages, early
pregnancies, drug abuse and cattle rustling incidents for the past two
years.

The program has helped the youths to realize the potential they have
that may help in changing the image of the County. Last year, the County was rated among the Counties with high teenage pregnancies and that forced the first lady to initiate the program.

During the holidays before schools reopen, the County sets two centres in
each ward where professionals from the community come to mentor the
children who are from class seven to university.

Speaking at Karas primary school in Kapenguria ward where
over 800 youths attended the mentorship program, Dr. Lonyangapuo said
that so far they have been able to mentor over 20,000 youths from the
twenty wards in the county. “It’s only through education that we’ll help change the mindset of the youths and help reduce outdated cultural practices that have hindered development for long,” she said.

The program targets the youths especially during the holiday season
The program targets the youths especially during the holiday season

She said currently they have 51 centres in the County where the
program runs during holidays. The County first lady called on parents to allow their children to attend the mentorship program since it will help their children in behavioral change.

About female genital mutilation, that is rampant in the region during
holidays, she called on parents not to allow their children to attend
night meetings. “Night meetings have exposed children to risks and parents should not allow underage children to attend. We also educated girls and boys on dangers of FGM,” she said.

Benson Chembus one of the youths asked other counties in North Rift
that are faced with outdated cultural practices to adopt the same
program.

Kapenguria member of county assembly Maddy Polokou said that in the
recent survey conducted in the country, the county was among counties
leading in early marriages at position three.