Child Mother Support Program
In Northern Kenya, Sauti Moja is working to better the lives of girls and young women who face discrimination due to early, out-of-wedlock pregnancies. These girls and young women represent some of the most stigmatized and discriminated people in this area, often forced to leave their families and communities and live in destitution due to pregnancies often resulting from sexual exploitation.  Sauti Moja provides them with counsel, scholarships for school, and opportunities to start small businesses.  We are committed to restoring hope for these girls and ensuring healthy futures for them.

The Challenge

Within the pastoralist communities of east Africa, there is a large variation in attitudes regarding sexual relations amongst unwed youth, and attitudes toward pregnant girls. In northern Kenya, several ethnic groups maintain a very conservative responses to out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Despite the fact that girls usually have little control over sexual choices, and that most pregnancies result from rape or other forms of sexual exploitation, a pregnant girl is often cast out of the community due to the shame surrounding her pregnancy.  She faces abandonment from friends and often the  family, as well being chased from school.  These child mothers usually travel to larger town centers, such as Marsabit, in hope of finding refuge and a means of support for themselves and their babies. They may beg from acquaintances, work as occasional and poorly-paid laborers, and/or exchange sexual favours for money or other support. These girls and their children carry a stigma for life, and are the most vulnerable to poverty, HIV/AIDS, and poor health.

Our Response

  • Counselling. This program is implemented by local health educators  who collaborate with school officials and local leaders to identify pregnant girls. They visit the chld mothers and assure them of support for a new start.  This affirmation is integral to the girls’ psychological health and their ability to overcome the odds set against them.
  • Family Mediation. Sauti Moja volunteers work to restore family relationships and intervene in cases of abuse or neglect.  Sometimes, this takes years.
  • Legal Advocacy. In cases of sexual abuse, Sauti Moja supports girls to file a police report and put girls in contact with legal organizations that will help them with any relevant legal proceedings.  Sauti Moja will fund any legal support required.
  • Health and Human Rights Education. Sauti Moja conducts workshops and retreats for Child Mothers, where they learn more about sexual and reproductive health issues, as well as their rights as women and children.
  • Scholarship Programs. Sauti Moja emphasizes the importance of achieving a good education, as the hope for an illiterate girl becoming self-sufficient s small.  Whenever possible, we help Child Mothers return to school.  Usually, this means returning to secondary school (equivalent to high school) but sometimes, it is primary school. We anticipate eventually expanding this support to include college or university education.
  • Micro-business Development (Income Generating Activities).  When Child Mothers are unable or unwilling to return, Sauti Moja helps them to become more economically self-sufficient by providing training and helping them to set-up and operate a small business, such as livestock trading, tailoring, and shop-keeping.  However, the success rate for girls is low, due to challenges of illiteracy, limited markets, lack of purchasing power in droughts, and limited access to marketable goods.

Guyuta faced an early, out-of-wedlock pregnancy at age 14. She suffered terrible abuse in her community and rejection by her family as a result. Guyuta fled to the town of Marsabit in search of refuge and a means to support herself and her child. She faced further difficulties following her pregnancy, as she struggled to meet her basic needs. Sauti Moja volunteers met Guyuta after she had been admitted into hospital for trauma-related illness. They quickly began counselling her and providing her with support. Within a year, Sauti Moja found Guyuta a school and helped her continue her education. Today, Guyuta’s daughter is healthy and growing well. Guyuta is entering her fourth year at secondary school and has achieved a ranking of second in her class!

Africa Programs Manager, Corey Wright, recalls his experience:

“I met Guyuta four years ago. I was struck by her lack of confidence and emotional state. My heart really broke for her. If you met her today, you’d never guess she’s the same girl! She has become a confident, vivacious young woman leading her class in academic achievement. When I get discouraged in my work, Guyuta’s experience inspires me!”


Our Achievements

  • Girls who are otherwise stigmatized and neglected have received affirmation and support. Our volunteers have reached out and provided counselling and support to about 40 Child Mothers. This support cannot be overstated. In many cases, Sauti Moja volunteers reach girls on the brink of emotional breakdown, but with a little support, we’ve seen them dramatically turn their lives around and find a new hope for the future!
  • Family relationships have been restored. In a few cases, our interventions have helped change attitudes in the family and restore relationships. Parents who were previously overwhelmed with shame are finding pride in their daughters’ achievements.
  • Child mothers are back in school. As of January 2010, Sauti Moja has assisted 13 girls in returning to school. In several instances, the girls have beaten all odds by becoming the top-ranked students in their schools! While we continually face apprehensions from teachers about accepting Child Mothers into their classes, the positive record of our existing girls are transforming negative attitudes and Head Teachers are taking our recommendations.
  • Many have become self-sufficient due to small business training and income. As of January 2010, Sauti Moja has helped 15 Child Mothers to start small businesses. Their remote environments create many challenges in maintaining profitable ventures, especially when there is a shortage of cash in the community due to drought, but Sauti Moja is persevering with them to identify viable options.

Did you know?

This program is indebted to two of Tim Wright’s (Sauti Moja Canada Director) previous staff in Marsabit - Clara Robe and Martha Bone.  For several years, these two have witnessed the dire straits faced by child mothers and shared a commitment to helping them. When they brought their concerns and ideas to Sauti Moja, we hopped on board to develop this program together.   Martha and Clara continue to volunteer support for the ever increasing number of girls needing help.


  • Join the LECHE Project which is affordable, supports healthy development of Maasai preschoolers, and helps educate your children.
  • 1000 Widows Initiative – We’ve helped 161 vulnerable women become self-sufficient, so now we are targeting another 839 over the next three years!  More
  • Sponsors for child mothers are desperately needed!  More
  • Read about Sauti Moja’s role in famine recovery here.
  • Read about Sauti Moja’s response to global warming here.