In ordinary times, adolescents undergo rapid physical, psychological, and cognitive developmental changes that create a critical window of opportunity in their lives. At this point of transformation, social and physical conditions can impact their health and wellbeing, and they need the greatest support and guidance in their health, education, social life.
A huge proportion of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa live in households with persistently poor socio-economic conditions, inequities, and gender norms that undermine their health and development. They also face serious challenges to fulfilling their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including vulnerability to HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended and unsafe pregnancy.
During times of social crisis, the risks for AGYW are intensified. In an unconducive environment with many social and physical changes that are not favorable in their nurturing, adolescents’ health and wellbeing can be negatively impacted heightening their risk of negative health outcomes, bringing a lifetime of negative long and short-term consequences. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly had a disproportionate impact on adolescents.
This research sought to understand the effect of COVID-19 and its related preventive measures on the social and mental wellbeing of adolescent girls in Nairobi county urban informal settlements, and rural Migori counties. This evidence brief features voices/words of the adolescent girls, sharing their experiences and individual perspectives on their way of life during the pandemic.