Adolescent education, health and wellbeing status in four counties in Kenya: two years into the COVID-19 pandemic

Case Studies & Research
Population Council
50 p. + 78 p. + 3 p.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread school closures globally, including in Kenya. This educational disruption potentially had extensive adverse consequences for adolescent school learners including, but not limited to: school dropout; learning loss; opportunity losses; risk of losing previously acquired skills; and lost socio-emotional benefits of time spent with peers and teachers. This study was undertaken in four counties in Kenya – two urban (Nairobi, Kisumu) and two rural (Kilifi and Wajir). Focusing on adolescent girls aged 10-19 at the start of the pandemic, this study aimed to build understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent girls’ education outcomes in Kenya to enable a) implementation of short- and medium-term policies and programmes to address the immediate harms caused; and b) to be better prepared for other pandemics or crises in the future, that could lead to prolonged school closures. Overall, the findings from this study shed light on the education, health, and wellbeing status of adolescents in four counties in Kenya two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. At a broad summary level, some of the acute effects of the pandemic have subsided. For the most part, adolescents are back in school albeit experiencing learning challenges and with some dropping out of school by 2022. Although present, large spikes in adolescent pregnancy and/or marriage have not been documented in this sample. Mental health and food security remain concerns, although the stark mental health challenges that adolescents were experiencing during the period of lock downs and school closures are starting to improve.

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