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  • Why are we working in Narok?

At, we believe in data-driven projects: our work needs to be relevant and impactful within the contexts where we work. We need to understand the situation faced by the pregnant women we work with: their communities, culture, traditions, and healthcare facilities which are – or are not – available. Last year, we initiated our work in Narok County, Kenya.

So why are we working in Narok? 

Our previous blog describes the high rate of teen pregnancies in the Narok, but the maternal health situation in the county is much more nuanced.

Earlier this month,’s Programming team spent a day in meetings with Narok’s Sub-County Health Management Teams. It was an exciting day where the teams planned the execution of Team Mum for Teens across the county, and many of the challenges faced by pregnant women and girls were also highlighted.

1. Cultural challenges

The Maa community in Narok is heavily patriarchal which can make seeking maternal healthcare difficult, if not impossible; the men make almost all the decisions, including whether a woman should go to hospital or not. 

In Narok, child marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are also common practices, both of which lead to increased dangers during pregnancy and childbirth. FGM is a procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Aside from the pain and trauma the practice inflicts on young girls, it can also cause increased risk of delivery complications such as haemorrhage, prolonged labour, tearing during delivery, increased adverse risk of stillbirths and, in the most extreme cases, FGM can lead to maternal mortality.

2. Administrative challenges

In Narok, on top of men making all the decisions, teens also need consent from their parents to receive any family planning advice or resources, which has led to a decline in seeking the services.

Many pregnant under-18-year-olds are also afraid to seek maternal healthcare because, as it is illegal to get a teenager pregnant, these young girls may want to avoid the drama and consequences that come with admitting their pregnancy to health authorities. 

3. Access to healthcare

Even if young pregnant girls do manage to jump through these hoops, they still face many issues accessing healthcare: facilities may be far from their home and difficult to access with limited transportation and impassable roads. If they do get to a health facility, it may not be fully equipped (lacking ultrasound scanners or laboratories) or have limited health workers on duty.’s Programming Manager Cherio, talking to Narok health authorities about Team Mum

But Narok is not just a county of challenges

Narok is a county rich in landscape, culture and history. Most inhabitants of Narok are the Maa community who express their culture in how they dress: you may have seen the famous Maasai Shuka or the beaded Enkarewa; a traditional wedding necklace.

The Maasai are also famous for their jumping skills, which during dances are mesmerizing (our 2022/23 Ride Africa cyclists had the chance to witness – and even join in with – one of these dances. Of course none of our riders were able to jump nearly as high!).

The Maa women are also an incredible community within themselves: when one of them gives birth, the other women rally behind her to support with chores until she is back on her feet. The women are each other’s support system during this period. in Narok

Being a young pregnant girl is difficult in most parts of the world. In Narok, pregnant teens are facing an overwhelming number of challenges within their families, communities and healthcare systems. 

We can only begin to imagine how scary it must be to be pregnant as a teenager, with little to no knowledge about what’s happening within your own body, and how to keep yourself and your baby alive.


Our team is currently working closely with the county government in Narok to set up training sessions for health workers to run adolescent-friendly pregnancy support groups, and working to create safe spaces for the girls.

Team Mum for Teens is a way to reach pregnant teens directly within their communities (overcoming many accessibility challenges), where we can provide a support system and encourage these girls to access life-saving maternal health services.

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