What is ‘In Their Hands’?
‘In Their Hands’ is a digital platform that can help young girls access contraception and therefore prevent their unwanted pregnancies. Contraception is a name for different methods of preventing pregnancy (you can read more here: https://rightforeducation.org/2018/04/methods-of-birth-control-3/ ). A woman may not want a baby at her current stage in life for many reasons (you can read more here: https://rightforeducation.org/2016/04/why-women-have-a-choice/ ).
Since 2017, the project has provided around 400,000 teenage girls with free contraception. It operates through over 250 health clinics in Kenya and over 50 pharmacies in Kenya.
How does it work?
Girls between the ages of 15 and 19 can sign up to the platform online to show that they wish to receive contraception. This information is kept secret – only the girl herself and staff at the clinic or pharmacy will know she has asked for contraception.
Once she has asked for contraception, she will be able to find out from which nearby clinics or pharmacy she will be able to collect it. She will be able to go back as many times as she needs to, to collect more of the type of contraception she has chosen.
The project is funded by the British non-governmental organisation (NGO) ‘Children’s Investment Fund’. The Dutch NGO ‘Triggerise’ helps keep it running from a practical point of view.
Why use ‘In Their Hands’?
Contraception is important because it can help prevent unwanted pregnancies. A girl might not want to get pregnant if she is still in school and therefore does not have the time to care for a young child. She might not want a baby with a partner or husband whom she has not chosen to be with, such as in the case of forced marriage.
The work of ‘In Their Hands’ is valuable because girls may not have access to education about reproductive health (how they can avoid getting pregnant and protect themselves against sexually-transmitted infections). This is more likely to be true in poor or rural communities.