Caren Odanga Breaks the Silence on Unsafe Abortion Practices in Kakamega County in Kenya
Caren Odanga (Class of 2016), Director of the Sisari Women Initiative Group, is leading the first organization in Kakamega County in Kenya to promote open discussions about unsafe abortion practices and their impact on girls and young women. Stigma attached to abortion, restrictive laws, poor attitudes among community members, and restrictive cultural and religious beliefs continue to present major barriers for girls and women from accessing safe medical abortions in Kakamega County. Caren is working to improve access to safe medical abortion services among the rural poor and vulnerable adolescents and teenage girls by strengthening their capacity in stemming abortion related stigma and intensifying their role in policy advocacy on abortion rights in Kakamega County. Through her advocacy efforts, Caren brought together 300 local opinion leaders and policy makers, including doctors, nurses, civic leaders, religious leaders, youth leaders, politicians, and officials from the Ministry of Health, to push for the decriminalization of abortion. These stakeholders are expressing their support.