Sustainable development is a form of development that meets people's present needs without destroying resources for future generations, so that they can also meet their needs. In Kilifi, a rural area in the Coast province of Kenya where I was born, food security is low, poverty and illiteracy rates are high, teenage pregnancies and early marriages are common, and cultural traditions guide people's lives.
I was an exception, because I went to secondary school. After finishing school, I became a volunteer in Moving the Goalposts (MTG), a sport and development organisation that empowers girls through football. This is where I started giving reproductive health information to peers, and I am now the economic empowerment officer in MTG, where I help girls to secure their livelihoods.
I have seen many changes in my environment throughout time. I'm worried about the climate change – the rainy season has been very unpredictable recently, and this affects people in our area, who rely heavily on agriculture. One of the positive changes is that more children enrol in primary school due to the free primary school education policy in Kenya. I think that, through women taking part in empowerment programmes, more women can get jobs, start running their own businesses and become financially independent. This can enable some women to escape the cycle of domestic violence.
My message for Rio+20 is: the voices of girls and young women all over the world are heard so that they can live in a world where girls' and women's human rights will be realised and protected. I wish that generations would interact more openly so that girls can share their ideas, fears, hopes and concerns, and that this will lead to reproductive health services that are friendly and accessible for girls and young women all over the world.
Story originally published by The Guardian