Jill Biden spoke to teens on Saturday about condoms and safe sex and said she is urging her granddaughters to become financially independent as she spent the day in Nairobi promoting women’s liberation issues.
The first lady, who teaches at a community college in Northern Virginia, spent most of the day in the role of a teacher as she met a mix of young people at an MTV-sponsored event and sat down with women at a economic event.
She spent the afternoon at the Shujaaz Konnect Festival, a local youth empowerment event sponsored by MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation.
The program aims to help young people talk about difficult topics such as sex, HIV and money – with a large part of the conversation being about sex.
Organizers showed Biden a questionnaire they use to get young people to talk about issues. The first question was, “What would you say if I told you I now have a condom in my pocket?”
The first lady laughed. “And this is the first time they meet?!”
“I’m surprised you don’t start with, What’s your greatest achievement instead of, ‘I have a condom in my pocket,'” she said.
Jill Biden spoke to young people in Nairobi about condoms and safe sex
Biden is on the fourth day of her five-day Africa tour. In addition to women’s issues, she focuses on praising the value of a democracy as she seeks to strengthen US relations with African countries and counter Chinese influence on the continent.
She spent her first three days in Namibia, a young democracy, where she praised the high percentage of women in government and emphasized how the future of Africa and America go together.
The first lady uses her time on the continent to soft-sell US strengths — to remind nations to turn to Washington for money in times of natural disaster or humanitarian need.
Her stopovers included targeting Pepfar, which provides US dollars for HIV prevention, and food insecurity, which the US is spending billions on to help fight.
On Sunday, Biden’s final day in Kenya, she will focus on food insecurity issues caused by record droughts and shortages left in the wake of covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But at Saturday’s MTV event, young people spoke to Biden about how they talk to each other about safe sex and their use of PrEP to fight HIV infection. It was held outdoors and under tents at a place called Village Creative. The youths sat on hay bales, each wrapped in a patterned Kenyan cloth.
One of the young people spoke to the first lady about a popular show in the country, MTV Shuga, which deals with COVID, HIV prevention and money. Biden was shown a short clip of a girl talking about sex and dating.
“I must have missed the money part,” she said, laughing. She talked to the group for several minutes about condoms, safe sex and HIV prevention.
Jill Biden met with Kenyan first lady Rachel Ruto for an economic event
Ruto ties an apron around Biden’s waist – it read “Joyful Women,” the name of the charity Ruto sponsors
Earlier on Saturday, she met with Kenyan First Lady Rachel Ruto to visit a program called Joyful Women.
Sponsored by Ruto, it promotes women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion through the unique model of “table banking” groups, which gather communities of women by pooling their resources to work together.
The event started with a prayer. Both first ladies bowed their heads.
Ruto then wrapped a cloth known as a leso or a kanga around Biden’s waist. It’s white, green and orange and says Joyful Women.
“Stands by my shoes,” Biden said. She wore espadrilles with orange accents.
She listened to the women’s stories and then talked about her own work experience.
“I’ve always taught my own daughter and my granddaughters the importance of being financially independent,” she noted.
Her granddaughter Naomi Biden was with her. Naomi, 29, has been on the Africa trip with the first lady. She sat in a corner to listen to the discussion, but stood up and waved when the moderator pointed it out.
Biden wrapped her up in a day with a visit to the US Embassy. She met Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Marines stationed there, and many embassy employees.
Jill Biden looks at one of the brochures handed out to young people at an MTV event; US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman is to Biden’s left
She rounded off her visit by laying a wreath at Memorial Park on August 7, honoring the lives lost in the 1988 Nairobi embassy bombing.
On August 7, 1998, terrorists detonated bombs next to the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks killed more than 200 men, women and children and injured more than 4,000 others.
Biden had visited the memorial in 2010 when she and then-Vice President Joe Biden were visiting Kenya.
She spent a few moments there on Saturday with her head bowed before the white wreath and the names on the memorial.