The Turkana Governor, Josphat Nanok on Monday launched a four year blueprint developed by a joint taskforce to ensure children receive care and access basic rights.
Addressing child protection stakeholders at the Cradle Hotel, the Governor said the strategy was a key milestone in efforts to address child protection concerns.
“In 2014, I requested UNICEF and partners to develop a strategy to assist our county address child protection needs and I am glad that we are launching the document today, which will support protection of children from abuse including gender, sexual and drug abuse, child labour and child marriages,” he said.
He assured that the County Government will lead the implementation of the strategy by providing technical and financial support which will include developing a bill and policy on child protection.
The Governor reiterated that more effort was needed from government and partners to improve children’s access to education.
“Very critical in the area of education is how we protect the child’s right to education. In Turkana over 300,000 children are out of school mostly because of budgetary issues, lack of adequate teachers, poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities. There is need for innovative ideas to increase the number of teachers especially in the rural areas and for us to double efforts to support parents take children to school considering the change in attitude on education compared to before,” he said.
Governor Nanok expressed hope that the strategy will help address the street children menace which he said was caused by among others irresponsible parents and teenage pregnancies.
He said there was need for sensitization campaigns for parents to play a bigger role in the upbringing of their children rather than pass on the responsibility to relatives or politicians.
Nanok urged civil societies to take up the role in management of children rescue centres and support the County Government investment to set up the centres for the rehabilitation of children.
On her part, the UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection, Monika Sandvik-Nylund hailed the strategy which she said will provide vision and direction to be adopted when focusing resources on child protection.
The County Executive for Education, Sports and Social Protection, Patrick Losike said the Ministry will work together with the National Government’s Child Protection Department to ensure objectives of the strategy are realized.
Others who spoke include County Public Service Board Chair, Dr. John Ng’asike, Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection, Dr. Lolelea Natade as well as members of the taskforce which developed the strategy under the Turkana Gender and Child Protection Network (TGCPN).
The Deputy Governor, Peter Lotethiro later presided over panel discussions on the provisions of the strategy.
By Peter Gitonga