The Kenya government is working closely with state and non state agencies to address issues that may affect children during and after crisis.
The Principal Secretary in charge of State Department for Social Protection (PS), Nelson Marwa said the government had developed the Children Bill 2018 as a deliberate effort that speaks to the rights and welfare of children.
In the speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Secretary, James Ntabo, Marwa pointed out that some of the challenges that children face in Kenya, included early and force marriages, child pregnancies, harmful cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation, child neglect, child abuse and child labour among others.
He said the government has supported children through provision of free primary education, mobile schools in arid and semi arid areas and also through Cash transfer to orphaned and vulnerable students.
Speaking on Friday during the launch of the Day of the African child at Makutano Stadium in West Pokot County, the PS observed that the issue of the child neglect is rampant in the country and appealed to all parents to take up the parental responsibly seriously.
He further called on the enforcement agencies to enforce the law accordingly. “The government policy is that all the children should grow up in family set up and be cared by parents or guardians,” he added.
The theme of this year’s celebrations is ‘Leave no child behind for Africa’s development’.
He pointed out that the theme emphasizes on the need for states to embrace the principles of humanitarians’ action when dealing with instances that affect the best interest of the child.
The event was launched with a walk from Kapenguria to Makutano town about 4kms. The climax of this year’s celebrations will be held on 16th of June in Tana River County.
The Day of the African Child celebration has been commemorated on June 16 every year since 1991. It was launched by the Organization of African Unity in honour of participants of the Soweto Uprising in 1976 in South Africa on the same date.
The event was organized by the National Council for Children Services in partnership with West Pokot County government, the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, Ampath Foundation, Action Aid, Yangat, I-rep, Kenya Red Cross, Sikom, Pokot Women Empowerment Organization (POWEO), World Vision and the African Union.
Speaking at the event, the National Council for Children Services Chairlady, Joyce Ngugi said children are the core
backbone of the society and that it was essential for the society to fight the challenges they face.
“The climax of these celebrations is to see the African child prosper. Children are our responsibilities and we should do everything in our reach to help them secure their future,” she said.
The area Governor, Prof. John Lonyangapuo stated that his government’s biggest focus is on children welfare and that the county government has faced a number of challenges the biggest being insecurity.
“We care the most about our children’s education, each school going child in West Pokot receives bursary through the county government bursary funds. We also have elevated bursaries for those with disabilities,” said the Governor.
“To curb the insecurity challenge the county government has set up peace border school for students from the different conflicting communities and also rescue schools for girls who escape the FGM menace,” said the Governor.
By John Saina