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Campaign to stop violence against children launched

The government in partnership with Safaricom has launched a campaign with the slogan, Spot It! Stop It!  in Nairobi County that will be used by state and non-state actors to create awareness on Violence Against Children (VAC).

Spot It! Stop It! is a national public behaviour change campaign spearheaded by the Directorate of Children Services to provide information to children and the public on the channels to use to report child abuse cases and to provide information on the available services for children.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programmes, Linah Jebii Kilimo gives keynote address at Kibera Primary School during the Launch of the Spot it, Stop it Campaign Against Children Violence for Nairobi County. Photo by Bernadette Khaduli

The Children Services Directorate developed the campaign in response to a survey that had indicated that most children whose rights are violated never report the cases to the relevant authorities or seek help but suffer silently.

Cabinet Secretary Public Service, Gender, Social Protection, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, Prof. Margaret Kobia said the campaign was launched on 16th July last year as part of the measures to raise awareness on VAC and to persuade people to take action to prevent and stop it.

Prof. Kobia who announced that the campaigns have been launched in the counties of Kilifi, West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo and Garissa, said for the vice to be eradicated in the country all Kenyans must join hands by stopping it whenever they spot the perpetrators.

She said, “Every action taken in prevention and response counts as all children deserve a safe childhood.”

The CS made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programmes Linah Kilimo during the launch of the Spot it! Stop! Campaign in Nairobi County held at Kibera Primary School.

She said child protection is a complex and expensive undertaking that requires a multi-sectoral disciplinary approach, a need that has made her ministry collaborate with various state and non-state actors to protect children’s rights.

“I am requesting other development partners and private sector firms to support us in ending violence against children across the nation, as it will supplement the efforts being done by other state agencies,” urged Prof. Kobia.

The CS noted that in a bid to address the rising cases of violence against children, her ministry has developed the National Prevention and Response Plan (NPRP) 2019-2023 to execute action within six strategic approaches, noting that when implemented the prevalence of violence is expected to reduce by 40 per cent.

The strategic approaches include the Implementation of laws and policies that protect children, improving parenting skills and strengthening households economically, changing attitudes and behaviours that normalize violence within communities.

Others are providing safe environments in the education sector, to improve and enhance response and support services and strengthening coordination mechanisms that will ensure effective and efficient service delivery to children.

“The ministry has also launched the Child Friendly Booklet on Protecting Children Against violence in 2020 and established child protection units in Kwale and Kilifi,” she announced.

She said according to statistics from the Violence against Children Survey report 2019 a 62.6 per cent females experienced multiple incidences of childhood sexual violence while 34.3 per cent females and 32.2 per cent males children experienced emotional violence.

The statistics also show that violence against children is deep seated in society with nearly 45.9 per cent females and 56.1 per cent males experiencing childhood violence, while 38.8 females and 51.9 per cent males experienced physical violence from parents and caregivers as the perpetrators.

The CS at the same time announced her ministry through the Directorate of Children’s Services has put in place robust measures to strengthen a child protection system to focus on legal and policy reforms, institutional capacity development, planning, budgeting, monitoring and information management. She announced that the Children Bill has gone through the first reading.

In her remarks, the Safaricom Head, Sustainable Business and Social Impact Ms. Karen Basuje said Safaricom was regulating online platforms which she termed a threat to children to protect the young ones from online abuse.

She said Safaricom has a child online safety awareness that it uses to bring guidance into the space to engage the children’s safety on the internet aimed at eradicating radicalization, cybercrime and bullying on the children.

“Children depend on us for guidance as they do not make decisions, children are meek and weak therefore people should not use that to exploit them,” she said, adding that children need protection to enable them to reach their full potential.

Karen said the company has partnered with AIC Kijabe to enable children with disabilities to undergo surgery at the facility where it had invested a total of Sh74 million.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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