Child negligence cases are on the rise in Lamu, due to drug abuse and poverty according to World Vision Kenya.
Speaking to KNA in Mpeketoni Monday, World Vision Kenya Lamu Coordinator Emmanuel Mkoba stated that increase in drug abuse among young parents, especially among mothers has led to the dramatic rise in child neglect cases.
“The situation is so dire especially in rapidly growing urban centres such as Hindi where you find households being managed by children as young as 13 years old,” he decried.
According to World Vision Kenya, child negligence has consequently led to high rates of school drop outs among children in Mokowe, Hindi, Mpeketoni and even Witu which has also had the domino effect of affecting primary school transition rates to secondary school among children in the county.
Mkoba further revealed that there was a specific case of child neglect, where the NGO and social workers had to step in to rescue a family of four children in Hindi, abandoned by their mother with a 14 year old girl left as the sole bread winner.
“Child abandonment cases is the lead contributing factor for child prostitution and in this particular case, if we had not stepped in time to rescue the children and provide for them at Mokowe Arid Boarding school, who knows what would have happened?” posed the official.
He further divulged that it is not uncommon for most child negligence cases to have children who are afflicted and living with HIV and Aids, due to mothers’ slackness.
“As much as the national and county government has put in place tough sentences for those who defile children, with chiefs advocating against child abuse during public barazas there is need to create sensitization among local residents over the dangers of child negligence,” the coordinator added.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Lamu Children’s Officer Maxwell Titima who stated that the national government is committed in ensuring that all children’s rights are upheld as they are the future of our nation.
“Tough sentencing has led to a decrease in defilement cases, through efforts led by the police, courts and the children’s department, and we would like to urge Lamu residents to be on the lookout for children who may be suffering in their respective villages,” Titima stated.
He also noted that it was only by ensuring the safety of children, that the next generation’s future would be safeguarded.
By Amenya Ochieng