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Children’s services requires more collaboration, official says

For children’s cases of abuse to be holistically and appropriately addressed and to ensure restoration of child rights, there is need for smooth coordination, proper flow of resources and application of expertise, Duncan Ngeno Monday said.

Ngeno, the Bomet Children’s Officer, said the need for proper networking between actors in promotion of children’s rights is paramount and that there were specific challenges that needed to be addressed.

Ngeno said many cases of child abuse ranging from sexual assault, violence against children, children neglect and labour to involvement of children in peddling of illegal drugs, ended prematurely due to failure by actors to play their roles.

He said departments such as Education, Internal Security, Religious Institutions, Nongovernmental Organizations, the Judiciary among others, were charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights of children.

“Bomet faces a myriad of challenges regarding protection of children rights. We lack important facilities such as rescue centres, rehabilitation centres and our police stations lack children protection units,” he said.

“Case management requires proper networking; that is knowing who does what and where. It is a continuum of care and services that requires timely response and conclusive resolution of cases,” he said.

The official said the County has witnessed lack of co-operation between government agencies saying the same has often led to failure to prevent perpetrators of children abuse from continuing with the infringement of children rights.

While giving the Judiciary as an example, Ngeno said that cases took very long time in our courts and the same has often discouraged witnesses and wears off the complainants.

He said should there have been a way victims received instant justice while suspects got timely and prompt sentences, then the same would serve to deter future cases.

The police were also put on the spot as having a history of accepting bribery in order to thwart the course of justice.

Ngeno asked the police to be friendlier to the public because they were not aware that wananchi viewed them as their oppressors and not enforcers of law and order.

He asked the clergy to use their pulpits to have information about the plight of children known saying the church served to guide the public on spiritual issues that he termed as the pillars of moral principles desired by all.

The official said pastors should not be concerned with filling their churches with members but instead should focus of how morally upright the society is.

On schools, Ngeno criticised some teachers whom he described as lacking in self-control to an extent of sexually exploiting learners whom they know were very vulnerable owing to their position of authority.

While condemning such teachers and calling for their culling, the official also warned school heads against colluding with indisciplined teachers to protect them from getting punished.

At the same time, Ngeno urged the Chiefs to be on the lookout and keenly follow up cases so as to avoid such cases from prematurely ending through Kangaroo courts.

He called on all actors across the board to pool their efforts towards protecting children’s rights saying the future not only depended on the children of today but also children whose parenting was found to be holistic and to the highest standards.

By Kipngeno Korir

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