The Department of Children Services in Embu has intensified campaign against all forms of child abuse by raising awareness on how to prevent and report abuse cases.
County Children Services Co-ordinator Develyne Mundi said cases of child abuse in forms of neglect, child labour, defilement and female genital mutilation were still rife in the area calling for a paradigm shift to stop them.
Speaking Thursday during the International Day of the African Child celebrations at ACK St. Michaels Church in Makutano Town of Mbeere South Constituency, Mundi said the earlier approach of sensitizing parents and caregivers had proved not to be very effective.
He said some of the harmful cultural practices such FGM were being practiced with families devising new ways of sending teenage girls to neighbouring counties in the guise of visit to relatives for the cut.
“We have decided to now reach the children themselves to equip them with the knowledge of their rights and how to report cases of abuse to relevant authorities,” the Co-coordinator said.
He said through the National Helpline 116, children and adults could anonymously report cases of violence against children.
The officer said since the campaign started a week ago, they have been able to reach over 10, 000 children through school visits with the awareness messages in the campaign dubbed “Spot it, Stop it.”
He at the same time said cases of child labour were on the rise especially in Muguka farms in the dry parts of Mbeere South and North Sub-counties where parents were subjecting children to the hard labour of fetching water for the herbs, weeding as well as harvesting denying them time to study.
“We want to tell parents that any work denying children education or beyond their capacity was child labor,” Mundi cautioned.
Mwea Assistant County Commissioner David Mukung who was the guest of honour during the celebrations reiterated the government’s commitment in rooting out these harmful practices.
He however said this could only be achieved through real-time information sharing with authorities when cases of abuse happen.
Meanwhile, Loitoktok Sub County Children officer has issued a stern warning to people who are subjecting children to child labour.
While speaking to KNA, Denis Njoroge lamented that subjecting children to child labour and other harmful practices affected them negatively and the effects were manifested later in their lives.
Njoroge also condemned the practice of Female Genital Mutilation which to some degree prevails in the sub County.
By Samuel Waititu