Scores of journalists from Turkana county undertook a training aimed at building their capacity to help end violence meted on children in a forum convened under the auspices of joining forces alliance for children in Kenya.
The two days meeting organised by world vision Kenya sought to build the capacity of journalists to better understand reporting on violence meted on children as well as to understand laws that protect children against abuse.
Among the issues that the journalists were trained on include international and domestic laws that protect children rights and guidelines for media reporting on children.
The objective of the project is to ensure that children and adolescents experience reduced levels of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
It specifically aims to strengthen national and local protection and response system, improve protection of children living in resilient families, communities and institutions.
Additionally, the project aims at increasing the capacity and agency of children themselves to prevent and respond to violence against them and also increase the learning and sharing of knowledge and best practices related to child protection approaches during the covid19 crisis and recovery phase.
Various reports indicate that children experienced alot of abuse especially when schools were closed during the pandemic with thousands of early pregnancies reported across the country.
The project kicked off in August 2020-August 2023 and is also being implemented in other countries including Mali, Uganda, Senegal. In Kenya the project is currently being implemented in Nairobi, Turkana, Busia and Bungoma counties.
In Turkana county, it is being implemented in Kakuma, Turkana west sub county.
Addressing the meeting via zoom on Friday, joining forces alliance for children in Kenya spokesman Elijah Bonyo underscored the need for media engagement in highlighting violence against children.
Bonyo pledged that the alliance would work with the media to help reduce violence against children.
“The media is a very important stakeholder and we shall be engaging journalists in our activities,” said Bonyo.
He noted that resource allocation is a major challenge adding that the alliance is lobbying the county and the national government allocate adequate resources for children protection issues.
“The media needs to interrogate the budgets prepared by county and national governments to see whether child protection issues are given priority,” said Bonyo.
He said that a civil society the organisation participates in budget advocacy terming it as a continuous process.
“The citizens have a right to ask the government what resources are allocated for child protection issues, ” he said citing the national treasury, the department of children services and the ministry of education as key players.
During the forum, it emerged that the department of children services is understaffed with only three officer manning the entire county.
The officers are not able to adequately handle the workload especially with the presence of refugees in Kakuma which brings an additional burden of children with unique issues that must be addressed.
At least 56 journalists participated in the two days event held at Stegra hotel.
By Peter Gitonga