State and non-state partners have been urged to collaborate to curb the increasing number of street families in the country.
Speaking during a public participation forum on The National Policy on Rehabilitation of Street Families at ELCK Lutheran Bible College in Kapenguria, Alex Masibo, the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund board member called for collaborative efforts towards addressing street families menace across counties.
Masibo said with Covid-19 coupled with other challenges, the number of street families could be higher than 46,639 recorded in a 2018 survey. “These cases arise because of calamities among other push and pull factors such as poverty, poor parenting and loose social fabrics among other issues,” he disclosed.
He appealed to county governments to ensure they take the issue of street families seriously adding, “These street families are our own therefore let us own them. If we do not address them then they will begin to be recruited into petty and even major crimes.”
He added that if these people are not rehabilitated and reunited with their families, they could even cause political instability since some politicians misuse them to drive their selfish agenda.
Masibo stated that despite the county having the lowest number according to the 2018 survey, there was need to prevent the street families from increasing and address those already on streets.
“Other countries have done it and there are no street families in their towns. As a board we are committed to the task although this phenomenon must take a multi-sectoral approach for us to succeed as a country,” he maintained.
The government is in the final course to formulate a policy meant to address rehabilitation of street families through what is called alternative family care where the priority is to shift from children homes to family and community care.
Masibo regretted that some charitable institutions had turned street children into cash cows hence the reason the government directed the institutions to host the children for a reasonable time of six months. The board member explained that street families are a global phenomenon with Africa being adversely affected.
According to data in the draft policy, the counties with the highest concentrations of street persons include Nairobi City with 15,337, Mombasa 7,529, Kisumu 2,746, Uasin Gishu 2,147 and Nakuru 2,005 with most of them being males at 72.4 percent and females at 27.6 percent. A majority of the street families are youth at 45.3 percent followed by children at 33.8 and older persons at 2.4 respectively.
By Richard Muhambe