Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is in the process of rehabilitating green spaces and playgrounds across the city to provide recreational arenas and playgrounds for children for their social development and environmental protection.
Director General Nairobi Metropolitan Services Lt. Gen. Mohammed Badi said NMS continues to partner with both the national and county governments and well-wishers to find mechanisms and lasting solutions to street children and families as one of its many interventions to ensure the safety of children.
Badi urged all Kenyans and entities that protect children to ensure that they are protected from all forms of discrimination among them female genital mutilation, sexual molestation and early marriages.
The Director General made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Joy Nzioka an official from NMS on Thursday during celebrations to commemorate the Day of the African Child -2022 themed ‘Eliminating Harmful practices affecting children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013’ held at YMCA Shauri-Moyo grounds in Kamukunji Constituency, Nairobi.
The Day of the African Child is commemorated on June 16 every year since 1991 when it was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity in honour of the children who participated in the Soweto uprising, South Africa in 1976 where hundreds of students marched in protest against apartheid and education injustice and inequality were brutally massacred by police.
Badi said the struggle of the massacred children has made the African child today to have an opportunity to enjoy basic and fundamental rights stipulated in the UN charter for the rights of children.
“Even though we are yet to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for universal rights of African child, we continue to advocate and pursue these goals for the realisation of the same,” stated Badi.
He reaffirmed the tremendous strides the country has made in the protection of the rights of children, as well as ensuring equality and access to quality education which he noted can be seen with the rolled out 100 per cent transition campaign of all learners who sit Kenya Certificate for Primary Education to join secondary education.
“With the introduction of Competency Based Curriculum to replace the 8-4-4 system, every child will have an opportunity to explore more on their skills and talents which are crucial in the digital era,” said Badi,
He said since the inception of NMS, remarkable strides have been made in creating better health care for children and mothers in the city through the construction and rehabilitation of 28 hospitals of which 15 have been commissioned, adding people in the informal settlements are now enjoying appropriate health care services.
Badi said “These hospitals have gone a long way to helping our mothers and their kids access proper, effective and efficient health care, something that was never possible until NMS took up the mantle”.
He added that NMS is also focusing on environmental protection, water, and proper sanitation to create a clean, hygienic learning environment in our schools.
Nairobi County Coordinator Children Services Hoyd Isadia, said the Department of Children Services has come up with a campaign strategy dubbed ‘Spot it, Stop it’ to sensitise communities on how to deal with various forms of child abuses that children encounter in society.
He said defilement and gender based violence cases are rampant in Nairobi, an issue he noted requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders to eliminate.
“Cases of defilement are very common in Nairobi, and that is why we have most primary schools with child mothers. This number increased during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Isadia.
The County Children Coordinator said children rescued from defilement incidents are taken to health facilities for treatment of which the evidence is reserved for purposes of justice to be used against the perpetrators for severe punishment within the law.
Isadia however, noted that most cases of defilement are unreported because the perpetrators are well known to the children.
“We are working closely with police officers who follow up cases and ensure that investigation officers do better reports and ask volunteers to give evidence for justice to be done,” he said adding that the children department is also working with partners who provide counseling support to children.
Speaking at the event, the Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan said there is need for each country to have adequate children and police officers handling children which were on the rise in Nairobi County.
The event was also attended by the Kamukunji Deputy County Commissioner Samuel Kariuki among others.
By Bernadette Khaduli