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State urged to enhance child protection efforts

The World Vision Global Advocacy and Development Organization and the National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK), have urged the government to ramp-up its child protection initiatives.

Officials from the two bodies made these remarks at Jumuiya Center in Limuru, Kiambu County, while speaking at a ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to join forces in protecting children against abuse.

“Kenya is a leader in developing policies and legislation meant to ensure the wellbeing of children. We urge the government to heighten its actions towards actualizing these policies,” the National Director of World Vision, Lillian Dodzo ,said in a press conference after the signing of the MOU.

The NCCK General Secretary, Chris Kinyanjui, who spoke before the signing ceremony welcomed the cooperation, saying that the MOU was critical in the campaign against child abuse.

“The signing of the memorandum will enable us to implement the strategies and programmes that have been recommended to us by the programmes committee,” Kinyanjui said.

A Board member of World Vision Kenya, Professor Peter Ngure representing the Chairperson on his part called on the government not to reinstate corporal punishment in schools.

“Let’s not revert to using violence against children in schools as it causes stress in children and research has shown that the vice may lead to loneliness, anxiety and depression which can culminate in suicide,” Ngure remarked.

He also expressed concern over what he termed as an excess load of school work which he said was heaping pressure on children in their various levels of learning.

Ngure implored on the Ministry of Education to work on strategies that would reduce the workload that the students were currently dealing with in their schools.

Through this partnership, the two institutions want to address challenges facing children such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriages, child pregnancies and sexual violence.

Data presented by World Vision officials revealed that one in two children have experienced violence with four out of ten female adults having experienced violence in childhood and five out of 10 male adults having experienced violence in their childhood.

The statistics also revealed that about 300,000 underage girls get pregnant annually.

World Vision and NCCK will be working with the Ministry of Interior in a collaboration between religious leaders at the grassroots and chiefs to offer training and knowledge on child protection.

The training will then be spread to other institutions such as Nyumba kumi and eventually to parents countrywide.

By Duncan Mutwiri

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