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Talk box to address children’ plight

A Non-Governmental Organization(NGO), International Committee for the Development of People (CISP), has developed talk boxes and child rights clubs in various schools in Kakamega, where children can express their concerns they want addressed.

CISP’s programme Manager, Esther Waduu, said child rights clubs are impactful and are changing children’s behaviors and their understanding about child rights.

“The clubs are helping these children to know where to seek help and ensure their rights are protected and are on the forefront in reporting cases of infringement of their rights,” she noted.

They also exchange ideas through peer to peer sessions in the clubs, enabling them to go beyond their schools to train other children on life skills.

“It is very important in building the confidence of children to speak-up when they are abused,” she noted.

Talk box is a system, where children are given a voice to report issues affecting them by dropping a piece of paper containing their complaints or issues inside the box.

A Committee consisting of a parent representative, a teacher, a child protection officer and a counsellor opens the box on a monthly basis, goes through the concerns raised and directs them to various departments for action to be taken.

“We encourage the children to approach their teachers especially on matters which need urgent or immediate intervention since if dropped in the talk box which is opened monthly, interventions may be delayed,” he pointed out.

Waduu was speaking during a training on Child Sensitive Journalism, for selected local journalists in Kakamega.

CISP rolled out a program on Safe Communities for safe children and adolescents in Kenya in 2019 and is training journalists to be part of the stakeholders in advocating for behavior change and adoption of best practices in child protection.

The Main components of the project are prevention of child abuse, child participation and empowerment, response to cases and participatory research and advocacy.

“Since we started we have had so many cases reported and many children have been supported whether with school materials or being able to access alternative justice systems. Others have been referred to alternative care where the family is abusive at home,” she noted.

The Organization is partnering with Kenyatta University, Matungu Rural Poverty Alleviation(MARP), Kenya National Outreach, Counselling and Training Program(K-NOTE), County Government of Kakamega, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.

In addition, CISP has partnered with a private company in Italy to develop a Service Providers Management System (SPMS), to map out all children services providers for easy access and delivery of services.

“With a click of a button a person will be able to obtain information of all service providers in the two counties, their telephone numbers and their location,” she added.

She said the organization is receiving positive feedback from the administration on the role the talk boxes are playing in shaping the behavior of children in schools.

By Moses Wekesa

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