Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Taking child protection forward

 As a key player in children's matters in the region, the Happy House was invited to a high profile meeting attended by Sweden's Ambassador to Kenya at the Child Protection Centre in Malindi.
The Ambassdor, His Excellency Johan Borgstam and the Unicef country representative, Kanyankore Marcel Rudasingwa, were at the meeting to see for themselves the centre which opened in 2010 following a three-party agreement between Unicef (the main funding body), the Kenya Government and Malindi Municipal Council.
The centre, a pilot project for Kenya, is a one-stop shop to tackle all issues of child abuse or neglect.
Mama Sue and our social worker Uncle Billy were delighted to have an opportunity to be there as Uncle Billy reports: 
"The CPC has now reached a crucial stage whereby  measuring its impact on the immediate locality and environs was necessary, hence the task force went out of their way on a fact finding mission. 
After implementation of a project it is pertinent that the merits and  maybe the weaknesses   entirely  must  be interrogated in order  to chart the way forward in achieving the most desirable results.
 In his report district children’s officer  Eric Mugaisi noted that,the centre has solved a massive case load of children issues owing to the increased awareness and  quality improvement on service delivery.
Lots of benefits have been noted, a fact  which was echoed by the district education offficer Chai  Abdalla who said that  in the wake of the CPC operation, more girls arfe being retained in school unlike in the past when many girls dropped out of school  through  negative effects of n tourism such involvement in commercial sex tourism.
Others were victims of the societal repugnant cultures such as early /forced marriages of young girls barely in their  puberty have been considerably reduced,including defilement and incest cases.
 However, it was found out that the out-reach programme needed to  be explored since the geographical location of the centre wasn’t accessible to all.
 Mama Sue raised the need to have strengthened mobile units that could go into the interior to create more awareness as well as offer direct services as well as empowering the local communities to be on their guard in reporting and mitigating child abuse cases.
 The efforts generally called for a multi-disciplinary approach whereby the police, judiciary, volunteer children officers, health workers, child counsellors, children's lawyers would all be dispatched to the most hidden areas so as to aid the existing  structures in tackling problems.
 Mama also lamented on the generational problems that needed to be addressed through educating the communities on best practices such as family planning as well as abolishing corporal punishment to children even after the perpetrators claim  justification of undergoing the same in their childhood through their parents and next of kin.
 There is a dire need to have a  paradigm shift on the way the society looked at children as voiceless beings who were there to be seen and not to be heard.
 Eventually there was an unanimous agreement that the centre was headed in the right direction and hence the  request for the extension of funding so as tothoroughly cover the unexploited areas.
 It was a major privilege for Mama and I to attend that meeting as I have been longing  for her company in such forums not only  as my great mentor but also as a  great resource person and a true servant for Kenyan children.''