The 2nd International Conference on Child Protection in Africa, an event organized by the Government of Kenya in collaboration with various agencies was recently held at Daystar University in Nairobi. The conference which commenced on the 22nd of November and ended on 24th of November 2023 was geared by the fruition of the 1st of its kind that was held in 2016. With delegates drawn from 15 countries around the world guided by the theme “Ending Violence against Children: Evidence to Action”, a number of issues concerning safeguarding children’s rights were deliberated on.
Main objectives that drive the ICCP include:
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labor & Social Protection Hon. Florence Bore noted that over 50% of children today have faced at least one form of abuse calling on the protection of children from abuse and neglect that requires changing the practices at the communal level following a survey that was conducted in 2019 measuring the prevalence and nature of the consequences of physical, emotional and sexual violence.” Violence meted on children not only makes them victims but also makes them perpetrators of violence”, said the CS. The CS also mentioned that the ministry aims at strengthening the child operation plan .“To our children, we reaffirm our unwavering support to help you grow to achieve your full potential”, said CS Bore in her closing remarks.
Kenya Children’s Assembly President Samuel Smith called upon African leaders to continue enhancing democracy in a bid to bring peace and harmony in all African countries and address harmful practices affecting children in the communities.” As the children’s president, I would like to express my immense gratitude to my fellow children for finding time in a bid to address this critical issue, the most pressing issue of our time, violence against children”, said the KCA president. In their presentation, the children highlighted several forms of abuse they face notably: sexual harassment, corporal punishment, rape, poor parenting, political instability leading to break up of families, drug trafficking, depression and Gender Based Violence. Together, they presented a call to action recommending free counsellors for children in schools and communities, subsidy of school fees by the government, provision of bursary to the needy, countrywide school feeding program, ending harmful cultural practices among several other recommendations that were well received by state officials.
Delegates in attendance noted violence affecting a significant number of children around the world mostly happening in hidden and invisible parts of the world. Perpetrators of violence against children were realized to be people who are close to them including parents and the extended family. Key strategies to the success of advocating for children’s rights include: Advocacy & Communication, Evidence & Knowledge Management together with Gender and Transformation & Social behavior change.
The 3-Day Conference was culminated by a call to action from the Kenya Children’s Assembly and the Delegates of the 2nd ICCP that was presented to a member of National Council on the Administration of Justice, Honorable Justice Teresia Matheka.
The call to action includes:
“As the standing committee, we embrace and adopt the call to action both from the children and the conference. We promise to uphold and ensure we spearhead the implementation of the call to action.” said Justice Matheka while giving her closing remarks.
By Arnold Fedha.