Setting up Child Protection Advocacy Groups in Nairobi

The Month of March was a busy one for us at Child Aid Organization Kenya. Our last month’s community sensitization meeting in Thigio – Kikuyu where we helped build the local capacity on child protection, we had requests from two communities in Nairobi to talk with parents. We held two separate community sensitization meetings with key duty bearers (pastors & local women group leaders) in two locations in Nairobi.  The first meeting was held in Soweto at Soweto Social Hall on 14th March 2015. A total of twenty participants (17 women and 3 men) were in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate, and to come up with solutions – as a community, on how best the residents of Soweto could participate in protecting their children from engaging in risky behaviors such as  prostitution/pornography, alcoholism, drug abuse and gang activities. There are numerous reports from this area that children get sexually abused in video dens and massage parlous that are springing up in the slum area. It was resolved that an advisory committee be established to act as a watch dog and CAOK to hold regular meetings with this committee to build their capacity in child protection – especially against sexual violence of children.

SAM_0620 Workshop

The second meeting was held in parklands at Hospital Hill Primary School Hall on Saturday, April 28th 2015. A total of 15 parents (all female parents) were in attendance. The theme of the meeting was “positive parenting”. Reports from this school indicate that parents and children do not engage in positive communication – either because the parents are too busy to eek a living hence not creating enough family time with their children – and children needing their “space”. Our staffs made a presentation on how children as young as 12 years old, sometimes even younger get lost into sexual exploitation. Dysfunctional families were cited as a fertile ground for such vices to happen. We shared child protection resources; including some of our campaign materials with the parents. Short video clips elicited group discussions. It was agreed that participants form a child protection group meeting regularly to feedback on their progress and to also help to hold discussions with other parents’ during the school’s parents’ and teachers’ association termly meetings.

We anticipate that the two sensitization meetings will contribute to stopping violence against children and women (who are the most probable victims) in these two areas; contribute to a more sensitized local community of the forms of modern slavery existing and how they can protect their children from falling prey of these vices within these urban settings.

We also encouraged these groups to liaise more with existing child protection strengths/structures that have been set up by their local governments and where none exist, lobby for their formation.

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