PROTECT A CHILD TODAY! TOMORROW IS TOO LATE!
Child abuse is a reality and a major concern in Kenya that cuts across all sectors at all levels. The ever growing numbers of street children, the painful stories of child trafficking and sexual violence are all experiences that leave children with live long scares and with fears of uncertain future and lost opportunities. Studies (National survey 2010) also indicate that girls ages between 5-16 are deemed to be most vulnerable to sexual violence and that the abuse often happen in familiar environment by persons known to them and who is often charged with their care and protection. The recent media reports of over 100 teachers having violated their pupils in primary schools are all heinous acts of evidence that care and protection of the Kenyan child needs special attention through strategic national and county government response.
While we recognize efforts made by communities, NGOs, cooperate and government to address the well being of children and vulnerable families, it is evident that systems are overwhelmed by the increasing demand for care and protection and now need strategic policy guidance and partnership response.
The Thika Court Users Committee (CUC) which was established in 2001 is a collaborative effort of key actors drawn from public bodies in the criminal justice system and Civil Society all working on prioritized agenda –i.e.; improved justice for children. This effort complements Government’s commitment to protect children’s rights as stipulated in the constitution and the Children’s act.
WEM Integrated Health Services (WEMIHS), a Kenyan NGO established in 1998, is committed to continue making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and households most affected by poverty and disease. The organization has reached over 15,000 beneficiaries in marginalized semi-arid and the poor rural areas of Kenya. While vulnerable children are the largest beneficiaries of WEMIHS programs the achievements are realized through strategic partnerships.
WEMIHS continue to play a role in facilitation and strengthening community support and advocacy for child protection. As a member of the CUC, WEMIHS played a key role in the refurbishment and Launching of the Children’s Court.
This partnership culminated in the inauguration of the Thika Children’s Court on June 16th, 2015. The court was opened by the Honorable Deputy Governor G. Githinji, and was graced by a representation of key actors from National and County level.
The collaborative action is a call for increased commitment to child protection in Counties and the need to leverage on local partnerships. “It is my responsibility to protect a child today! Tomorrow is too late!
Wairimu Mungai – Executive Director WEMIHS