The United Nation on the Rights and of the Child (UNCRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child ACRWC the Children Act 2001 and the Kenya Constitution (2010) stipulates that children have the right to form and air views, conscience and religion, right to expression, right to thought, right to association amongst others. Participation, along with the right to survival, development and protection make the four principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Kenyan Constitution in the chapter on bill of rights also envisages aspects of Child participation in the rights for children.
The Kenya Children Assembly was established in 2011 and has since then acted as a unifying organ that brings all children from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. And as children interact, they learn to respect and appreciate their diversities. This also forms an opportunity to enhance cohesion and a sense of nationalism.More so, the Kenya Children Assemblies provide for an opportunity to communicate the Government policies and development plans down to children in the village and get feedback through the devolved structures. Similarly, the recommendations and outcomes of debates at the Children Assemblies are channeled to the County Government and the Central Government.
“We (ICS) started supporting the Kenya Children Assembly in 2012,” said ICS’ Programme Officer Caroline Opondo. “We believe the assembly serves as a unique platform that gives children the confidence to air out their issues and as such we need to tap into their views on how best we can end violence against children.” Besides offering logistical support, ICS was part of the facilitators offering mentorship in this year’s mentorship forum. The forum brought together the KCA leaders, including the Kenya Children Assembly president, the secretary to the cabinet, the speaker, cabinet secretaries and their chaperons.
Besides the sit-down sessions that included topics such as developing personal vision, self-awareness, goal setting and career development, role of child leadership, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, the KCA members also got to visit Mavoko Law courts where they learnt how children cases are handled in the courts. They also got a chance to ask questions on the court processes. Next stop was Athi River police station where the Officer Commanding the Police Station (OCS) Mr. Peter Kiema took the KCA members through the role of police and how children cases are handled by police. The KCA members then headed to Bondeni Rescue Center where they got to interact with other children.
Overall, this year’s KCA mentorship forum was a huge success with ICS receiving loud applauses from the DCS’, chaperons as well as from KCA members for their unrelenting support in ending violence against children. And in a move to have even more children involved in the Kenya Children Assembly forums, ICS recommended that the KCA forums should be devolved to the county level.
As we celebrate mother’s day 2018, we highlight the role of women in leadership through Merceline Anyango Okech, a young woman aged 24 who is one of the beneficiaries of the DREAMS CORE project >>