International Child Protection (ICP) Conference Comes To An End
The International Child Protection (ICP) conference came to a successful end on 10th August with the government committing to ensure children are protected.
Speaking during the closing ceremony, Principle Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Mr. Nelson Marwa said the Ministry will do all in its power to ensure that the recommendations of the conference are implemented. Mr. Marwa affirmed that children issues were very dear to the President of the Republic of Kenya and the First Lady.
To demonstrate his commitment, Mr. Marwa gave delegates his personal phone number, inviting them to report directly any incident trouncing a child. He promised to activate all systems to ensure that culprits are apprehended and severe action is taken. In his humorous manner Mr. Marwa warned those involved in crime against children to run, promising to soon catch up with them.
Presenting the call to action, conference coordinator Dr. Erick Ater expressed satisfaction that the conference objective had been achieved.
“The conference has identified gaps in child protection and this will be included in the child protection programming,” he observed, adding that the conference objective was to provide a platform for mobilizing, consolidating and linking exemplary child protection practices to research on children. He said priority areas identified for action included child trafficking, online child abuse and sexual abuse involving children, among others.
Justice Martha Koome intimated that the Judiciary was committed to clearing all the cases involving children, so that by January 2019 all children can go back to school. “Children belong to schools and homes, and not courts,” she stressed, further revealing that November will be declared a Judiciary month for children.
On behalf of children participants representing all 47 counties, The Governor of Nairobi Youth Assembly Brian Musyoki called on adults for support so that they too can contribute to the issues of child protection. “Create awareness on children online protection,” he entreated. Muysoki encouraged the organizing of seminars to help parents on how to relate with their children.
Earlier on during the opening ceremony on August 8, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Amb. Ukur Yatani underscored the need for countries to urgently respond to and mitigate the current complex circumstances that include climate change, unmitigated migration induced by conflict, and uncontrolled urbanization that expose children to vulnerability.
Hon. Yatani revealed that the Government of Kenya had put in place various measures geared towards mitigating vulnerabilities in the sector.
He added that through the Department of Children Services, the Government is supporting a total of 22,103 orphans and vulnerable children in boarding secondary schools by paying their school fees, worth Kes.30,000 per year each, and has also allocated, under the Presidential Secondary School Bursary Program, a total of Ksh.400 Million per year.
He further observed the Government has been at the forefront in advocating for child participation, which is one of the key pillars in the United Nations Convection on the Rights of the Child, for which Kenya is a Signatory.
Other interventions the Government has put in place include the development of online protection guidelines for children, parents, caregivers and educators; Guidelines for Alternative Family Care for Children; and guidelines for Area Advisory Councils (AAC) in line with the Constitution.
Making his remarks during a pre-conference media briefing held on August 6, the Ag. Vice Chancellor of Daystar University Prof. James Kombo said children faced tremendous challenges, some of which have to do with culture and institutions in which they are brought up.
“As a University, we endeavor to work towards developing children who are strong in character, and who will be able to bring influence in the society,” said Prof. Kombo.
Prof. Kombo welcomed the delegates to Daystar and appreciated the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection for choosing to hold the conference at Daystar University.
The Director of Children Services, State Department & Social Protection, Mr. Noah Sanganyi promised that the children’s contribution in this conference will go into the Ministry workplan for children. He also observed that the call to action of the ICP conference will be incorporated in the Ministry’s strategic plan to be launched soon.
The conference was co-sponsored by Daystar University through the School of Human and Social Sciences, the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, UNICEF, Plan International, Child Fund Kenya, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Christian Aid, MtotoNews, HealthIT, Bantwana World Education Initiative, African Institute of Children Studies (AICS), REPPSI and SOS Children’s Villages Kenya. It brought together Government and Policy makers, academicians, practitioners, researchers and children representatives from across Africa.
During the closing ceremony, the PS gave the honor of closing the conference to one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Edmund Foley, HoD Public Law GIMPA Law School, Ghana. In his closing remarks Dr. Foley called on participants to move from just making resolutions to providing solutions. “We do not want our children to ridicule us that we failed. As participants and facilitators we pledge to return home and make a difference,” he promised.
Besides the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Amb. Ukur Yattani, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Principle Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Nelson Marwa, who attended the entire three days, other key personalities who graced the conference include Daystar University Vice Chancellor Prof James Kombo, DVC Academic Affairs Prof. Bernard Boyo, former Chancellor Daystar University, Dr. Florence Muli-Musiime, the Director of Children Services, State Department & Social Protection Mr. Noah Sanganyi and Justice Martha Koome. It brought together 462 delegates from over 20 nations across the globe.