As Africa marked the Day of the African Child on 16th of June 2017, Save the Children Kenya joined other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and children for celebrations in Bungoma County, Western Kenya. Steered under the theme “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030", the event was attended by over 2500 children, the Principal Secretary of Social Services, senior officers from the Department of Children's Services and representatives from national and international NGOs.
The celebrations began with a procession led by children, including 14-year-old Joseph Kariuki (Kenya Children's Assembly Governor), who presented the End of Childhood report to the national leadership present at the event. The Children's Governor led children in giving their views on a postcard about what they expect from the decision makers, and this exercise will culminate in development of the children’s charter.
“I would like the Government of Kenya and all leaders responsible for children matters to support the children assembly which is a parallel assembly similar to the national assembly where forums are held to ensure children’s right to participation,” said Joseph
He added: “The government should also address the issue of drought in Northern Kenya and other parts of the country with children in mind and ensure the children have access to health services. Please consider providing the medicines for free or at least reduce their prices as many families cannot afford it due to high prices and high levels of poverty.”
Speaking on behalf of CSOs at the event, Save the Children Kenya's Country Director Duncan Harvey said: “In the ongoing drought response, the government needs to guarantee the provision of an essential package of health and nutrition services that saves lives, and protects and promotes the health of women, children and adolescents, taking into account their particular contexts and specific needs and vulnerabilities.” Responding to the call to action, the Principal Secretary for social services echoed the government’s commitment towards increased investment for children.
The Every Last Child campaign in Kenya has been working to attain two guarantees for children living in arid and semi-arid areas: fair financing to ensure increased public revenue towards health, education and accountability to children, and meaningful child participation in decision making processes.
Being an election year, Save the Children is focusing efforts on ensuring children are directly engaged in framing their priorities and pursuing their integration with the County Integrated Development Plan (five-year development plans for counties in Kenya) as a means to influence and monitor actual investments and programs implemented over the next five years. We are engaging children across Kenya’s 47 counties in a postcard campaign to gather their views on the actions that the new government need to take. This will ultimately lead to the creation of county specific children charters which will enable child-led delegations to negotiate their inclusion in the County Integrated Development Plan.