As part of our contribution to making a significant impact on the well-being of children, World Vision is rolling out a five year global campaign to ending violence against children, in all its forms, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus of World Vision’s campaign in Kenya is to End Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Sexual Violence.
What is Violence against Children?
World Vision defines violence against children as all forms of physical, sexual and mental violence, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, harm or abuse, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour, cyber abuse and harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting and child marriage.
What is the Problem?
In Kenya, the data on Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGMC), Sexual Violence among others types of violence is worrying.
- One out of four girls in Kenya is married before her 18th birthday (UNICEF, 2014)
- The prevalence of FGM/C is 21 per cent for women aged 15-49 years (KDHS, 2014)
- Communities that practice FGM/C often do so, before the girls reach 18 years of age
- About 18 per cent of boys and 32 per cent of girls are reported to have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 (VAC Study, 2012)
Whereas, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 19 is clear that State Parties have an obligation to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of abuse, millions of children today remain victims of various types of violence, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or other persons, who care for the child.
As we put our energies in the implementation of programmes anchored on Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a time has come to strengthen partnerships and collaborations, more than ever before and ensure that the primary focus of our governance and development agenda is highly placed on improving the wellbeing of children.
We recognise that all children in Kenya, who make up over 50 per cent of Kenya’s current population, have a fundamental right to:-
- A name and nationality from birth
- Free and compulsory basic education
- Basic nutrition, shelter and health care
- Protection from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, i n h u m a n treatment and punishment and hazardous or exploitative labour
- Parental care and protection, which includes equal responsibility of the mother and father to provide for the child, whether they are married to each other or not
Despite some progress being made in Kenya towards the realisation of the above rights, there is still a greater need to rally the citizenry, political leadership, policy makers & policy implementers, the civil society organizations, faith based organization, the media, the business community and donors to “DO MORE” in the best interest of the child. And while so doing, the VOICE of the CHILD must also be heard.
To assist stakeholders intensify focus on prevention programmes and services, to end violence against children, World Vision guided by existing global evidence, is making the call for a more coordinated, comprehensive and multi-sectorial approach. We want to ensure that threats and vulnerabilities which children face in Kenya today, are eradicated. Our endorsement and recommendation to implement INSPIRE package below, will enhance the conversation in Kenya.
- Implementation and Enforcement of Laws that protect children
- Norms and Values that Promote Child Protection and Gender Equality
- Safe Environments for Children
- Parent and Care Giver Support for Children
- Income and Economic Strengthening for households and their families
- Response and Support Services for Children
- Education and Life skills for Children
This package is a set of seven strategies (or solutions) to ending violence against children developed by experts and led by the World Health Organisation.