KENYA STREET CHILDREN PROJECT FOLLOW-UP REPORT SUMMARY
It is my pleasure to forward this summary of the report on the Kenya street children project conducted between September 2005 and December 2006.
The project involved needs assessment seminars held on 23rd, 24th and 25th November of 2005 in Kisumu, Kenya and on 29th November of 2005 in Kakamega, Kenya. The seminars brought together stakeholders in Nyanza and Western provinces of Kenya involved in child welfare with the goal of identifying intervention strategies on behalf of street children in Kisumu and Kakamega. The project also involved visits to children’s homes and rehabilitation institutions and individual interviews of social workers, police officers, government officials and randomly selected street children in Kisumu, Kakamega and Nairobi. The project has an on-going partnership with Baraka za Ibrahim Children’s Center in Nairobi, a school for rehabilitated street children.
This report is consistent with the project’s mission of getting children off the streets and protecting their human rights. I wish to implore upon you to appreciate that whereas we would like to see our children in schools and not on the streets, we cannot, however, afford to move in a rush and implement hurriedly-considered recommendations that do remove children off the streets, but nonetheless result in gross violations of their human rights. We must move with caution to ensure that the initiatives we implement will both remove the children off the streets and protect their human rights. The implementation must also be sustainable so as to stand the test of time.
The main causes of the problem of street children include poverty, problems at home or at school, street attractions and vulnerability. Seminar participants and interviewees alike recommended that the government should take the lead in coordination, supervision and monitoring of individuals and organizations involved in child welfare. The government should also take the lead in enforcing the Children’s Act 2001. Organizations involved in child welfare were also urged to engage in more proactive child advocacy, initiate screening programs for street children and training programs for the children and population at large. Such initiatives must involve child participation and work toward family reunification. The focus should be on the rural and peri-urban areas where most children originate.
A key recommendation was for the government through the Area Advisory Council (AAC) to fund and coordinate child welfare programs by ensuring an appropriate distribution of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other government funding to qualified child welfare programs. The government should also enact reporting requirements to ensure organizations involved in child welfare accurately report any non-government funding.
The project has proposed the establishment of a child resource and referral center in Kisumu, Kenya, to promote the rights and interests of children in Kisumu and to work closely with the government toward implementing the recommendations made herein.
I wish to personally thank the University of Minnesota’s Upper Midwest International Human Rights Fellowship Program that sponsored this project, the International Leadership Institute (ILI) (host organization for the project), the Children’s Legal Action Network (CLAN), the Kenya Children’s Department, together with all the individuals and organizations that participated in this project. I am committed to working with you toward the common goal of getting children off the streets and protecting their human rights. This seems like a monumental task, but I am fully convinced that we can work together to better protect our children.
To obtain the full report please email me at email@example.com.