Children lobby for the rights of Every Last Child in Kenya
Save the Children in Kenya launched the new global campaign ‘Every Last Child’ during the 2016 Kenya Children’s Assembly (KCA) on Tuesday 26 April 2016 in partnership with UNICEF.
The event which was attended by representatives from the Kenyan government, UNICEF, media and other NGOs provided an ideal platform to highlight the challenges and progress made in ensuring that all children have the right to participate in the society.
David Wright, Save the Children’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said: “It is not an accident that discrimination is preventing some of the most vulnerable children from accessing life-saving services – these children are being systematically left out by design or neglect.”
During the launch, children led a press briefing where they shared the goals and objectives of the campaign while articulating barriers and challenges in their respective counties. They also outlined their ASKs for the national and county governments
Habon Ahmed Abdullahi a 17-year-old girl from Wajir County said: “Girls get married at tender ages to men old enough to be their grandpas. You get a girl of 10 years married to a 50-year-old man. She can refer to him as her grandfather and is her husband at the same time. It seems our community does not care for the girls. It is common to find girls looking after cattle and goats while the boys are in school. The cattle and goats are used to pay school fees for the boys while the girls are left neglected”
“There is still a lot of under representation of the female gender in parliament and national offices-therefore there is need to continue to support girls to come up. However, boys are now being forgotten and if marginalization of boys continues, boys will now be marginalized by 2030,’’ said Evans Omondi, the outgoing KCA president
Myrsha a delegate from Marsabit county said: “Since the Garissa terror attack, children have suffered, teachers have fled the North East region, and children are really hurting from lack of teachers.’’
In Kenya the campaign targets and the most excluded children living in the Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASAL) and in urban slums. Working in partnership with UNICEF, Save the Children is calling on decision-makers at the household, local, national and international levels to ensure that all barriers that prevent these children from accessing life-saving services are eliminated.
Daniel Baheta, Chief of Education at UNICEF said “Rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. Public and govern]ent attitudes must change to enable the country’s most marginalized children to access healthcare, food and the education that they need and deserve. This will put Kenya on the right path to attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which promise to ‘Leave no Child Behind’ by 2030.”
Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and East African Affairs says: “The Government of Kenya has robust policies and legal provisions in place to guarantee access to services for all, but we need to continue working together with UNICEF, Save the Children and other partners collaborating with the Government to close gaps in implementation.”
On the same day, children participated in a voting exercise to elect officials who will represent then in their parliament from 2016-2018. Save the Children organized a cocktail where approximately200 children and 200 adults had informal chats after the voting exercise.
Campaign launched at field level:
Our Bungoma office held a public “baraza” (gathering) led by children. The occasion was graced by members of the county assembly of Bungoma County, partners and children. The children of Bungoma were adamant that their county government must view them as significant players in the county decision making processes. The Bungoma County Assembly Speaker committed to ensure that child participation is made integral at the county level.
Children in the Dadaab refugee camps participated in a one day children assembly session which brought together children zboth in and out of school to express their views on barriers and challenges they face
The launch in Wajir coincided with the launch of Common Program Framework for Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE). Save the Children hosted 30 children to the occasion where they had an opportunity to speak to the county leadership on what they see as steps needed to help them thrive. The event was presided over by the Governor of Wajir County H.E Governor Ahmed Abdulahi. Every last child messages were echoed very well in a poem recited by children from Shibli primary school.