Kenya celebrates 100 years of impacting children
Save the Children Kenya Country Office held celebrations with partners, donors, government officials and beneficiaries including children to celebrate 100 years. The event themed “100 years of impacting children” was attended by over 100 guests and officiated by the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Ministry of Labour & Social Protection- Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali. In his remarks Hon Bahari talked fondly about his Ministry’s relationship with Save the Children, and the work over the years to protect children’s rights.
“Save the Children in Kenya has amplified the voices of Children, and has worked in the most marginalized and deprived areas for the best interest of the child. Children have little to no say in the decisions that are being made that affect their rights and ultimately their future. I applaud your organizations efforts to support child rights participation and to your noble mission to reach every last child,” he said.
The event was also a launch of the Country Strategic Plan 2019-2021 that focuses the organization’s commitment to children on 6 strategic goals: maternal and child health, nutrition, education, child protection, livelihoods and Adolescents and youth.
“We want to be known as thought leaders on matters to do with children, and for responding consistently to humanitarian crises that affect children,” said Jane Mbagi Mutua, the Director of Program Development and Quality as she launched the Country’s strategic plan.
Save the Children was started by Eglantyne Jebb in 1919 to respond to children affected by the World War. Since then it has been the leading voice for the most marginalised and deprived children supporting children globally to survive, learn and be protected from harm.
“We have provided humanitarian and relief assistance targeting our efforts to protecting the rights and welfare of children in Kenya, said Wang Le, Country Director Kenya.
Beneficiaries from the Kangaroo Mother Care Program, Starehe Boys Center alumni and Youth from the Kenya Children’s Assembly talked about how they have benefitted from Save the Children programs.
“I have become a champion for mothers who have pre-term babies,” said Mary Wairimu as she showed off her set of twins who were born prematurely about a year ago. “When they see me they believe that kangaroo mother care works,” she said.
Starehe Boys Center was supported by Save the Children in the 1950’s through a sponsorship programme. The Chairman of the old boys’ alumni, Ken Miruka, thanked the organization for supporting needy children access education.
“Boys used to be admitted to school as they were, and you would get everything provided in school,” said Miruka. “I am grateful for the sponsorship that saw many of us complete our secondary school education.”
Miruka said that the old boys’ alumni now supports about 150 boys in the Center every year, and also lead the fundraising efforts for the school.
Youth from the Kenya Children’s Assembly who spoke during the event were also grateful for the platform that Save the Children and other child rights actors has given to children and young people to advance their rights and participation.
“Nothing for us without us,” said Brian Mutua Speaker of the Kenya Children’s Assembly reiterating how they have participated in shaping policies and legislations affecting children.
Save the Children together with other child rights actors are currently supporting the Department fo Children Services within the Ministry of labour and social Protection to review the 2001 Children’s Act, to ensure that there is a policy to address the needs of children and is in line with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The proposed legislation will go a long way in supporting children realize their rights. It will address the structural issues on administration of children services by clarifying the roles of various institutions including the directorate of children services, the national council for children services and most importantly the role of county governments in so far as children are concerned. It also has provisions that will ensure that children in conflict with the law are appropriately diverted from our criminal justice system. The new Act is in tandem with the global thinking that emphasizes on the need to take away children from institutional care and ensure that they grow up within family set ups.