4 February 2013

Kenya: Politicians Urged to Protect Children's Rights

A children's officer has asked aspirants to keep off schoolgrounds and stop using children in their rallies.

Speaking at a forum in Meru, the National Council for Children Services chairperson Hellen Waweru said children's rights must be safeguarded and politicians should take their campaigns to places like markets.

While highlighting the impact of child abuse in Meru, Waweru said the county reported 3,271 cases in the last seven months, of which 1,181 were child neglect.

The county has 706,261 children. Some 2,680 households are paid Sh2,000 monthly in the cash transfers programme for orphans and vulnerable children.

Some 27,724 children are directly benefiting from the government kitty whereas Aphia Kamili is taking care of 18,700 and the 18 charitable institutions in the county cater for 1,730 abused children.

"This tells us that children are a very unhappy lot. With the onset of the campaigns, many will be neglected and families will suffer too. We must speak about these issues", said Waweru.

The Director of the National Council for Children Services, Ahmed Hussein, said presidential aspirants should lie to Kenyans that they will offer free education and medical services but focus on realistic promises and what they will do for the children.

"Presidential candidates should not deceive us because we already have free primary and secondary education as well as medical services. Since 14 million people will be making decision for the 20.7 million children, let them tells us what they will do for these children," said Ahmed.

Ripples International director Mery Chidi asked the government to channel more funds to the Ministry of children services and called upon children organisations to lobby for the same.

She also called upon community organisations fighting for the rights of children to establish an adoption agency because people willing to adopt children find it difficult to complete the procedures as they rely on the agency in Embu.

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