As the 16 days of Gender-Based Violence activism gathers momentum in Nakuru County, more than 200 children were on Monday given tips on how to report cases of GBV.
The ceremony held at Hyrax Hills Museum of Kenya and attended by counsellors, human rights activists and medics from the Nakuru Level Five Hospital targeted children between the ages of 12-17.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in the cases of gender-based violence against children. Most of these cases, which occur in informal settlements, go unreported.
Most of the residents in the lower-income areas have lost their livelihoods and children have been caught on the crossroads as their parents struggle to put food on the table.
During the official launch, the President of Lions Club of Menengai Ms Rani Ramchandani said engaging the children was crucial as they are increasingly becoming victims of GBV at home.
"As Lions Club of Menengai we believe children are future foundation of the nation and must be protected against GBV and contracting coronavirus," said Ms Ramchandani.
Mr Cosmas Mutua, a member of Nakuru Child Rights Network said GBV is a critical issue that needs to be addressed in the cosmopolitan county.
"Our survey has revealed that children and particularly the teenagers undergo many forms of gender-based violence at home at and schools during this coronavirus pandemic period," said Mr Mutua.
Mr Mutua said that due to closure of schools many children have been sexually abused by adults.
"Top on the agenda as we launch the 16 days of Gender-Based Violence include the debriefing sessions, mental health, reproductive health as most of them are engaging in early sexual activities which might hinder their education and destroy their future," said Mr Mutua.
The teenagers were given tips to boost their self-esteem. Girls received sanitary pads while the boys received underwears and soaps.
The meeting was also attended by about 50 parents who participated in the activities by discussing some of the challenges they face at home.
"We invited parents because they play a critical role in the upbringing of their children but many of them have failed in their duties," said Mr Mutua.
Ms Lilian Amwonda, the Curator Hyrax Hills Museum said this year they deliberately targeted children as they are victims of GBV at home.
She said when children are together, they open up on the GBV incidents they undergo at home.
"Some of the challenges the children go through include strict measures by the parent to confine them at home during this covid-19 period and this has seen some of them escape from home which is even more dangerous," said Ms Amwonda.
A clinician at Nakuru Level Five Hospital Samuel Muturi Ngige said that due to surging numbers of Covid-19 there was need to incorporate children in the fight against the disease.