The second session of the Regional Psychosocial Forum after the opening of the KICC amphitheatre started brightly with a performance from children from Kerwa primary School. The girls (pictured) looked resplendent in their green T-shirts and white shorts as they sang songs about the need for protection of children.
This was followed by a plenary session chaired by Rose Kerubo Mokaya who works for USAID. The three speakers were Linda Lovick from FHI360 Mozambique, Martha Sunda from Child Line Kenya and Ahmed Hussein the director of children’s services in the government of Kenya.
The FHI360 is a 5 year USAID funded protect that is currently starting its fourth year. Linda Lovick explained that the programme is aimed at strengthening services for women and children, local based community organisations in Mozambique. The Community Care Program approach provides a promising model for lasting orphaned and vulnerable children.
The second speaker Martha Sunda spoke of her experiences with Childline Kenya. Childline Kenya operates the Childline Help line 116 service in Kenya in partnership with the government of Kenya. In her work she learnt that the average age of neglect is 6 years for sexes with more girls being neglected than boys.
She explained that while there have been successful there were challenges such as lack of capacity for those calling the lines.
She concluded by stating that Vision 2030, the Kenyan programme to see Kenya as a middle income economy by 2030, will not happen if when children are not safe.
The session ended with Ahmed Hussein the director of the Department of children’s services of the government of Kenya making his presentation. The government is advocating for right based and holistic approaches in child protection programmes.
There are many children at risk in Kenya with over 2.6 Kenyan million of them orphaned.
The government has started several initiatives including the ChildLine help line and this is accompanied by a safe house where children with their mothers can shelter in crisis situations.
The government is supplying over 153,000 families with monthly cash transfers to supplement their income a majority of them women led homes.