This, as the title suggests, was an event held for the media briefing on various matters affecting children in Kenya.

Among the key issues addressed by the panel was the effect of the long drought that engulfed the country on children. The End of Childhood report launched by the government on the first of June had drought as one of its key points that deteriorated the health and well being of children. It was suggested that the government had the responsibility to report to the media and children-based organizations on the progress of implementing the report.

Second was the nationwide strike involving doctors, teachers and nurses which occurred on different occasions. The quality of health was a major factor that affected children as a result of the doctors’ strike that began on the 5th of December 2016 and lasted over one hundred days, as well as the ongoing nurses’ strike. Many children kicked the bucket due to lack of health care from government hospitals countrywide. Among the deaths reported during the strikes were of newborn children who were born under unfavorable conditions due to the absence of doctors and nurses from hospitals. With regard to the teachers’ strike, the quality of education for children countrywide dwindled. Candidates for national examinations had their expectations for passing diminished as a result.

Third among the issues addressed was the access to quality education. Free Primary Education was reported to have hidden costs, which in all matters free is paradoxical. Why offer education for free to children yet parents still have to pay? It certainly defeats all FPE’s intents and purposes. County governments were urged to provide free Early Childhood Development Education services for all children in the country.

The fourth critical issue was that of violence against children. Innocent children fall prey to violence from those closest to them. These children feel that there is little the government is doing to curb violence. Among the major forms of violence against children are child marriages, sexual violence, and female genital mutilation. It was also of note that the 2017/2018 budget does not roll out finances to curb these forms of violence. In this aspect, the National government is tasked to develop a strategy to end violence against children and mobilize resources for the same.

On the other hand, child participation was a critical aspect on the children agenda. According to Article 10 of the Constitution, public participation is a national value, and public includes children. Children have the right to participate in forums that address their issues. However, the problem comes in when their capacity to participate is concerned. Estimates of 11 out of 100 children are considered to participate in child activities. The only way to increase this number is for both national and county governments to revise their budgets and provide avenues for child participation.

There were other issues that were raised, one being street children. It was noteworthy that street children cannot be singled out as a special group because any developments raised concerning the welfare of children are for all children collectively.

With all these in mind, the panel decided to strengthen the capacity to report on children by media houses and as such training for media houses was scheduled for 29th and 30 of June.



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