A Nation’s Future Depends On Her Children

By Kevin Anyonge

Children’s Charter to the Government of Kenya,Nairobi County

The 1347 children from Nairobi County expressed their opinion to the government representatives of Nairobi County. Postcards were collected with their views of being a Kenyan citizen, their concerns and expectations from our government.

 

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What made them proud?

Children are proud young citizens of the country. Over 48% of them mentioned at least one thing that makes them proud. There were many things that made them proud, but the most important of them all was of being a Kenyan citizen. The second most important thing for them was a peaceful environment. About half of them recognize these two as a source of their pride. They also appreciated the government providing free education.

What their concerns were?

However, they also had concerns that made them sad about our county. Insecurity in our communities is the most common source of concern for them. 14% of them were concerned about child abuse as well as corruption. Other main concerns included insecurity in the community, street children and child labour.

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What they expected leaders to do?

10% of them had no expectations from the government. Most of them (36%) had just one (1) expectation. Only 10% of them mentioned four or more expectations. Most of their expectations were around leadership and governance. They also expected improvements in their access and quality of education. They go to school, but many of their fellow children cannot go to school. They need more classrooms for them.

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In an eventual way to ensure children voices are heard various counties have been at the forefront of launching the children charter that presents issues raised by the children on what affects them and recommended  on what should be done by the County governments. The counties that have recently launched the children charter are Wajir, Nyeri, Turkana, and Bungoma among many others

Today’s edition of Children charter launch happened in Nairobi County where children representatives converged and raised issues affecting them. In attendance where the county government officials, Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris and June Ndegwa member of the county assembly.

Ms. Passaris pledged that the county will work together to ensure issues raised in the charter are well addressed and implemented, she further echoed that this initiative is a brilliant idea  on how the government spends money by teaching the young that money is important.

She also dispelled the notion that money is the root of all evil by saying money is a gift, it is an ability for us to trade, it is the ability for us to improve our lives, and it is the ability to do good. We can improve our world, Infrastructure food and clothes.

June Ndegwa through her support towards the children by assuring them she will push for the children act implementation in the county assembly, she said a right is something that children deserve it cannot be taken away. She further said,she will initiate a program in collaboration with children in an effort to mentor them in the right ways.

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Photo//Kevin Anyonge//Member of County Assembly, Hon. June Ndegwa-Nairobi County taking note of  challenges raised by the children representatives.

The children in Nairobi County raised the following issues that included;

  • Poor and Inadequate Housing –The duty bearers who include government agencies, non-governmental agencies, land owners and the general public are not implementing the laws put in place to govern proper housing and hence the menace of inadequate and poor housing. We ask the government to take measures to ensure that the laws put in place are followed strictly.

 

  • Slow or no response to children issues-We note that child abuse/violence issues are not being adequately responded to although they are being aired out. Children being the larger percentage of the population should be placed as first priority in taking response to abuse and violence.

 

  • Inadequate funding – We as children feel like the government has not adequately funded children services at the county and national level. This include ending violence against children, quality education, and health care and talent development.

 

  • Inadequate platforms of child participation– We as children have not been give adequate space to participate in decision making on matters affecting us, including planning and budgeting process at the county and national levels.

 

The children further gave recommendations in solving the issues that included;

  • To strengthen child participation platforms in the county, this will result to increased planning and budgeting of children issues in county government CIDP and budgets;

 

  • To allocate more police stations and also ensure adequate patrol police to reduce high rate of crime. This will help children have confident and future.

 

  • To allocate more funds in children services including bursaries and child welfare services.

 

  • To review the county transport bi laws to include safety of children in public transport and school vans.

 

  • To adopt renewable energy best practices that will end the regular power blackouts

Passaris cited that corruption has derailed on how to maximize on resources that are allocated on funds usage.

The disabled children were featured among the issues raised, tackling this issues Ms. Ndegwa said there is food program to the disabled children which has been rolled out in schools in Kibera and Mathare, while plans are underway expand the food program to more schools within Nairobi.

Health that is vital to every individual,it was highlighted as it was a center of focus, MS. Ndegwa remarked that there is Sakaja Care,where a card will be provided to households for parents and children who are residents of Nairobi to seek free treatment in hospitals, it targets about 486,000 households. 

Table. Ten most frequently cited expectations
Expectations Number of children % of children
Build more classrooms 205 14.84
Improve security in the 200 14.48
Provide books 161 11.66
Improve security at school 108 7.82
Build more schools 68 4.92
Provide free education at 57 4.13
Provide security 48 3.48
Provide children with 38 2.75
Protect children rights 36 2.61
Assist the needy 33 2.39

Join the Conversation on twitter #ChildCharterKE

Kevin Anyonge is a Producer and Writer at Mtoto News

Mtoto News is an online platform of news, information and resources that aims at making significant change in the lives of children by making them visible. Read mtotonews.com  or follow us on twitter and Facebook @mtotonews

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