Today, nations globally converge to mark World Children's Day 2023 under the theme "Inclusion for Every Child." This crucial day prompts reflection on progress in safeguarding children and emphasizes the need to fortify measures against the challenges they face.
Since 1989, World Children's Day has been observed every 20th November following the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Kenya, among the pioneering African nations to ratify this vital convention, continues to uphold the rights of children through legislation such as the Children Act, 2022.
With children constituting nearly half of the country's population, Kenya recognizes that investing in their well-being is tantamount to securing the nation's economic prosperity. The government's commitment to the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda and Vision 2030 underscores the priority given to children's interventions.
Healthcare access is a focal point, with the Universal Health Coverage prioritizing primary healthcare, ensuring children benefit significantly. Simultaneously, strides have been made in universal free primary education, a crucial pillar for the future.
Acknowledging that every child deserves a name and nationality, parents and caregivers are urged to ensure registration. The emphasis on child participation, manifested through initiatives like the Kenya Children Assembly, highlights the importance of involving children in decisions that affect them.
The fight against violence on children takes center stage, with the National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence Against Children (NPRP) and the "SPOT IT STOP IT" campaign. Cultural practices harmful to children, like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, face government opposition through community engagements and targeted programs.
Kenya's proactive approach to combating online child exploitation positions it as a pioneer in Africa, backed by a National Plan of Action. Recognizing the challenges faced by children in conflict with the law, the establishment of the Standing Committee on the Administration of Justice for Children aims to enhance the child justice system.
Addressing the well-being of children in care, the National Care Reform Strategy 2022 – 2032 aims to transition children from institutional to family and community care. Launching Transitioning Guidelines and Child Welfare Programmes Guidelines align with this agenda, emphasizing family and community support.
In a bid to enhance child protection services, the Ministry announces plans to recruit additional Children's Officers and Social Development Officers while strengthening the operations of the Child Help Line 116. Regulations underpinning the Children Act 2022 are on track for finalization this financial year, signaling Kenya's unwavering commitment to the well-being and rights of every child.
By: Selly Muhonja - PCO