Department moves to tackle cases of child abuse in county

The Children’s Department in Machakos County has partnered with Plan International, a Non Governmental Organization to help address challenges facing minors in the area.

The joint venture which is expected to run for the next one year will also rope in religious leaders, civil societies and relevant arms of government in expediting reporting of cases of abused and neglected children.

The Machakos County Children’s Officer, Salome Muthama told the media that the programme will initially co-opt the judiciary in planning and holding Court Users’ Association forums where stakeholders can have a chance to highlight pertinent issues affecting children in the region.

The sessions will be held every three to four times a week and will be presided over by a children magistrate.

We are grateful that Plan International has agreed to partner with us in raising awareness on the need to take care of our children through community mobilization strategies .We are also opening our doors to other NGOs and relevant stakeholders like the Interior Ministry and Judiciary to facilitate the success of this venture , said Ms Muthama.

Also targeted in the new drive are bodaboda operators majority of who have been accused of being behind a string of under-age pregnancies among school -going children.

The officer said the department wants to use such forums to sensitize rogue boda boda operators to desist from luring the minors into sexual activities in exchange for free rides.

She said the practice is slowly taking root in several parts in the county and said the government will do all in its power to ensure such suspects are brought to book.

Muthama also called upon religious leaders to take a leading role in the war against atrocities perpetrated on children at the local level owing to the fact that majority of affected families usually report such cases to the clergy instead of informing relevant security agents such as police.

We need to reach out to religious leaders at the village level to help us in identifying cases of minors undergoing any form of abuse. We need them to realise that any molested child needs legal redress and those involved in such vices are made to answer for their crimes, she added.

The Plan International Programme Implementation Manager, George Baridi on his part has lauded the department for the progress so far achieved in tackling the menace of child abuse in the county.

He said since the organisation set foot in the county a decade ago, cases of child abuse in their various forms have reduced drastically.

The officer cited Matungulu and Masinga as some of the areas within the county that have heeded the call of waging an all-out war against phaedopiles.

We thank the government agencies from the children’s department, police and the Nyumba Kumi (community policing initiative) for their wonderful contribution in taking the lead in fighting for the rights and welfare of children,’ he said.

As an organisation we are committed to joining hands with like �minded persons and stakeholders in coming up with similar initiatives that will help children lead meaningful and dignified lives as they pursue their lifelong dreams, he added.

Currently Plan International which is operating in six other counties is catering for the education of 150 children from poor backgrounds within Machakos.

Source: Kenya News Agency