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Orphaned And Vulnerable Taken For A Ride

Kisumu, April 18, 2011 – Today we reveal shocking revelations how Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in Western Kenya region have become a cash cow to unscrupulous people.

The idea is to milk them a dry in a contest of who makes the quick bucks, this is not mere speculation but a reality.

Stakeholders involved with Children issues have established.


Orphaned And Vulnerable Taken For A Ride


It’s on this strength that the stakeholders now ask the Government to put more stringent measures aimed at implementing the Children’s’ Act 2001 to the letter with a view to routing out such people, whose interest is to make money by capitalizing on the prevailing poverty situation.

Speaking frankly during a three day workshop on Children issues at Ukweli Pastoral Center in Kisumu County this week, a consultant on children issues, Mathenge Munene said briefcase NGOs, CBOs and FBOs who either traffic children or abused them in any way should be blacklisted.

Munene said such organizations took photographs of children in Kenya and used them to solicit for funding in outside countries but the money did not benefit the intended persons but went to line the pockets of a few people in society.

“Such foreigners and even Kenyans should first declare their interests as pertains to Children issues, long before they are allowed to leave the country with our children”, Munene proposed, adding “the national NGO’s Coordination Board should be prevailed upon to be more strict with such organizations”.

Munene proposed that we should create a data base for pedophiles both foreigners and citizens, known to abuse children and blacklist them for deterrent punishment. A resolution emerged at the forum that Area Advisory Councils (AACs) should be strengthened to effectively tackle such challenges.

“This way, the AACs will be able to closely monitor and coordinate the actors offering Children Services to ensure they do everything in the interest of the Child”, Munene observed.

Participants at the forum also asked Kisumu Municipal Council and Ministry of Education to ensure Children don’t go to school on Saturday and Sunday to allow them adequate time for bonding with absentee parents and spiritual guidance to grow up holistically.

Nyanza Provincial Children’s Officer (PCO), Charles Ondogo said Kenya lacks the mechanism to follow up on how a child already adopted and taken outside the country fares on in life or was being subjected to dehumanizing treatment by the foster parents.

However, Ondogo said, most countries have a data base on child offenders which made it difficult for culprits to operate in such countries where the stakeholders were vigilant, especially with reference to foreigners coming into the respective countries to handle children issues.

It was a forum where an Immigration department representative, William Okello was put to task over the glaring loopholes which have been exploited by such crafty people who later safely traffic Kenyan Children to far-away countries where no one knows their fate.

Okello had earlier told the forum that the Immigration department usually handles the entry, exit and residents of Kenya but some children still get sneaked out or into the country through our porous borders.

“We have tried to remain vigilant along the borders and swiftly to arrest such suspects but cross-border smuggling was still persistent, sometimes with the connivance of parents who colluded with the child traffickers”, Okello explained.

He cited a case in which 4 girls went missing since 2007 to date and no one knows where they ended up. The girls had gone on scouts (girl guides) activities on the border, before being smuggled outside the country for good.

In view of this, Munene warned that foreigners masquerading as Child Rights defenders but were actually Child Abusers incarnate must be weeded out instead of being allowed freedom to the extent that they adopted Kenyan children so fast.

He said it was unfortunate that Kenyans themselves go through a harrowing experience if they try to access travel documents to outside countries, yet some of the Child offenders even run Charitable Children Institutions (CCIs).

“Does the Kenya Immigration and other relevant Government Institutions have the teeth to courageously tackle such issues?” he posed. Munene argued that these are some of the pertinent issues that caused conflict with other departments in Government.

“If we don’t strengthen our Immigration laws, Child trafficking will still persist in Kenya and across the porous borders. Let’s not treat our children like commodities who finally get used for internal body organs sale but protect them from such harm”, he cautioned.

PCO Ondogo said it can be very expensive to get back our Children once they are taken outside the country, citing a case where Kenya Government spent a whooping 10million shilling to bring back one such child into the country.

Participants at the forum warned Kenyans against trusting the white man too much, in the belief that they are so holly and so could not in any way harm the children. It emerged that countries like Britain and Italy actually used Kenya as a ground to rehabilitate their ‘bad character citizen’.

Such culprits are said to have served jail sentences before coming into the country posing as “saved” only to have a “good” time with Kenyan girls and boys. The participants singled out a case where another foreigner under the guise of working with children targeted the disabled for sexual orgies.

Representative of Kisumu Municipal Council disclosed that they have 175 schools out of which 117 are primary schools with over 30 street children rescued and taken to Kisumu Rotary Youth Training Center, also run by the Local Authority.

It has also built the ultra-modern Mama Ngina Children Home near Kibuye market, which has a population of 60 children. The council also has 15 Health facilities with Migosi sub-district hospital set aside to handle special cases of children.

A participant told the forum those children born out of wedlock in Western Province where he hails from are considered as “outcasts”. He said that as a result of this most street children (50%) in Kisumu originate from Western.

Subsequently, PCO Ondogo confirmed that Kisumu Municipal council has allocated land to the Child Welfare Society (CWS) to construct a rescue center in the city but lacks a donor to fund the huge project, estimated to cost millions of shillings.

However, Ondogo said they have worked closely with Kisumu District Children Officer and the Provincial Administration to integrate 24 street children. The Local Authority has also established Kisumu Municipal Court to handle children cases.

Of concern was the fact that Early Childhood Education (ECD) has not been well integrated in the Kenyan Education system. Participants were resolute in their proposal that the Government should pay ECD teachers alongside their colleagues in primary section.

All these emerged at the Kisumu forum called to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter, both of which have since been domesticated into Kenya’s new constitution with stiffer penalties against Child Abuse.

It seeks to propagate the Rights and responsibilities of Children in the African set up. Articles in both the Charter and UNCRC have been tailored to fit in the African perspective.

The African Charter lays emphasis on the responsibilities of a child to the family and also champions the Rights of women in prison. According to Ondogo, “international and Regional instruments relating to child protection were later domesticated in Kenya’s constitution”.

Ondogo said despite the Children’s Act 2001 corporal punishment was still rampant in schools in Nyanza, a fact he attributed to outright impunity on the part of heads and teachers under them who feigned ignorance of the law and utter carelessness.

He said the Act outlaws Child Marriages to Adults or fellow Children and Cohabitation as this was “in the best interest of the Child”, and “non-discrimination”. Ondogo warned “briefcase NGOs, CBOs and FBOs” against soliciting donor support in the name of supporting children.

By KNA/Joseph Ouma


One Response

  1. […] Orphaned And Vulnerable Taken For A Ride | Women eNews Kenya The African Charter lays emphasis on the responsibilities of a child to the family and also champions the Rights of women in prison. According to Ondogo, “international and Regional instruments relating to child protection were later . […]

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