Article By Diana Kariuki
It’s critical that every child feels loved, accepted and cushioned. Judging from the book; a child is any person below the age of 18. However, child protection concerns have become rampant amidst the pandemic, the injustices skewing more to defilement. It is no surprise that teenage pregnancies have become an anomaly and the issue has drastically escalated in the country and Kiambu county is not an exception. In an attempt to salvage the situation; the Centre for the study of adolescence (CSA) and the Fountain Youth Initiative (FYI) birthed a child protection program within the Ruiru constituency and it has transcended its effectiveness for the past six months having intervened to more than sixty cases.
Our recent successful intervention is drawn from Mary’s case (not her real name), who is a 16-year-old teenage mum. She recently sat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) despite being sexually abused by her 30-year-old neighbor and put in the family way. The perpetrator in question had persuaded her to elope with him since December 2020 and fortunately, through the DCI and the local police stations he was traced and Mary was rescued on 29th January 2021 and a few weeks later she delivered her bundle of joy. Fortunately, her school allowed her to sit for her examinations while her mother baby-sited her child throughout the examinations. As we speak the perpetrator is behind bars and court proceedings are underway, while Mary is getting some psychosocial support through therapy. When the dust has settled, she would like to continue with her education and hopes to become a beautician in the future!
We have learnt a lot from this experience and thought it viable to conduct public sensitization to demystify child protection concerns and create awareness within the community. You are welcome to participate at your convenience.
As I conclude; any sexual activity done to a child is illegal since our age for sexual consent is 18 unlike in other parts of the world where a 14-year-old is permitted to give consent for instance in German. A while back, a 13-year-old Spaniard was entitled to do the same, but until 2013, Spain increased it to 16 making it among the 76 countries globally with that as their age of consent.
Children are our future, let’s protect them earnestly!!
Jane (Big Sister) shares what drives her in assisting AGYW through the SAFIRE program,