State of Kenya orphans, vulnerable children ‘worrying’

May 5, 2016 3:20 pm
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The number of orphans and vulnerable children is estimated to be over 2.8 million in Kenya/FILE
The number of orphans and vulnerable children is estimated to be over 2.8 million in Kenya/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – As Kenya gears up to join the rest of the world in commemorating the 11th World Orphans day which is celebrated on May 7, the situation of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) remains an issue of concern.

The number of orphans and vulnerable children is estimated to be over 2.8 million in Kenya.

Overview
  • The number of orphans and vulnerable children is estimated to be over 2.8 million in Kenya
  • Some 47 percent of children are said to be orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS and many more remain vulnerable due to several other factors
  • In Africa, it is estimated that there are 34 million orphaned children

Some 47 percent of children are said to be orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS and many more remain vulnerable due to several other factors.

The statistics surrounding the rising population and the immense suffering of these children can be overwhelming.

Traumatized by the death of their parents, at times the orphans become antisocial with the society seemingly becoming impervious to their plight.

Moreover the fact that these children don’t have parents automatically exposes them to exploitation and are especially a soft target for child traffickers.

In Africa, it is estimated that there are 34 million orphaned children.

A press release from the Ministry of Labour and East African Affairs noted that the number has been increasing over the years since the time HIV/AIDS was declared a national disaster.

The devastating impact of HIV/AIDs on the adult population coupled with adverse socio-economic effects continues to erode family resources.

This has in turn denied the OVC’s a chance to access their basic needs such as proper health care, education, shelter and nutrition and more often are disinherited by their next of kin.

Other than implementing policies to safeguard the interests of orphaned children, the Government and other stakeholders have also come up with a number of interventions in an effort to address the situation of OVCs in the country.

However, many remain unreached and the situation demands for targeted and more sustainable and concerted synergies focused on addressing t the plight of these OVCs.

In this financial year, the government allocated more funds to increase the number of benefiting households from the current 256,000 to 356,000 by June this year.

This means that over a million OVC’s will be reached. After successful biometric registration of beneficiaries, the payments are now done through KCB and Equity Bank.

This year’s theme is ‘Embrace Peace in Africa, Safeguard All the Children’s Rights’ that aims at providing an opportunity for the public to focus their attention on the plight of orphans and vulnerable children.

It will also allow for lobbying governments, development partners and other stakeholders to take urgent measures towards protection and care of orphans and vulnerable children.

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