, NAIROBI, Kenya 9 – The State Department of Social Protection in partnership with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and UNICEF are working on a program that will help in the sensitisation and awareness of the dangers of online activities against children.
Speaking in reference to the online game “Big Whale Challenge”, Permanent Secretary Susan Mochache says the program will target both parents and children on how to better deal with negative online activities.
“Tackling cyber insecurity is a priority to the ministry since many children are being lured into illegal games and activities. The greatest thing we can do is to raise sensitisation and awareness,” emphasised PS Mochache.
The Director, Children Services Noah Sanganyi echoed her sentiments adding that they are in collaboration with the police and have enhanced surveillance to look into cyber crime affecting children.
“We have an online child protection centre where I have seconded an officer who is working with the police department to look at cyber crime issues related to children. We hope that in the system we are able to get all these cases as reported by the sub-county children officers in real time,” stated Sanganyi.
The “Big Whale Challenge” has so far claimed the lives of over 100 teenagers around the world.
PS Mochache was speaking during the launch of the Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS) which will be used to enhance coordination mechanisms to consolidate gains made regarding child care and protection.
The PS assured that the system will strengthen coordination, monitoring and decision making in child protection programming through evidence-based decision making and programming.
“The system has been designed to guarantee that the data is comprehensive, verifiable and accurate with a nationwide statistical representation on child protection related issues and with the capacity to generate analytical reports on the performance of the child protection sector,” the PS said.
Currently, the CPIMS holds data and information of over 20, 000 children from an initial 11 counties, with plans underway to have it rolled out in all counties.
The counties are Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Muranga, Homabay, Kilifi, Machakos, Migori, Kakamega and Siaya all supported by USAID and Kwale supported by Plan International.
“CPIMS is set to roll out in 16 additional counties in the next six months. The Government of Kenya has committed to fully support rollout in Baringo and Kisii in the current financial year. UNICEF will support rollout in nine counties including Mombasa, Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu and Kajiado counties,” PS Mochache added.
The top three cases reported are neglect (54pc), custody (17pc) and abandoned children (5pc). Almost half of all children supported were aged below five years making them the most vulnerable group.
Despite all the progress made, it is worth noting that Kenya is still plagued by a plethora of challenges due to a fragmented coordination mechanism which hamper the consolidation of gains made regarding child care and protection.
Evidence of this is the fact that there are children in the streets, children undergoing FGM and sexual abuse, child trafficking among other issues.
“In order to understand the magnitude of the problems facing our children, we must have reliable data to inform our policy decisions and budgeting,” said the PS. “That is why today we mark a key milestone in our initiatives to improve child protection processes and mechanisms.”
Sanganyi added that the system will allow for an aggregated format of data to be availed to other agencies that are mandated to offer services to children.
“The major outcome of this system is to enable government in reporting accurately on issues touching on children from each sub-county, justifying why the children’s sector needs to be allocated more resources from the government,” he said.
Kenya has a population of about 41 million people out of which 54pc are children.
“Out of every two Kenyans, one is a child below 18 years of age. It is, therefore, critical that the needs of this large section of our population are addressed holistically,” cited PS Mochache.
Key Partners for the project include USAID Measure Evaluation – PIMA, UNICEF, Plan International, World Vision Kenya, Child Line Kenya, Child Fund Kenya, and Goal Kenya among others.