Did you know that the Day of the African child is celebrated every year on June 16th to commemorate the 16th June 1976 students uprising in Soweto, SA to protest poor quality education for the black student? This day was initiated in 1991 by the OAU – the current African Union.
This year DAC will be marked under the theme: “30 years after the adoption of the charter: Accelerate Implementation of Agenda 2040 for An ‘Africa Fit for Children'."
Kenya is among the states that have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and has undertaken to pursue policies aimed at progressive realization of those rights.
Despite global and national recognition of children’s rights, Kenya still faces many challenges such as poverty, limited access to drinking water, access to healthcare, violence against children, child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Primary school education is free; however, many children are too busy to attend classes as they are supporting their families by working the land, tending cattle, cooking, or fetching water. It's time to declare an end to child labour and give this young generation an opportunity to prepare for their future.
With one in two Kenyan children living in poverty, the ripple effects of coronavirus are daunting. We cannot let this health crisis turn into a child rights crisis. Now, more than ever, we must do all we can to protect children and support their parents.
We must recognise the importance of amplifying children’s voices for successful implementation of the African Children's Charter. Part of building a country fit for Children is promoting child-led interventions across different programme areas.
To ensure that we have a country fit for children, children must have platforms to add their voices to decision-making processes, and to have their views taken seriously. It takes right minded people to make this a reality both during and beyond the #COVID19 pandemic.
Help your children understand that no one, not even a relative or authority figure, is allowed to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Talk to your kids every day. Listen to their concerns and observe unspoken discomfort. Encourage conversation. Never shame or punish your child for confiding in you.
As a people, it's gone to dream a country where every child had a right to quality education, empowerment, equal opportunities and is free from all inequalities and the systematic oppression of all kinds. I urge everyone to continue accelerating the responsibility and effort to leave no child behind and make Africa Great.
Kenya must implement and enforce the policies and legislation to achieve the full realization of children’s rights.
By Jacob Kumenda
Consumer Rights Advocate