funded by Lush Japan Charity Bank, July 2019-March 2021
Project outline and outcomes
Prior to the project commencement, Mirai implemented the stakeholders meeting in the target areas in Athi-river Sub-County under JICA partnership project. Local leaders such as nyumba-kumi members, pastors, community opinion leaders raised the serious concern on children, especially domestic child neglect and sexual abuses in the communities during the meeting. It is urgent matter to be intervened since child abuse became daily basis problem in the areas and so many invisible children may be potentially suffering from abuses against them every day. Also, the stakeholders meetings revealed that Child protection volunteers are placed in some areas however, their roles and works are not yet fully recognized by other stakeholders.
Major issues regarding general children must be dealt with by Children Protection Volunteers. Thus we decided to propose the other project particularly focusing on Children’s services for identifying the challenges and positive impacts which Child Protection Volunteers can bring in for vulnerable children and activating their community based activities in the areas.
The purpose of the project is to activate utilization of human resources in the target communities i.e. Child Protection Volunteers attached to Athi-river Children Office who will be able to commit themselves in various child protection activities. The activities may include rescue and protection of children who are suffering from child abuse, child neglect, assisting post-defilement process, and creating awareness on prevention of child abuse or early pregnancy. These activities will be effectively done with other stakeholders in the communities since the number of Child Protection Volunteers in a whole sub-county is only 7. Having considered the vastness of the area, the involvement of other community members who are cooperative and willing to support children is essential.
1. Introductory meeting with Athi-river Sub-County Children Office (July 2019)
In cooperation with the Athi-river Children Office, Mirai Kenya held the meeting for the CPVs with the aim of an introduction of the purpose and the activities of Mirai Kenya, a common child abused cases in the sub-county and the concept of child protection. In addition, each CPV reported the previous child protection activities they had engaged in so far and the challenges which they have been currently facing. The reports could also clarify few relationships between CPVs and other potential stakeholders as well as a weak partnership with their associates in conducting child protection activities.
2. Outreach to 7 Child Protection Volunteers and Survey on their activities and training needs (September-November 2019)
Mirai visited a community in which each CPV had been carrying out their missions/activities to observe how s/he build a relationship with other stakeholders on child protection. Also, the survey aimed at grasping unique community’s characteristics and induced challenges in each area. Mirai handed and requested the CPVs to fill out the questionnaire about ongoing activities, the stakeholders, and training needs.
3. Implementation of stakeholder’s training (January-March 2020)
Inviting the CPVs and other stakeholders of child protection activities, the training was conducted at the respective location. At each training, there were around 10 – 13 participants from different affiliations: CPV, police officer, primary school teacher, pastor, a village elders, business person, resident, and worker in a rescue center.
The training was composed of the following topics reflected by the results of training needs survey to CPVs.
– Child development
– Child abuse and the role of protection volunteers
– Basic counseling skills for working with abused children
– Drug abuse among the youth and the role of child protection volunteers
– Planning of child protection activities
Of these contents, Mirai Future of Kenya outweighed child sexual abuse and the Post-Defilement Process to clarify a procedure to take when the sexual abuse was identified. This is because, regardless of the large number of reported sexual abuse cases against children and high awareness of the issues, there have been few commitments by neither the government, the community members nor external sectors such as NGOs. Therefore, Children office and CPVs were not known by the local residents and did not function effectively.
At the end of the training, making a group by the participants in the same location (Child
Protection Team), they discussed and made an action plan in their community which purposes to sensitize community members to child protection and its associated issues and post-defilement procedures in addition to the role of a CPV and the partner institutions/individuals.
4. Information sharing about child protection by CPVs (August 2020〜)
Mirai Future of Kenya was expecting the child protection team to implement child protective activities made in the training in the respective community though, given the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020 and the protocol declared by the Kenyan government, the activities, face-to-face information sharing, and workshops, for instance were necessarily canceled. Then it came up with an alternative activity to replace instead, that is creating video clips for the three topics: child development, child abuse, drug abuse, which were covered at the stakeholder training, and the CPVs share it with community members.
Having shot the videos in cooperation with some CPVs, Mirai Future of Kenya complied and shared them with the CPVs via social networking service. After having received the videos, each CPV became responsible to introduce the videos to the possible targets: own community groups, social groups (church and school), the other CPVs, youths, parents, and children.
5. Monitoring visit (March 2021)
To understand each progress in sharing the videos to the targeted community members, the Mirai Kenya staff interviewed the CPVs via an in-person visitation, phone call, and social networking service. Consequently, there were approximately 220 community members in total having been shared the videos in various methods. In the follow-up interview, they asked achievement, challenges, strategies, and suggestions to the challenges which the CPVs have experienced and summarized them in a report.
Impact/Outcomes and challenges
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government protocols, Mirai Kenya of Kenya planned to come up with sharing necessary information by a video shooting as an alternative way of a workshop. Presentation was done by CPVs and stakeholder representatives at the Mirai Kenya office in Machakos. The video included the following topics:
① Child development
② Child abuse
③ Drug Abuse
The purpose of the video was to help the CPVs to share with community members virtually, instead of gathering them under this difficult time of COVID-19. We filmed a few CPVs presenting the topics mentioned above and sent the video to the selected 7 CPVs and the stakeholders. The CPVs took a responsibility to share or show to their community members.
Some Stakeholders collected 70 local residents as an audience and used her laptop to share the video with them. Having utilized the video, the impact may have been reached to more people, however, some stakeholders and CPVs raised insufficient internet access as a challenge for sharing with many people and also video was too long to be shared with others with the limited bundles.
As an introductory project for CPVs in Athi-river, Mirai targeted all 7 volunteers in the project. However, it was hard to create more tangible child protection system in the entire targeted area , due to its size and diversity. (Athi-river includes urbanized sites as well as interior rural areas without proper infrastructure).
CPVs and stakeholders faced many challenges since various child protection issues are rampant overstebut they are few. They suggested that information sharing on child protection and prevention of child neglect and child abuse should be more actively done in schools. If Mirai implements the other project on the selected communities in Athi-river, more tangible and focused community based activities can be generated and implemented particularly in cooperation with schools.