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Sensitize against Forced Marriages and Female Genital Mutilation: Kwale, Kenya

Despite the fact that Kenya has ratified the Convection on the Rights of the Child (CRC) since the year 1990 and the 2001 Children’s Act, violence against children is still evidenced in various forms. This indicates existence of challenges in domestication of these legal provisions to protect children hence they have not fully bore fruits. Physical injury as a method of punishment, female genital mutilation sexual abuse such as molestation and rape, child labor, early forced marriages, denial of the right to express themselves are just some of the most prevalent examples of the various forms of violence against children in Kenya. These vices take place both in private and institutional settings specifically in schools and homes; the two common places that have the potential to protect children; and practised by people known and trusted by them. This eventually leads to the long term effects to their emotional, mental and physical growth. It robs them of their innocence and the opportunity to be children by growing up healthy. Children need protection because they are affected differently compared to adults.

At the Kenyan coast, cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and early forced marriages are some of the common forms of violations of the rights of the girl child. This is happening in spite of the fact that relevant authorities charged with the responsibility of protecting children are in place. Other potential actors either lack capacity or are not aware of seriousness of the issues at hand.

The African Council of Religious Leaders—Religions for Peace (ACRL—RfP) joins together with Arigatou Foundation to mark the Word Day of Prayer and Action for children. This important day, marked annually coincides with the Universal Children’s day on 20th November every year and is dedicated to prayers and specific actions to improve children’s lives. Its supporters are guided by ethical values and religious teachings in their actions to creating a better world for children.

In the disadvantaged Kwale County, an activity organized by a local primary school is aimed at sensitizing the community against FGM and early marriages to mark this year’s, World Day of Prayer and Action for Children. Waa primary school has become a rescue centre for girl children escaping these vices from their homes since the year 2001. Approximately 80 children victims have been rescued since then. The day will be marked by a brief seminar on children’s rights and education on violence against children followed by cleaning a section of the southern coast beach and Ukunda town in order to sensitize the community on violence against children. Selected Waa primary school pupils including rescued children, will be the focal point whereas religious leaders will fully be engaged in the sensitization.


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