Across the world, April 27th was International Child Abuse Prevention Digital Advocacy Day. Here in Kenya, it was held at WAMA Africa restaurant and broadcasted via Eminence Global PR twitter spaces as part of their iGive initiative which offers media relations and visibility services to most vulnerable communities for free.
Recent reports show that over 50 per cent of children in Kenya have experienced some form of abuse, that is, emotional, physical or sexual, with physical being the most prevalent. 15.6 per cent of women have experienced sexual abuse as children while to 6.4 per cent of men have reported sexual abuse.
There are enough laws in Kenya about children and their protection and so on, the only problem is that we are a
society that has forgotten morality and moral virtues,” said Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, one of the key note speakers,
speaking on the matter.
My role as the CEO of Music Copyright Society of Kenya in preventing child abuse is facilitating a national conversation where musicians and the public could come to a common ground, agreeing that messages in our music will not normalize various forms of abuse but instead instill better values in our children besides entertainment. The children are our future. He added.
Adam Sergeant, CEO of WAMA Africa, spoke on heading a restaurant that employs special needs and differently-abled people.
We focus on training and employing special needs people in the area of hospitality and customer service as it is a bedrock skill that is highly applicable any industry.” He said.
The restaurant has partnered with TIPSY, an online training program that offers customized, certified academic learning packages for special needs people, helping the administration monitor their progress and know where to place their candidates based on how far along they have come in their career training.
Having a social enterprise like this one helps special needs children, who themselves are often victims of abuse and stigmatization, see that they are valuable members of the society and have a future and a place where their disability is not viewed as their entire identity. He concludes.
Speaking on Child Online Safety, Evelyne Kasina, Founder of Eveminet, a company advocating for child online safety, and a safety consultant for Google, Facebook and TikTok as well noted that empowering children with digital skills and guidelines on navigating the online world is the most fundamental step.
We first begin by asking parents to be introspective and gauge how deeply they prioritize social media and time of their phone. As their children’s primary influence, their behavior teaches them what to value in their lives. She said.
Reports show 71% of parents of a child under the age of 12 are concerned their child might spend too much time in front of screens, while overall, parents are apprehensive of the long-term effects smartphones might have on their children’s development.
Living at an age where it is common for children of all ages to engage in some way with digital devices, she warns that adult phones should not be used by children in any capacity.
Curiosity is a natural part of a child’s life. Decide when it would be best time to have that “inappropriate content” conversation with your child as soon as you can.
With The Internet Watch Foundation, a UK charity, warning that the number of child sexual abuse images being removed globally has fallen by 89% since the pandemic, holding such a conversation with your child could be difference between maintaining their safety and having them prone to online sexual exploitation.
Capitalizing on this weakness, distributors of child sexual exploitation material are becoming emboldened and are targeting mainstream platforms to reach wider audiences.
Pre-equip your children to say yes to things on the screen that they can handle and no to what they feel they’re not ready for, and how to report the latter to the nearest trusted adult, she finishes.
Other keynote speakers were Endovo Banzege of Kilifi Network, Gemma Wambui and Carl Maghanga of St. Jerome Children Centre.
The effects of a child experiencing child abuse are pretty widespread, from presenting itself in behavioral issues like bad behavior to being involved in bad company, all which are signs which we should learn to take very seriously. Gemma Wambui
The home has hosted a total of 200 orphans and vulnerable children since it was founded in 2009 when the chairlady, Gemma Wambui, was just 17 years old. It has since rescued, rehabilitated, provided school and medical aid, as well as traced and reinstated some children back to their families after consistent counselling of both the parents and their children.
Disciplining a child should always come from a place of love. It comes down to education, breaking the cycle and identifying the difference between discipline and abuse. Our goal should be to do great work in rescuing, rehabilitating, tracing and reuniting children back with their parents to a point where the need for children’s home and shelters becomes redundant. She concluded.
Child abuse prevention will remain an ongoing conversation until injustices against children stop.
In light of this, Eminence Global PR together with St. Jerome Centre will be hosting a fund walk from June 3rd to 5th to continue creating further awareness on child abuse prevention and creating means of making our charities self-funding and hopefully reduce reliant on global donors as much as possible.
Stopping Child Abuse is our collective responsibility as a country. We can no longer fold our hands and wait for only foreigners to help our children, we need to rise now and join the many organization Like St. Jerome’s Centre that are struggling day and night to Stop Child Abuse.
We can help in any way possible, not limiting ourselves to money only but also contributing material goods that could help needy children with their basic needs,” said Mikaela Mwangura, Eminence Global Managing Director and Head of iGive initiative.
The Tusikize, Tutunze…….Sisi Ndio Mbogi Ya Moro Fund Walk will take place in Nakuru County from 3rd-5th June. You can send your contributions or you can choose to be a sponsor for the main Fund Walk. Email: Stjeromescomms@hotmail.com
To support St. Jerome’s till number: 4086485
Child helpline toll free number: 116
To access and listen to International Child Abuse Prevention Digital Advocacy Day Space broadcast: @EminenceGprfirm
TOGETHER WE CAN STOP CHILD ABUSE!