Strategic Planning for a Violence-Free Mabatini: Insights from the Stakeholder Meeting

On Wednesday 25thOctober, the Mabatini Cluster (Oasis Mathare, Dime Youth Campus Association and Wanawake Mashinani Initiative) supported by Children’s Rights and Violence Prevention Fund’s (CRVPF), Prevention of Violence against Children program (PVAC) held a quarterly stakeholder meeting in the Mabatini ward of Mathare sub-county, Kenya. The goal of this meeting aligned with the CRVPF’s overarching goal: preventing all forms of violence against children and adolescents and building their power. The focus of the meeting was to strengthen community frameworks, to enhance their ability to prevent acts of violence against children. This entailed confronting and eliminating harmful social norms and cultural practices that perpetuate violence against children within the community. 

The meeting drew attendance from key figures including chiefs, assistant chiefs, police representatives, and several other county stakeholders including the Local Area Advisory Committee. The day commenced with lively entertainment, featuring dances and plays performed by children involved in the PVAC program. Although their performances were captivating, they carried profound messages centered on sensitive topics such as gender-based violence and discrimination. Throughout the program, the moderator, Julius Muturi, consistently reminded the audience of the meeting’s purpose by posing a critical question: ‘How can we make Mabatini a violence-free place?’

Several guests shared their insights and ideas on preventing violence against children in Mabatini. Most speeches, including that of the Gender Desk Officer at Huruma Police Station, emphasized the importance of raising awareness in schools about the New Children’s Act. This new legislation supersedes the Old Children Act of 2001 and is designed to safeguard children in today’s world. The objectives of this new Act are multifaceted. It empowers Article 53 of the Kenyan Constitution by providing provisions about the following: the rights, care and protection for vulnerable children, parental responsibilities, offering alternative care options, addressing children in conflict with the law, administering children’s services, and overseeing the establishment and regulation of the National Council for Children’s Services.

Guests highlighted that violence is often perpetrated against children because individuals, such as teachers, lack awareness of the law, including the new act, and are unaware of the legal consequences of their actions. They emphasized that if people were more knowledgeable about the law, the likelihood of violence against children would decrease. Additionally, another representative from the Gender Desk at Pangani Police Station shared insights about handling numerous defilement cases that have surfaced through CRVPF’s VPAC program intervention. However, she explained the challenges faced when attempting to escalate these cases to court; many witnesses tend to evade legal proceedings due to their fear of the legal system.

Important issues concerning violence against children were discussed during the meeting. One pressing concern was the lack of attention given to the boy child compared to the girl child, leading to boys being unable to express themselves about the violence they face, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying in schools and cyberbullying. In a collaborative effort, at the end of the meeting, stakeholders and the Mabatini cluster brainstormed strategies to prevent violence against children. These strategies included planning a 16-day activism campaign from November 25th to December 10th. The goal is to raise community awareness through campaigns focusing on violence against children and gender-based violence, aiming to sensitize and educate the community. Additionally, there were plans to conduct more extensive training sessions for stakeholders and schools on the New Children’s Act and Children’s Rights.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top