Thursday, 07 December 2023 11:38

ISIOLO COUNTY LEADS PEERS IN DRAFTING CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

In a significant stride towards prioritizing child welfare, the County Government of Isiolo, under the Department of Gender, Culture, and Social Services, has initiated the development of the Isiolo County Child Protection Policy 2023-2027. This endeavor aligns with the Children Act No. 29, 2022, specifically acknowledging the crucial role of County Governments in child protection within Sections 61, 62, and 63.

In late November this year, the County took a proactive step by organizing a sensitization and consultation forum with County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) and Advisors for the Executive Office of the Governor. The goal was to deliberate on the draft policy, laying the foundation for robust child protection measures in the county.

Addressing the forum, Isiolo Deputy Governor Dr. James Lowasa emphasized the responsibility of both parents and leaders in ensuring the well-being of children. He highlighted the need to shield children from abuse, harmful cultural practices, violence, inhumane treatment, exploitative labor, and the dangers of over-exposure to digital technology.

Dr. Lowasa expressed concerns about the adverse effects of prolonged screen time on children, asserting that Governor Guyo's administration is committed to promoting and protecting children's rights.

"We owe it to our children to create a conducive growing environment. We have to both as leaders and parents reduce the screen time for our children as this is leading to increasing cases of virtual autism," asserted Lowasa, adding that children have lost soft skills such as communication with parents because of spending long hours on digital screens.

He affirmed the allocation of necessary resources for the effective implementation of the Child Protection Policy. County Secretary Dade Boru echoed these sentiments, noting the prevalence of harmful cultural practices, early marriages, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and drug abuse among school-going children in Isiolo County. The urgency of the child protection policy was underscored by these concerning issues.

CECM Aileen Kajuju emphasized the need for a conducive environment for children, lamenting the neglect and exposure to domestic violence that some children endure. She stated that

the county government's decision to develop a Child Protection Policy is a response to the prevailing challenges faced by children in the region.

Irene Ogamba, Director of Legal Services for the Council of Governors, emphasized the critical role of County Governments in child protection. She highlighted the necessity of establishing legal frameworks to guide the design, implementation, and oversight of child protection programs, emphasizing the paramount importance of respecting children's rights.

The event was attended by CECMs Dr. Lawrence Mwongela (Trade and Tourism) and Ali Wario Sarite (Water, Environment, and Climate Change), as well as several advisors from the Executive Office of the Governor and the Deputy County Secretary.

Notably, once enacted, the Isiolo County Child Protection Policy will make Isiolo the pioneer county to have such a framework in place. The process has received financial support from UNICEF Kenya, with technical assistance provided by Governor Abdi Guyo's administration, the National Council for Children Services, and the Council of Governors. Isiolo County's commitment to prioritizing child protection sets a noteworthy precedent for other regions to follow suit in safeguarding the welfare and rights of their youngest residents.

Read 417 times