We were happy to co-host this year’s Learning Convening on Preventing Violence against Children in East Africa alongside Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children (KAACR) and Impact and Innovations Development Centre (IIDC). The Learning Convening, now in its third year, was organized at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu City (Kenya) bringing together 22 organizations working in East Africa to prevent and respond to violence against children (VAC). As learning partners, the conference provided us an opportunity to review our achievements and challenges, and collaboratively reflect on the key lessons we have learned with the objective of improving programming in practice.
We shared our experiences as learning organizations followed by question and answer sessions in which all participants concretized their understanding. Under different thematic issues, several organizations expounded their program models around the INSPIRE strategies in small group discussions. INSPIRE refers to seven strategies for ending violence against children is an evidence-based technical package to support countries in their efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children aged 0-17 years. The strategies are: implementation and enforcement of laws; norms and values; safe environments; parent and caregiver support; income and economic strengthening; response and support services; and education and life skills.
Speaking at the conference, our Director Ms. Ogutu said, “We find that creating a culture of sharing and collaboration among peers across the child rights and children protection sector is impactful not only to those who participate, but also to the overall goal of helping win the fight against violence.” She went ahead to emphasize the importance of taking the right steps, at the right time with the appropriate partners and government in a constructive, rather than competitive manner to achieve results. Also present at the conference was our Chair of the Board, Mr. Ronald Messelink who stated, “Our interventions are not about cost; this is about fundamental human dignity, how we want to define ourselves as humans. Violence against children has no place in that vision.” He concluded his remarks by reminding the learning partners about the importance of working together to solve the various cultural issues around VAC but more especially the field visits, because that is where the change needs to happen and be visible.
We work in Kenya, Tanzania, and Cote d’ Ivoire implementing various programs that seek to prevent violence against children and create safe and nurturing environment for them to realise their full potential. Among our key successes are effective implementation of Skillful parenting programme which is changing the way parents are reflecting on their roles, rollout of the child help line in Tanzania and development of the County Child Protection System guidelines in Busia County (Kenya) among others.
Last week, the ICS Kenya Skilful Parenting Program was featured on a national Kenyan TV station. In 'Parenting the right way', one of the local trainers and beneficiaries shares his thoughts about the program's role in influencing today's parenting roles. >>
Throughout history in Africa, beliefs and way of life have made adults exercise power over children in all aspects and at all levels. This has made children accept this status and their obedience to authority and social order continues to be expected at all levels. >>