County govts urged to include support of needy children in budgets

Coast Regional Manager Communication Authority of Kenya Joseph Kamunge (left)with Director Sarafina Children's Home Reverend Josephine Kache (right) together with the Sarafina family in Marembo village in Kilifi North Constituency during their visit to donate goods in support of the orphans and vulnerable children. PHOTO: DAVID NGUMBAO.

Kilifi, KENYA: County governments have been urged to support needy children within their jurisdiction, by prioritizing them in the county budgets.

Speaking at Sarafina Children home in Marembo Village in the outskirts of Kilifi town during a CSR, Communications Authority CA Coast Regional Manager, Joseph Kamunge said on Monday that the  region has many needy children who are in need of their county government’s help.

“Children account for 19% out of 46% Kenyans living below the poverty line. My urge to the county governments in Kenya is that they should consider these children in their budgets by setting aside some funds for their welfare,” added Kamunge.

He also called upon the community to commit themselves and create a conducive environment that protects and promotes the rights of orphans and vulnerable children.

“Like many other Sub-Saharan Countries, the number of orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya has steadily risen at an alarming rate due to the HIV/AIDs with the number of orphans estimated at 4 million in 2009,” added Kamunge.

He said in response to the situation of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) the national government has come up with various intervention measures, among them strengthening and implementing the existing policy and legal provisions to safeguard the rights and welfare of children in the country.

Kamunge said interventions includes Children’s Act and Sexual Offences Act among others.

“The Children’s Act provides for establishment of the Area Advisory Councils which are structures geared towards the improvement of the welfare of the children at the County and Sub County levels,” said Kamunge.

“The key priority area of the response is strengthening the capacity of the family and community to care for and support orphans.” He said.

He further said the national government has ratified international and regional instruments (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and The African Charter on Rights and Welfare of Children) that are aimed at protecting the rights of children.

He added that Kenya has adopted the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) goals.

“On 31st May 2008, the government introduced Child Helpline (116), a toll free line that gives children and the community a platform for reporting cases,” Kamunge said.

Reverend Josephine Kache, director of Sarafina Children’s home said the home acts as a rescue center for emergency cases such as child negligence and defilement before they are transferred to other places.

“This is because Kilifi town and its environs lack a Rescue Centre apart from the only one in Malindi Constituency. The situation leads to the number of children at the home to vary from twenty to forty,” said Reverend Kache.

According to Kache, it is a challenge to maintain orphans and vulnerable children in the home on matters of education, food and clothing due to lack of donors for support; making them depend on well-wishers.

The eldest child in the home is 17 years and in form two, with the youngest being 3 months old.

Communications Authority donated goods worth sh.400, 000: including sanitary towels and toiletries, clothing, chairs, buckets, rice, maize flour, wheat flour, cooking oil and books among other gifts.