Children Service Month was officially launched on Thursday 9th November 2023.
Recent reports by UNICEF Kenya and the National Syndemic Disease Control Council have sounded the alarm on child protection issues in Nakuru County, particularly in Naivasha Sub-County. Disturbingly, Nakuru County has emerged as the leading county in the surge of HIV infections, accounting for a significant 20% of reported cases among youths and adolescents in Kenya, with Naivasha alone reporting 59 new cases.
In response to these concerning statistics, the Judiciary of Kenya, in alignment with the United Nations, has officially designated November as Children’s Service Month. This initiative aims to address and prioritize issues related to child protection, especially in areas grappling with high incidences of child violence.
The launch of Children’s Service Month commenced with a poignant ceremony at the Naivasha Law Courts, followed by a community awareness walk from the courts through the town. The event featured performances by various children’s homes, including Light of Hope, Valley Light, and Naivasha Safe House, with participation from children and parents within the community.
Officials from Naivasha Law Courts presented a compelling drama skit on child protection services, shedding light on the root causes of child violence and emphasizing the crucial role of the law in safeguarding children and ensuring justice.
Highlighting areas such as Mithuri, Kayole, Kihoto, Kanjo, and Karagita in Naivasha as hot-spots for child violence, the Honorable J. Ndeng’eri underscored the need for heightened vigilance in these regions. She urged children to speak up against violence and reassured them of their safety and the swift dispensation of justice.
Honorable Lady Justice Grace Nzioka, the Presiding Judge of Naivasha Law Courts, expressed her unprecedented support for this initiative, emphasizing its significance in prioritizing children-related cases. In her speech, she acknowledged existing gaps in handling child violence cases and proposed quarterly children service periods to address these issues throughout the year, culminating in the annual November Children’s Service Month.
Lady Justice Nzioka officially declared Children’s Service Month open, signifying a commitment to expedited justice for all children-related cases brought before Kenyan Law Courts during this special month and in the future Novembers to come.
Author: Pauline Onyango is a beneficiary-come-volunteer, and currently a Resource Mobilization Officer at Art for Children Foundation (A4C)