Children were the protagonists and leaders of the launch of the #EveryLastChild campaign in Kenya. Either in Nairobi or the other cities where the campaign was presented, girls and boys were the main spokespeople and spoke out against the discrimination that prevents them realising their rights to surviving and fulfilling their potential.
In Nairobi, the event took place during the 2016 Kenya Children’s Assembly (KCA) held in partnership with UNICEF. During the launch, children led a press briefing where they shared the goals and objectives of the campaign while highlighted barriers and challenges in their respective counties. They also outlined their asks for the national and county governments.
One of the goals of the Every Last Child is to ensure that national and county governments allocate enough resources to provide basic education for all children. Kenya experiences great inequality on education coverage. While the primary school net enrolment ratio in 2012 was 95.3% nationally, in some regions like the North Eastern this ratio reach only 40.3%.
Girls are the most affected by this inequality. “Girls get married at tender ages to men old enough to be their grandpas. You get a girl of 10 years married to a 50-year-old man. She can refer to him as her grandfather and is her husband at the same time. It seems our community does not care for the girls. It is common to find girls looking after cattle and goats while the boys are in school. The cattle and goats are used to pay school fees for the boys while the girls are left neglected,” explained Habon Ahmed Abdullahi a 17-year-old girl from Wajir County.
In Kenya, the campaign will also target the most excluded children living in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) and in urban slums. Working in partnership with UNICEF, Save the Children is calling on decision-makers at the household, local, national and international levels to ensure that all barriers that prevent these children from accessing life-saving services are eliminated.
Campaign launched at field level:
Our Bungoma office held a public “baraza” (gathering) led by children. The occasion was graced by members of the county assembly of Bungoma County, partners and children. The children of Bungoma were adamant that their county government must view them as significant players in the county decision making processes. The Bungoma County Assembly Speaker committed to ensure that child participation is made integral at the county level.
Children in the Dadaab refugee camps participated in a one-day children assembly session which brought together children both in and out of school to express their views on the barriers and challenges they face.
The launch in Wajir coincided with the launch of Common Program Framework for Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE). Save the Children hosted 30 children where they had an opportunity to speak to the county leadership on what they see as steps needed to help them thrive. The event was presided over by the Governor of Wajir County H.E Governor Ahmed Abdulahi. Every last child messages were echoed very well in a poem recited by children from Shibli primary school.