Devolution: Kenya makes great strides in child participation
By Stephen Malai
NAIROBI, Kenya, 3 May 2013: The second Kenya Children Assembly was held on 30 April to 1 May 2013. Top on the agenda was to get feedback of Bujumbura visit where Kenya was represented in the regional Children assembly, discussions on the harmful cultural practices affecting children in Kenya and deliberations on opportunities for Children in the devolved governments.
This year’s Kenya Children Assembly had participation from the 47 counties represented by four children, two girls and two boys. Among the key recommendations from the workshop included: creation of awareness of the Children assemblies among children and adults; publicizing KCA through the media; sharing KCA reports with County and Central Government; sharing of video documentaries of the proceeding of the assemblies; and Children to have seating with County Governments to discuss their issues.
The official opening of KCA 2013 was graced by Prof. Jacqueline Oduol, the Permanent Secretary of Children’s Affairs in the ministry of gender, Children and Social Development. UNICEF was resented by Catherine Kimotho who read remarks on behalf of the Representative. Other guests present were: Miss Janet Mkadoe, the President of KCA; Miss Mwanahamisi Adan, the Speaker of KCA; and Mr. Timothy Ekesa, Executive Director, Kenya Alliance for the Advancement of Children.
The Children assembly is a unifying organ that brings all children from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. As children interact, they learn to respect and appreciate their diversities. This also forms an opportunity to enhance cohesion and a sense of nationalism.
The Children Assemblies provides for an opportunity to communicate the Government policies and development plans down to children in the village and get feedback through the devolved structures. Similarly, the recommendations and outcomes of debates at the Children Assemblies will be channeled to the County Government and the Central Government.