With reference to UNAIDS Fact Sheet 2012, globally, more than 34 million people now live with HIV/AIDS; 3.4 million of them are under the age of 15 years. In 2011, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV and 330,000 were under 15 years. Every day nearly 7,000 people contract HIV i.e. nearly 300 every hour. In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS and 230,000 of them were under 15 years. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have contracted HIV and nearly 30 million have died of HIV-related causes.
Sub-Saharan Africa has more than two-thirds (69%) of all people living with HIV i.e. 23.5 million. It also carries 91% of the world’s HIV-positive children. In 2011, an estimated 1.7 million people in the region became newly infected. An estimated 1.2 million adults and children died of AIDS, accounting for 71 percent of the world’s AIDS deaths in 2011. The worst orphan crisis is in Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 12 million children have lost one or both Parents as a result of HIV and AIDS.
Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey (KAIS) 2007 indicates that the number of adults and children HIV positive in Kenya stands at about 1.49 million, number of children (0-14) living with HIV about 110,000. Annual number of new child infections stands at 34,000 and annual number of AIDS deaths 71,000. Though the HIV prevalence has stabilized, the number of orphans continues to rise due to time lag (the time the Parents are infected and the time they die).
The children especially those infected and affected with HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and STDs also suffer domestic violence, sexual violation. Street children, orphans and vulnerable children face other multiple problems i.e. lack of basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and education. Death and loss of parents brings with it loneliness, depression, fear and denial. These children are left under the care of their relatives who lack the financial capacity to take care of them properly and failure to act effectively resulting into severe abuse of the children, both by some care givers and community members.
CINCO has developed child protection Policy guideline serving as a framework on which the overall need can be measured and practised in more meaningful ways. The policy guideline and procedures are built based on Community Initiatives Concern’s vision, mission and overall goal and core values with a focus on the UN convention on the rights of the child, objectives and activities on child protection. CINCO has developed an organizational action plan which stipulates on how to respond to incidences and abuse reporting.
The challenges that affect protection of children include:
- Inadequate funds for running activities
- Inadequate treatment and care unit centres
- Inadequate child protection units placed within the households in community units
- Failure to putting into practice some of the global and national treaties and policy guidelines that have been signed by Kenya Government, other governments and other children’s organizations.
- Inadequate practice with a focus in achieving the principles on child protection based on:
- Child and rights based approaches
- Fear, denial and entrenched culture
- Child trafficking
CINCO intervention areas cover child abuse, domestic violence, exploitation, HIV/AIDS, STDs and the child, child trafficking and abortion amongst the girl child and young women below the ages of 18 years. To alleviate the above challenges, CINCO carries out the following practical activities with more emphasis on community support within the community units:
- Training services on child rights with a focus on the convention on the rights of the child
- Systemic child counselling training services
- Child legal counselling
- Child psychological counselling
- Child trauma counselling and treatment services
- CINCO has established child rights desk at the work place to enhance care services for the abused children
- CINCO is in the process of initiating child drop in centre for legal, psychological and medical treatment services
- Children’s clubs and rights based groups
- Child group counselling services by use of dolls, play therapy
- Children’s meetings for follow up visits
- Child justice system in enhancing children’s thinking, feelings and actions in relation to building child to child relationships, child to adult relationships for conscious building purposes
- Child protection campaigns are organized e.g. child rights days, day of the African child, orphans international days
- Children’s peace campaigns
How is CINCO dealing with early child marriages within the Community units?
Issues on child marriages practiced between boys and girls: CONCO trained 20 girls and boys of 12- 18 years on adolescent counselling. These girls and boys were taken through adolescents counselling thus engaging them in the non-formal and formal education. CINCO organizes child protection campaigns i.e. Community Child Rights Sessions in ending harmful practices like female genital mutilation, rape, and other forms of abuse.
Children’s Artistic Activities
The following activities are carried out in enhancing and developing children’s talents, artistic skills, copying techniques and abilities:
- Football clubs
- Netball clubs
- Volley ball
- Drama, theatre and Poetry
- African traditional dance and other educational related songs
- Recreational activities e.g. ludo play, cards, drawing, children’s safe computer in enhancing peace of mind for parents, caregivers and guardians.
CINCO’s approach to child protection and rights is to “empower children to protect themselves”
Network and Partnership
CINCO is networking with the relevant Government ministries e.g. Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, Kisumu children’s department, Judiciary with emphasis on juvenile remand homes, Agape counselling and training institute, Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and referral Obama children’s ward and Agape children’s centre, Society for Women and AIDS in Kenya – (SWAK-NYANZA), Medical officer of health (MOH) and other relevant NGOs, Community based organizations and Faith based organizations.