Child Protection in Ndhiwa
Hi everyone, my name is Meg and I have been in Ndhiwa, working with the team on some exciting projects for the past couple of months.
Twende Pamoja have recently delivered a highly successful Child Protection campaign, the aim of which is to address school related gender based violence. This project attracted funding from the Evan Cornish Foundation, due to the shocking discoveries made back in 2017 by Comic Relief. The 2017 research indicated that over 60% of girls had suffered gender based violence within their schools. Sadly, many of the instances of abuse were perpetrated by those in positions of power, notably teachers or members of religious organisations.
The focus of the Child Protection project was two fold. Firstly, it aimed to prevent instances of gender based violence by delivering a comprehensive training and sensitisation programme. Secondly, the project aimed to ensure that when incidents of abuse did take place, that there were robust procedures in place to ensure that victims were properly supported. The findings of the Child Protection project are yet to be formally published, but initial findings do illustrate a significant positive change. Nevertheless, there are still gaps, both in ensuring that cases are reported, but also in handing cases thereafter.
Since my arrival, I have been conducting some research to help inform the planning of the team’s next child protection plan. I have collected data and conducted interviews with key stakeholders to gain their perspectives on how we can continue to best support the girls. I have also been working closely alongside members of the child protection team to develop a strategy in which we can evaluate the successes of the previous child protection project.
I have also met with some of the girls, and spoken to them about the impact that COVID-19 has had on them and their families. Whilst restrictions in Kenya have eased, the impact is still being felt very much in the communities that live here. Girls have spoken about the way in which COVID-19 has caused longer term unemployment meaning that existing jobs have become more competitive. One of the girls spoke of how, due to unemployment, many people are now trying to sell vegetables in the market. Previously her Mum was able to make enough to support the families basic needs, but due to market saturation, her Mum often comes home empty handed. The charity are currently exploring how they can best support those most affected by COVID-19.
In the coming weeks, we will analyse this data and identify the main findings of the research. This will then be used to help inform the planning stage, ensuring that, as always, the steps the charity takes reflects the need on the ground.