Child protection is defined as measures and structures to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children.
The goal of child protection is to promote, protect and fulfill children’s rights to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights, humanitarian and refugee treaties and conventions, as well as national laws.
Child protection work aims to prevent, respond to, and resolve the abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence experienced by children in all settings.
It is a specialist sector in its own right but of necessity works very closely with other sectors i.e. education, WASH, nutrition, Health.
Waldorf Kakuma Project is a member of UNHCR Co-Chaired child protection sub sector working group (CPWG) with regular representations in meetings, targeting and planning sessions for Kakuma Camp and Kalobeyei Settlement. Other members of CPWG Waldorf work closely with include; Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), IsraAID, World Vision, Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), Humanity and Inclusion (HI), Refugee Consortium of Kenta (RCK), UNICEF, UNHCR, Government (Department of Children Services, and Turkana County Social Protection department)
CPWG in Kakuma operations is guided by a number of strategic documents including the (draft) 2020 UNHRC Kakuma Child Protection Strategy, the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Plan for Turkana West (KISEDP), UNHCR Child Protection Strategy for the Kenya Operation and the Turkana Child Protection Strategy.
Due to the nature of refugee camps, confinement as a result of encampment policy, broken family structures and a limited number of social safety nets due to separation of families and trauma experienced during flight, children in Kakuma and Kalobeyei face a number of protection risks, including abuse, neglect, various forms of SGBV (amongst them rape, sexual abuse, child abduction, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and survival sex), child labour, family separation, psychological distress following forced displacement, etc. In addressing these risks, all actions undertaken should be to the best interest of the child.
In light of the said challenges and risks, in 2015 CPWG launched the idea of putting in place at least five Inter- Agency one stop Child Protection Centres (Furaha Centres) in the 5 main sections of Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei settlement. In 2016, two (Furaha Centres) were established, one in Kakuma 2 and another in Kakuma 4. In 2018, Furaha Centers were opened in Village 1 and 2 in Kalobeyei and in 2019 in Village 3. Renovations and improvements of the CFS facilities are on-going.
The child friendly spaces in Kakuma and Kalobeyei provides integrated services including recreational and educational activities, counselling, Child Protection desk, Family tracing and Reunification (FTR), Case management and community based activities that are provided in a single CFS. These aims at strengthening referral pathways and ensure that needs of children at risk are met in a timely manner
Besides the services offered to children by various agencies, CFSs are a place where children’s right to participation is promoted through numerous activities that are designed, discussed, implemented and monitored by children. The centres also play a fundamental role in promoting children’s development through creative arts, leadership development, indoor and outdoor games, and by ensuring that children’s talents are fully explored and developed through life skills training.
Since 2018, Waldorf has been supported by UNICEF in implementation of various activities both for targeting refugees and host community population, i.e. in training of refugee primary teachers on mainstreaming child protection in education, Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) attached to IRC, Red cross and AICHM ministries, parents creation awareness on services offered at the CFS, training foster parents from the host community on kinship arrangement in line with Government agenda, training Child Protection Volunteers (CPVs) attached to SAPCONE and DCS on community based art and play therapy activities. Furthermore, UNICEF has been key in equipping the CFS s with playing equipment, construction of CFS facilities to ensure the CFS environment is safe and secure for children not forgetting provision of learning and playing materials in the CFSs as well as sanitizers, hand wash, surgical masks to be distributed to children amidst the global outbreak of the novel corona virus disease.
By Paul M. Kimeu
Child Protection Officer
Waldorf Kakuma Projec