Being a parent is one of the toughest and most significant jobs. Everyone has a part to play in ensuring parents have access to the resources and support they need to be effective. Not many people will agree to this, but this old African saying should remind one that parenting is a community responsibility; ‘A child belongs to the village.’ Therefore, an entire community needs to play a role in helping families find the strength they need to raise safe, healthy, and productive children that will benefit not only themselves but also the society.
Child abuse has been on the rise globally over the years. However, there are ways it can be prevented since today there are many resources on child abuse prevention, protecting children from risk of abuse, and strengthening families. All this include is information on protective factors, public awareness, community activities, positive parenting, and prevention programs among others. In Kenya, this has been made possible through ChildLine Kenya.
We, as a society, can be able to bring an end to the cycle of child abuse through the following ways especially through working with organisation that are concerned with child abuse.
- Understanding child abuse prevention and what to do when children are at risk. This includes frequently asked questions and links to related government and Non-Governmental Organisation contacts that work to prevent child abuse. With online resources, one can be able to search learn more on child abuse and how it can be prevented.
- Promoting child and family well-being. Information on well-being and ways programs and systems can support this. This includes resources on protective factors, marriage, fatherhood, and parenting.
- Public awareness and creating supportive communities. Here, we can have tools for sharing a child abuse prevention message with communities and build community support.
- Organising prevention programs. This will include standards for prevention programs, research on what works, information on the role of related professionals, and resources for specific types of programs.
- Developing and sustaining prevention programs. We need to consider managing a prevention program which will include community needs assessment, collaborating with community partners, family engagement and retention, cultural competence, training, and funding.
- Evidence-based practice. Child abuse prevention programs and strategies should be supported by scientific research.
- Evaluating prevention programs by evaluating program effectiveness and conducting cost analyses.
At the community level;
- Neighbours should know each other. This is because, problems seem less overwhelming when support is nearby.
- Families under stress should be helped out. This could include babysitting, doing some chores and errands or by suggesting resources in the community that can help. This prevents the onset of child abuse where the child will not be considered as a barrier in their lives.
- Reach out to children in the community. Saying a simple Hello, offering a smile or a word of encouragement can mean a lot. You can be able to notice a child’s behaviour just by doing this simple things.
- Becoming an active community member. This includes; lend a hand at local schools, community or faith-based organizations, children’s hospitals, social service agencies, or other places where families and children are supported.
- Keep your neighbourhood safe. Start a community neighbourhood watch or plan a local. You will get to know your neighbours while helping to keep your neighbourhood and children safe.
- Every adult should learn how to recognize and report signs of child abuse and neglect. Reporting concerns may protect a child and get help for a family who needs it.
Childline Kenya is the first in Africa to set up an internationally recommended toll free number for children helplines which is 116. This toll free emergency line for abused/distressed children is available 24 hours every day and is accessible from all networks in Kenya.
Childline Kenya has also been able to enshrine the children’s rights in the Constitution of Kenya (Article 53) and have been able to become a model partnership between the Government of Kenya, through the Department of Children Services.
Although Childline Kenya has been able to achieve these milestones since their establishment in Kenya, reporting on child abuse has seen a decline in the last four years. This is mainly due to technical issue brought about by an ageing system and Childline Kenya’s reduced capability to create awareness. So, how can one support Childline Kenya? One can donate whatever they can afford.
An individual can choose to donate in the following amounts: Ksh. 116 to support the Helpline, Ksh. 500 to transport a child from a harmful environment, Ksh. 700 for meals and safe shelter for 1 child or Ksh. 2,000 for outpatient emergency medical assistant to 1 abused child.
Corporates are not left behind as they choose to donate Ksh. 25,000 for the full rescue of 1 child from a harmful environment, Ksh. 100,000 for inpatient medical support to 1 abused child or Ksh. 200,000 for quality counselling and emergency rescue for at least 8 children per month.
Donations are sent via;
Paybill number: 891300
Account number: 11124
Business Name: MCHANGA
Reference : 11124
Business number: 891300
Account number: 11134