Kenya has an estimated population of 44.8 million according to the country economy (countryeconomy.com). Kenya is adding one million people yearly to its already high population. Children below 18 years make up 49 per cent of the population of Kenya. 62 per cent of this population is below 24 years old. This high rate of population growth has adverse effects on spending in infrastructure, health, education, environment, water and other social and economic sectors.
Kenya promulgated the new constitution on 27th August 2010. The Constitution altered the governance framework fundamentally by creating a two-tier government, one at national and the other in 47 counties. The Constitution specifically addresses longstanding historical, geographic, demographic, and human rights violations that have hindered progressive development. In 2013, Kenyans conducted fairly peaceful elections to vote in the National and County Governments with expectations for equitable resource allocation and accountable service delivery.
However, historical patterns of inequity still exist in Kenya. The children of Kenya are growing up in a time of profound political, economic and social transformation. The introduction of devolved governance in 2013, along with increasing urbanization and uneven economic growth, compounded the challenges of historical inequalities and marginalization, persistent internal conflict, cyclical drought and other disasters, adding up to a complex and challenging environment.
Over 75 per cent of children and adolescents experience one or more deprivations of their rights, including limited access to housing, safe water and improved sanitation, education and health and nutrition services. Children in urban informal settlements, poor households and those living in the arid and semi-arid lands experience multiple deprivations. Children in the bottom quintile have one eighth the access to improved sanitation, compared to the national average. Over 1 million children are out of school, over 2 million are orphaned and 700,000 children live with a disability while street children are estimated to be between 250,000-600,000in Kenya. Nairobi County which is also the capital of Kenya has a population of more than 4 million. According to the report by SNV Kenya/GTZ PROSYR, It has also the highest number of street children and youth estimated to be over 60,000. The government through the National Youth Service has embarked on slum upgrading but that has not yet addressed the problem of children and youth living in the streets.
Children and youth living in the streets have no means of survival and therefore engage in survival tactics that endanger their well-being and that of the society. Most of them are abused, neglected, exposed to criminal and gang activities, suffer poor health due to their lifestyles and exposure to the harsh environment, drug and substance abuse, and exposure to HIV/AIDS infection. The large numbers of children who live and work in the streets is a reflection of some of the most intractable development challenges in Kenya. This is attributed to the weak implementation of national policies on the rights of children with an emphasis on survival, development, and protection. Many of the street children lack access to supportive family or alternative family care, education, health, and justice.
Nairobi City is the administrative headquarters of Nairobi City County. The city has seen immense population growth since for the last few years. This has come with challenges such as abandoned and runaway children. The number of street children is amazingly astonishing how it’s increasing in Kenya. You traverse in Kenyan big cities and you’ll be astonished with the ad infinitum number of street children. Begging, Kuduru as they call it in sheng’, carrying dirty sacks on their backs with plastic bottles or iron bars – Kuchemba as they call it in Sheng’, child abuse, child labor, child Prostitution day and night robbery are some of the activities that are carried out by these street children. The only way to break this cycle is to rescue these children and give them a better standard of life. Increased populations of street children and families in Nairobi have gone overboard. We cannot change the whole world, but we can change the world of one person.
ROLE OF KWETU HOME OF PEACE
Since its founding in 1993, the home plays a crucial role in dealing with the challenges facing street boys. As can be attested by religious organizations, not-for profit organizations; several government authorities namely, the children’s department; the police; the local children courts; the local chiefs and; the local assistant chiefs and ward administrators, the home has played a pivotal role in enhancing the welfare of street and destitute boys in the country. This can be exampled in the numerous numbers of street boys reached by this project over the last 25 years. This project shall play a pivotal role to reach more street children in the county. It is hoped that the financial support obtained through this project shall play a pivotal role towards strengthening the capacity of the home to reach more street and destitute children in the town.