TdH-NL and Kesho Kenya organised a Learning and Reflection Event for the ´Tackling Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC) project on the Kenyan Coast. The event was conducted in two days starting on 14 September 2021 with community representatives and caregivers of project beneficiaries and continued on 15 September 2021 with targeted government officials, private sector representatives, representatives from CSOs, and law enforcement officers in attendance.
The key objectives of this final Learning and Reflection event were;
The meeting was scheduled at the end of the project implementation period so as to be able the team to gather feedback on the intervention as well as harvest outcomes that have been realised by the intervention. This feedback and outcome harvesting was documented from interactive sessions that took place in the meetings.
The interactive sessions were in the form of World Café sessions and encompassed 5 groups, each discussing specific respective segments of the feedback and outcomes:
Participants on both days shared both the learning and success points of the intervention. These included the positive outcomes of the intervention including its contribution to community members’ behavior change which is a precursor to eliminating SEC and solidifying of existing community structures that strengthen sustainability in tackling SEC beyond the project period.
The event was important in informing future interventions in terms of co-opting lessons from the just concluded interventions. It was also an important avenue of documenting the change that has been achieved as outcomes against the objectives of the concluded intervention.
Generally, based on the reflections and feedback shared during the event, the ´Tackling Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC) project has been a successful project.
132 girls and 27 boys have been rescued from sexual exploitation and provided with respective services as per their individual needs for recovery and protection. 251 girls and 117 boys who were at extreme risk of being sexually exploited have also been safeguarded and ensured they are enrolled in school, have access to education and remain enrolled to the highest level possible while simultaneously sensitising their caregivers through child protection trainings to enable them to protect their children against the risks that predisposed them to sexual exploitation.
Through peer-to-peer engagements over 1550 vulnerable children and 159 SEC survivors have engaged in awareness-raising sessions through Child Rights Clubs (CRCs) in 31 schools and this has raised their awareness of their rights and made them capable of demanding for their rights by engaging duty bearers.
Through awareness-raising and sensitization of the danger of not reporting SEC incidences,the project encouraged community members to report SEC incidences to the authorities and now there is active reporting of these incidences
The project started off with 21 girls receiving legal advice leading to 13 cases being picked up by law enforcement and 6 cases taken to court. 2 have already been concluded. This has demonstrated to the community that the legal system can provide justice to SEC victims and now many more cases are being reported by the community and being taken to law.
Also, over 4544 community members with children vulnerable to exploitation have participated in awareness-raising activities (barazas, dialogues and participatory learning engagements) and are now able to protect their children better from child exploitation.
There is a realisation of the need for more engagement and lobbying at the community level to tackle SEC as well as collaborative, joint efforts with various actors including the private sector to tackle SEC in the coastal region.