Terre des Hommes Netherlands involved in draft Children’s Bill in Kenya

In Kenya, the Children Act of 2001 is currently being reviewed and redrafted to align it with the amended Constitution of 2010. Even though legislation initiatives are mandated to government and parliament, the process is open for public participation. Terre des Hommes Netherlands has been involved in ensuring that non-governmental organisations focusing on children are incorporated in the review and feedback process. From our own programmatic perspective, we have recommended improvements of certain provisions in the draft Children’s Bill 2016, specifically on online protection of children and on protection of child victims of trafficking.

Children's rights

Need for new legislation

With the enactment of the amended Kenyan Constitution in 2010, some provisions in the Children Act of 2001 became obsolete. At first Kenyan legislators opted to table amendments to the existing act, but in the process decided to draft an entire new bill based on those amendments. This draft Children’s Bill 2016 has been published for review by stakeholders and the Kenyan general public.

Children Agenda Forum

The Children Agenda Forum is a networking platform, bringing together child centred non-governmental organisations working in Kenya. The forum’s mission is to promote child sensitive decision making in governance and development. Terre des Hommes Netherlands has been an actively participating member of this forum since its initiation in 2015. On behalf of the Forum, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and Save the Children have presented a memorandum to the Kenyan government requesting for a close working relationship, which has resulted in the Forum’s involvement in the review process of the draft Children’s Bill 2016.

Protection of children online and of child victims of trafficking

Through the Children Agenda Forum, all child focused organisations in Kenya have consolidated their recommendations for the draft Children’s Bill 2016. Based on our expertise and thematic focus, Terre des Hommes Netherlands has given input on various sections that in our view need to be improved, changed or elaborated. Online child protection was completely missing from the initial draft bill, whereas with the fast growing access of children to the internet it is an issue that cannot be ignored. At the same time, Terre des Hommes Netherlands felt that child victims of trafficking should be included in the definition of children in need of care and protection.

New Children’s Bill

At the moment the draft Children’s Bill 2016 is still under revision. In line with the Constitution, the Kenyan general public has been invited to share their feedback and recommendations for improvement. In this stage, it is difficult to predict when the new Children Bill will be signed into law. The Children Agenda Forum is lobbying to ensure the Bill is a law before the 2017 General Elections.

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