Advocacy for new Children’s Bill in Kenya

Terre des Hommes Netherlands and like minded organisations have joined forces in advocating for improvements in legislation for children in Kenya. Goal is to push for a quick enactment of the draft Children’s Bill, since the Children’s Act of 2001 which is currently under review is outdated in certain aspects. Terre des Hommes Netherlands feels the new bill is important as it contains essential improvements in the formal child protection structure in Kenya. The new bill also has provisions for relatively new child protection issues that are absent in the current Children’s Act, such as the emergence of Internet. 

Children's rights

Improved child protection structure

Coordination has been one of the key challenges in child protection in Kenya, or rather lack of proper coordination. As a result, children in urgent need of protection have been falling through the cracks, which Terre des Hommes Netherlands and it partners have also experienced. The new Children’s Bill will spell out and strengthen the coordination and responsibilities of key departments and stakeholders when it comes to child protection. In future this should positively impact Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ work.

Internet safety

As much as the Internet provides new opportunities and positive exposure for children, at the same time it may put children at risk of online abuse and cybercrimes such as online sexual exploitation. The new law is  expected to take into account emerging child protection threats, specifically those threats related to the internet that were not an issue in 2001 when the current children's law was enacted. Being an expert when it comes to webcam sex tourism and other forms of online sexual exploitation, Terre des Hommes Netherlands welcomes any legal improvement in online protection of children.

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 has been published in the course of 2016. It is hard to predict how much time it will take until the bill is adopted by the Kenyan government and parliament. That is why child focused organisations including Terre des Hommes Netherlands have decided to jointly start an intensive lobby, to ensure fast enactment of the new Children’s Bill so that Kenyan children will be optimally protected by law.

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