Leaders step up interventions to save boy children from neglect

Mathioya resident Peter Mwaniki said the effect of alcoholism in the region has threatened the boy child, appreciating the planned meeting by DP Gachagua.

Mwaniki said the fight against the Mungiki sect in early 2000 kicked off the neglect and sidelining of young men after the killings and the arrest of the ardent supporters.

"The community turned on the youth, and most remained in their home compounds as they feared moving out not to be branded the sect members by the police," he said.

Mwaniki observes that after the fight against the Mungiki eased the government started fighting the second-generation brews that have yet to be phased out despite wrecking the youth.

During his campaigns, DP Gachagua has branded himself as an ambassador for the boy child.

Recently in Muranga County, the DP said the gravity of alcoholism, among other social issues blamed on the boy child led him to plan for a meeting targeting elected leaders and administrators from the counties of Kiambu, Murang'a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, and Nyandarua.

"I am interested in the boy child, and we shall meet with Governors, Senators, MPs, and police and administrators coming Friday in Nyeri," said the DP.

A psychologist Nathan Kamau said the issue of the boy child requires an intensive approach to save him from being swayed.

Kamau runs a mentorship programme centred on raising self-worth among young children and helping them discover their talents, and avoid drugs.

He said 20 years ago, the community lost the boy child after focused attention and resources were centred on the girl child a move that was fast-tracked by the NGOs'.

"The neglect of the boy child is so widespread that in parent meetings in schools, the majority of those who attend them are mothers, thus affecting the well-being of the boys, through the lack of father figures in society," he said.

He observed that to bridge the gap parents need to spend a minimum of 15 minutes with their children daily to understand them better.

"In my research within Murang'a County on the sample size of 3,400 children in 16 primary and secondary schools, I found that 88 per cent of children do not spend enough time with their parents," he observed.

Out of the students' interviews, only a fraction of the boys said they have an intact relationship with their parents.

Kamau who is a child psychologist said most boys hinted they were closer to their mothers.

Joseph Kibugi from the Kigumo constituency said the plight of boy children in Central Kenya is at high stake due to massive drug abuse, bhang, and second-generation brews.

Kibugi, who heads Kibugi wa Ihii Foundation, said the absenteeism of fathers in most families forced the young men to seek solace in anti-social behaviours.

"Demand for alcohol has led business owners to venture into the manufacture eying the increased profits," said Kibugi.

He noted his foundation has been engaging young boys since 2018, covering over 100 learning institutions.