State to push new Act to boost children's rights

Three young girls playing together on a digital tablet. [Getty Images]

The National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS) has outlined mobilisation of resources and catering for the rights of the intersex community as some of the main challenges in implementing the new Children’s Act.

Chief executive officer Abdinoor Mohamed also outlined the war against online abuse of children as another challenge confronting stakeholders as they implement the Children’s Act 2022 that came into force in July this year.

Speaking during a stakeholders’ sensitisation forum in Mombasa, Mr Mohamed said there was a need to have standardised information and to mobilise resources from various sources to effectively address children’s needs.

He said the Act gives roles to the county governments and urged them to join in tackling the challenges facing children’s welfare in the country.

“In documentation, we have had male and female gender. But the intersex community now poses a new challenge and we should think of a provision for others. It is especially a challenge to have a child who grew up as a girl only to grow a beard at adolescence and seek to change the name to that of a boy,” he noted.

He was joined by representatives of the Mombasa Children’s Rights Network Ms Winnie Maina and Ms Janet Nzisa.

Mohamed noted that the Children’s Act was aligned with the Constitution 2010 and seeks to give equality to all Kenyans.

Ms Maina said stakeholders were being sensitised on how to address emerging challenges such as cyberbullying, radicalisation and 50-50 parenting responsibility provided for in the Act and enforced by the courts.

“The sensitisation seeks to achieve common ground in implementing the new Act. The Act seeks to address emerging challenges such as cyberbullying and radicalisation. Children will be placed in families and homes for their care,” he said.

Ms Nzisa, who is an advocate of the High Court, said there was a need for various stakeholders to join in the efforts to provide for children’s welfare hoping the judiciary will also be part of the key stakeholders.

She said it has been difficult to provide appropriate social facilities for intersexes, such as toilets and even police cells, and yet they have a right to equality under the Constitution. Ms Nzisa noted that the number of intersexes has been growing adding that the last national population and housing census indicated that there were 1,540 members.

“It is now important to have another category in addition to the male and female gender. There is a need to have separate toilets for intersex people,” she said.

She noted that the new Act provides for alternative dispute resolution to expedite cases of children. Ms Maina said children will be represented in court by lawyers.