Turkana is the first county to launch a child protection strategy after Governor Josphat Nanok today launched a four year blueprint developed by a joint taskforce to ensure children receive care and access basic rights.

Addressing child protection stakeholders during the launch today at the Cradle Hotel, the Governor said the strategy was a key milestone in efforts to address child protection concerns.

“In 2014, I requested UNICEF and partners to develop a strategy to assist our county address child protection needs and I am glad that the we are launching the document today, which will support protection of children from bad abuse including gender, sexual and drug abuse, child labour and child marriages,” he said.

He assured that the County Government will lead the implementation of the strategy by providing technical and financial support which will include developing a bill and policy on child protection.

The Governor insisted that more effort was needed from government and partners to improve children access to education.

“Very critical in the area of education is how we protect the child right to education. In Turkana over 300,000 children are out of school mostly because of budgetary issues, lack of adequate teachers, poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities. There is need for innovative ideas to increase number of teachers especially in the rural areas and for us to double efforts to support parents take children to school considering the change in attitude on education compared to before,” he said.

Governor Nanok expressed hope that the strategy will help address the street children menace which he said was caused by among others irresponsible parents, teenage pregnancies. He said there was need for sensitization campaigns for parents to play a bigger role in the upbringing of their children rather than abandon the responsibility to other relatives or politicians.

He urged civil societies to take up the role in management of children rescue centres to support the County Government investment to set up the centres for the rehabilitation of children.

On her part, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection Monika Sandvik-Nylund hailed the strategy which she said will provide vision and direction to be taken when focusing resources on child protection.

County Executive for Education,Sports and Social Protection said the Ministry will work together with the National Government’s Child Protection Department to ensure objectives of the strategy are realised.

Others who spoke include County Public Service Board Chair Dr. John Ng’asike, Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection Dr. Lolelea Natade as well as members of the taskforce which developed the strategy under the Turkana Gender and Child Protection Network (TGCPN).

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro later chaired panel discussion on the provisions of the strategy.