Solutions Spotlight: Child’s Rights Defenders

This is the third installment in Together for Girls’ featured series “Solutions Spotlight”, a collection of stories on recent innovative initiatives in violence prevention and response specifically impacting children, provided by the Impact and Innovation for Development Centre (IIDC).  

 

IIDC is a non-governmental organization seeking to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable groups (such as children and youth) throughout Africa through the promotion of socio-economic development interventions and innovations. Read on to learn more about these promising initiatives taking place in East Africa.

How Becoming a Child’s Rights Defender Shaped My Life

 

Child’s Rights Club (CRC) members in Kenya take a selfie during a meeting with visitors from Canada. The CRC was established by KAACR.  (Photo Credit: KAACR)

Emmanuel Dennis Ngongo was 13 years old and in high school in Kenya when he came across the Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children (KAACR) through the school’s Child’s Rights Club (CRC). When his parents were transferred to another district, he had to change schools and due to his positive experiences at the first club, Emmanuel wrote to KAACR to get help in launching a new club.

 

Kenya, like many other countries across the globe, has dire statistics on violence against children. Rape, violence and child labor occur widely in both rural and urban areas. For many young people, the situation is made worse by their inability to speak out both at school and within their communities.

 

Development Practitioner and Youth Advocate, Emmanuel Dennis Ngongo began his work as a Child’s Rights Defender through a KAACR Child’s Rights Club (Photo Credit: Peter Cacah)

KAACR, a network organization established nearly two decades ago, serves as a platform for like-minded youth to engage in communications and advocacy regarding ending violence against children in Kenya. Using channels such as WhatsApp and social media, KAACR has reached at least 200 young men and women, many of whom have amazing stories to tell about their transformation. They share ideas and propel change at national, regional and international levels. Their primary mandate is to champion for children’s rights in all spaces, as they believe that every child should be protected.

 

Emmanuel was so inspired by his experiences with KAACR’s Child’s Rights Clubs, that he launched the Child’s Rights Defenders Movement with other peers in 1999 hosted by KAACR.  He later worked for KAACR as an advocate protecting girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage and in general youth development work where he coordinated the Youth Employment Summit sessions in Kenya and throughout Africa.

 

A Child’s Rights Club celebrating Day of the African Child on June 16th (Photo credit: KAACR)

 

As a young adult continuing to advocate for youth, Emmanuel credits KAACR for making a  positive impact on his life. Emmanuel went on to serve on the International Youth Initiative Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundation and is the Convener of the National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA), a Kenyan youth multi-stakeholder network for policy dialogue and implementation. He is a council member of the URAIA Trust that carries out civic education for citizens in Kenya. Emmanuel is also the Founder and Director of the Green Teams Initiative, a social enterprise working to curb climate change while creating revenue streams for employment creation.

 

“I thank KAACR for buying my ever first air ticket,” said Emmanuel. “They offered me a job and instilled in me ethical values that I hold dear, (which includes being stubborn especially when I detect the slightest smell of mediocrity). I thank you.”

To learn more about Child’s Rights Clubs, visit KAACR’s website. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of Solutions Spotlight along with more stories of promising interventions from the Impact and Innovation for Development Centre (IIDC) on TfG’s Safe Blog.