Amref Health Africa to implement a Child Protection Project funded by the Government of Canada

by Noah Wekesa

The project seeks to reduce incidences of child abuse and empower community health workers in child protection and COVID-19 response

Nairobi: Wednesday 5 August 2020 – The Canadian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) through the Canadian High Commission in Kenya has funded a one-year COVID-19 Child Protection Project that will be implemented by Amref Health Africa in 32 informal settlements in Dagoretti Sub County, Kenya.

Funded to a tune of approximately CAD50,000, the project will strengthen child protection and COVID-19 prevention through community awareness and capacity building of Community Health Workers. Among the beneficiaries are 3,500 girls, 3,000 boys, 3,800 caregivers and 300 frontline health workers.

‘‘The project recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to negative social and economic effects including increasing cases of teenage pregnancy, child abuse, and gender-based violence. Children and women living in informal settlements are at higher risk of these negative effects. Amref is committed to protecting the well-being of vulnerable members of society. We will work with the local government, Community Health Workers and community leaders to improve child protection, reduce cases of GBV, and empower young people with life skills while also working to slow down the spread of COVID-19,’ said Dr Meshack Ndirangu, the Country Director of Amref Health Africa in Kenya.

The intervention comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in disruptions of daily routines, partial lock-down and curfews, which continue to expose children especially girls living in informal settlements to protection risks, increased incidences of abuse, poor reporting and limited access to essential services. Moreover, psychosocial support for the survivors is constrained due to security risks in the informal settlements, overstretching of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response call centres, acute shortage of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Community Health Workers limiting their reach in the communities.

“Together, we must protect children’s rights and ensure no one is left behind. Canada continues to champion for the rights of children and youth, especially the rights of girls and recognizes the need to address the challenges they face during this pandemic. We are proud to be working with our Canada Fund for Local Initiatives partner Amref Health Africa in Kenya as part of the solution to easing the impact the virus has on the most vulnerable.” said Lisa Stadelbauer, High Commissioner of Canada to Kenya.

The COVID-19 Child Protection Project will seek to reduce incidences of child abuse and empower frontline workers in child protection through a mix of interventions at family and community levels.

The child and family level interventions will entail the development and dissemination of child and caregiver friendly key messages on child protection, integrated with COVID-19 prevention, management and control messages, and creation of linkages to psychosocial support for survivors within the target areas. The project will also establish and strengthen linkages to existing socio-economic support systems (food, hygiene kits and cash transfers) in the target community to cushion vulnerable families during the pandemic period.

On the other hand, community and society’s interventions will include training of frontline health care workers on child protection and COVID-19 prevention and response. Through this project, young women at the Dagoretti Fashion and Design School will produce personal protective equipment for health care workers to further enhance their capacities to respond effectively to COVID-19 clients. The interventions will also look toward strengthening child protection and COVID-19 prevention and response coordination by actively participating in county, and national forums to highlight key issues in the thematic areas as well as contribute towards the advocacy for maximization of available resources for improved results.

The project will see 300 frontline workers trained on child protection and COVID-19 prevention, and 4,000 PPEs distributed.

[ENDS]

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Amref Health Africa

Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa based International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) currently running programs in over 35 countries in Africa with lessons learnt over 60 years of engagement with governments, communities and partners to increase sustainable health access in Africa. Amref Health Africa also incorporates programme development, fundraising, partnership, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and has offices in Europe and North America as well as subsidiaries: Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Enterprises and the Amref International University.

About the High Commission of Canada in Kenya

Canada established diplomatic relations with Kenya at the time of its independence in 1963. Canada’s High Commission in Nairobi is our largest mission in Africa, accredited to Kenya as well as Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda, and the United Nations Environment Programme and UN-Habitat. Canada and Kenya have an excellent relationship founded on a range of shared interests, including poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, the empowerment of women and girls, supporting refugees, and regional security and stability.

PRESS CONTACTS

Janice Njoroge, Communications Manager, Amref Health Africa in Kenya Email: [email protected]

Njeri Munyiri, Political and Public Affairs Officer, Canadian High Commission in Kenya Email: [email protected]

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