NCCK Message on Safeguarding Children
December 22, 2021
Message from the NCCK on Safeguarding Children during the School Holidays
Luke 17: 1 – 2
Jesus said to His disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause of these little ones to sin.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our Children will in the next few days come home for their holidays, which will coincide with the Christmas and New Year festivities. This is a great opportunity for family bonding, joyful reunions, and holistic nurture.
The holidays are however coming at a time when children are at a very high risk. This risk was highlighted through the theme of the 2021 World Aids Day: Komesha Mimba za Utotoni.
It is a sad reality that in 2020, 328,768 girls aged 10 – 19 years were impregnated, pushing the number of child mothers in Kenya to more than 1 million. These pregnancies are the result of defilement of the children by relatives, strangers, and in some cases their agemates. The cases of physical and sexual violence against children are on the rise, affecting both girls and boys. The number of boys who have been sodomized is rising at a worrying rate.
The high level of defilement among the children is resulting to a rise in the number of new HIV and AIDS infections among the children aged 10 -19 years.
In light of the foregoing, we are reminded by the Bible that we as adults, and especially ministers of the gospel, we have an obligation to care for and protect the children. If we passively stand aside as the children are attacked and violated, we will have joined the offenders.
To help address this situation, we recommend that you consider taking the following actions:
1. Pulpit Messaging
Let us use our pulpits and every opportunity to speak in public to warn the people that sex with minors is not only immoral and unjust, but also a criminal offence punishable by law. We need to do all we can to ensure that every adult is ashamed of having sex with a child. We also need to warn the children, both boys and girls, of the dangers of underage sex. It is our prayer that God will enable us to revive the respect and appreciation of abstinence so as to reverse the prevailing glorification of sex.
2. Conferences and Bible Clubs
We encourage you to bolster your children, teenagers and youth ministry through conferences and Bible clubs during the school holidays. Let us feed the young ones with the Word of God, which is the strength they require to withstand the pressures of their generation.
3. Parenting Trainings
Parents are experiencing heavy pressure to perform and provide for their families. Many feel unprepared to care for children whose generation and environment is radically different from the one in which they grew up. We encourage you to organize conferences and seminars for parents to share experiences and ideas, and to learn new strategies and build their capacities.
4. Partnering with National Government Administration Officers
We encourage you to cooperate with the administrative officers in your area to build and enhance community structures to protect children. Do not hesitate to go to higher authorities should the administrators in your area collude with defilers to cover up the cases.
5. Reporting and Supporting Prosecution
It is important that you encourage parents, relatives and victims of defilement to report the cases to police, and to follow through for prosecution of the offenders. We learn from the Bible that when an offender is punished, it stops others from committing similar crimes. Let us discourage out-of-court settlements as much as possible, and we certainly must speak against forcing the violated girls to get married to their offenders.
We encourage you to provide counselling services to the children and parents as part of your ministry. Many people are experiencing mental health related challenges, and some end up abusing children. Let us provide psychosocial support to all to enable them cope. We also encourage you to have counsellors of your own to support and strengthen you as you minister to the community.
7. HIV Counselling, Testing and Treatment
To counter the rise in new infections, let us use every instance we have to speak to encourage people to get tested for HIV, and those who test positive to adhere to treatment.
May God bless all as we seek to protect the children during these holidays.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui