For the Ogiek children this year’s Day of the African Child comes at a time when the community is in an expectancy season with much optimism to start a new life full of prospects for progressive growth.
Three weeks ago the Ogiek won a human rights case in the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights having instituted legal proceedings against the Kenyan government in 2009 following eviction threats from the Mau Forest Complex.
By virtue of eviction, the community’s rights to life, property, natural resources, development, religion and culture were intruded upon, the Court ruled.
All eyes now are upon the government to execute appropriate measures to remedy the damages caused mainly by making necessary reparations as guided by the Court.
This for the Ogiek children brings some sense of hope for a peaceful future free from any form of discrimination and increased access to resources needed for their holistic development.
This year’s theme “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity”, particularly captures aspirations of children in Ogiek community.
“There must be relentless efforts to safeguard the rights of the Ogiek children,” said Eunice Chepkemoi,Gender Officer at Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program(OPDP).
They need a supportive environment to build their dreams and grow into capable citizens equipped to utilize their efforts towards changing Kenyan economy.
“Access to education is still a major challenge to them due to intertwining challenges including their parent’s landlessness and poverty,” she said.
“Their parents have no place to farm or money to rent a farm to grow some cash crops.This instability has pushed them into abject poverty that they cannot afford to meet their children’s basic needs,” she added.
Securing their parent’s land rights would be one of the greatest steps towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda for the Ogiek child, she said.
The Day of the African Child aims at raising awareness for the situation of children in Africa and on the need for continuing improvement in education. It encourages people's spirit of abundance to share something special with a child in Africa.
Thirty million of the world’s 57 million children out of school are in sub-Saharan Africa and the poorest children in sub-Saharan Africa are four and a half times more likely to be out of school than the richest children.