On 25th November 2021 the GNRC Secretariat through its Network in Kenya convened a roundtable meeting in Nairobi for partners to respond to the multi-dimensional impacts of COVID-19 on children and youth. The partner’s roundtable gathered together 20 participants from the Network in Kenya including representatives from the Department for Children Services, Islamic Foundation Kenya, The Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa – Elim Church, Mombasa, World Vision Kenya, Bare Care, Partnership for Economic Policy, Centre for Sustainable Conflict Resolution, National Muslim Leaders Forum, The Cry Of A Young One, and Kesho Alliance.
Discussions at the roundtable centered on experience-sharing on the impact of COVID-19 on children in Kenya and neighboring countries. The meeting came up with recommendations for action, that could be spearheaded by the partners and other like-minded organizations. The discussions were guided by the 2020 Arigatou International Global Week of Faith in Action for Children, which highlighted the need for interfaith action in mitigating the problems affecting children during the pandemic.
Participants highlighted the challenges children faced including lack of quality education, mental health, and nutrition; noting that the pandemic had exacerbated inequalities and other forms of poverty and violence against children. It was further observed that radicalization into violent extremism had spiked during the pandemic period.
The roundtable echoed the need for concerted and collaborative efforts, including awareness raising, social protection, and research and advocacy, in responding to the impact of the pandemic. Some of the suggested actions were food donations, provision of hygiene packs (masks, sanitizers, and soaps), awareness creation on risk-reduction, providing psychosocial support, and mobilizing financial support to support the livelihoods of underprivileged families and other vulnerable groups in the community including children with disability.
Discussions concluded with members committing to strengthen collaborations among partners and move forward in implementing the recommendations made, and building upon the 2020 Global Week of Faith in Action for Children and the GNRC Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children.