A survey of 280 children by British based Kenyan charity Vision Africa in partnership with the Tin Roof Foundation, found that a majority of children were fearful of violence during next month’s elections.
The children, from the Tin Roof Foundation’s Simply Do Good programme found 38% of under 18s think the election will be peaceful, in contrast with 59% of over 18s. 60% of the group surveyed feel worried or scared about the election whereas 25% of under 18s feel excited.
Partner Projects Officer, Mary Mwangi, has been visiting projects as part of her annual Child Protection review.
Her focus this year has focused on what makes children and young people vulnerable during the election season. After talking to teachers, parents and young people she was surprised by some of the issues raised.
She discovered than an ECD centre in rural Kenya had seen a 10% increase in students enrolled due to families relocating back to their rural homes in fear of what will happen in more mixed communities.
In a frank discussion with some young students at Seed of Hope, a disturbing revelation was that aspiring politicians were trying to manipulate them.
“The results are worrying, there’s so much these children, especially the teenagers, are exposed to yet no one is explaining to them to help them understand. That explains the anxiety, the excitement and the fear as they can only take what they are seeing on social medial and other media outlets at face value.
“There’s need to do as many talks as possible in the remaining 18 days to the elections to assure them that all shall be well.” – Mary Mwangi, Partner Projects Officer
To help the young people during the election period, Vision Africa have decided to switch round the topics covered in their Empowerment Clubs.
In a change to the syllabus, this month they will look at Managing Conflict and Diversity, covering tribalism, gender, religious differences etc. At a training for club leaders in April, discussions took place on how this could be used to focus on peace during election season.