On the 8th of August, Kenya will hold a General Election to decide who will govern the country for the next five years. During the campaign season in the run up to the election, there is a lot of tension in the country. In partnership with our friends at Tin Roof Foundation we surveyed 280 children and young people through their Simply Do Good programme. The results show that children are more fearful that the election will not pass peacefully.
From our sample of 280 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.
Our Partner Projects Officer, Mary Mwangi, has been visiting projects as part of her annual Child Protection review. This year, she has focused on what makes the children and young people at our projects vulnerable during the election season. Having talked to teachers, parents and young people she has been surprised by some of the issues that are already coming up. Examples include an ECD centre in rural Kenya facing a 10% increase in students enrolled. This is 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, they shared that they are being manipulated by aspiring politicians.
When Mary saw the results of the survey her comment was “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.”
In anticipation of the election, we took a decision to switch round the topics for our Empowerment Clubs. The topic for October is Managing Conflict and Diversity which covers tribalism, gender, religious differences etc. This is now being covered in July and at a training for club leaders in April, discussions took place on how this could be used to focus on peace during election season.
We hope and pray that there is peace in Kenya in the coming weeks. If you’re in Kenya please take Mary’s advice and talk to the children around you, listen to any worries they have about the election and try to reassure them.