Policymakers challenged to include boy child in gender policy formulation

Kenyans Monday joined the rest of the world in marking International Day of Boy Child with speakers calling on policy makers to include male child in key policy formulation.

Speaker after speaker during the event held at Koblenz Social Hall, Mombasa argued that the boy child has been either consciously or unconsciously isolated in the gender mainstreaming agenda.

African Boy Child Network Director, Rosemary Kinuthia claimed:“ The deliberate exclusion of the male gender is rife at the policy formulation level both locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.If you are not part of any gender documents, there is nothing for you. All gender documents in this country and beyond does not speak for the boy child.”

She posited that many state and non-state gender empowerment programmes are aligned to the girl child at the expense of the opposite gender. “It does not make sense for us to develop policies and deliberately exclude the key gender in our society. My own network does not attract donor funding because it advocate for the boy child empowerment,” revealed Kinuthia.

Mombasa County Boda Boda Association Chairman Khalifa Mwatsau observed that lack of role models in the society has pushed the boy-child into deviant norms. “The boy child of today lack the role model figure to guide him to the right path. Men who ought to guide the boys are busy out there,” observed Mwatsau.

He also cited breakdown in the value system as causes of the societal challenges of juvenile criminal gangs and abuse of narcotics drugs in Mombasa County. “As bodaboda operators, we are involved in safety, security, peace, youth empowerment and discipline geared towards helping our youth out of criminal groups,” he added.

On his part, Mvita sub-county Medical Health officer (MOH), Doricina Omondi called on gender empowerment advocates to put emphasis on mental health to properly empower the boy-child.

Dr Omondi further noted that many young people are grappling with the mental health due to financial stress, peer pressure and breakdown in family ties.

Uhuru Garden Assistant Chief Mbarak Kombo also observed that the boy-child has been eclipsed with exaggerated efforts deployed to empower the opposite gender.

Kombo called on private players to work closely with the national government in bridging the gender gap through programmes geared towards empowering males.

“Since time immemorial, the boy child has been conditioned to believe he has to be the strongest member of the society but with the success of the girl child empowerment, that loudest voice has diminished with women taking up the stage. We can still reverse the trend by creating both gender sensitive society,” he added.

Mvita sub-county youth officer Jeneliza Mwandende stressed for financial security among the youth to overcome some of the challenges.

Mwandende argued that the national government has developed Uwezo Fund, Youth Fund and other affirmative action funds geared towards empowering both gender. “We offer loans and grants to the youth below 35 years and we encourage the bodaboda operators to join Saccos and groups in order to benefit from the funds. We also offer trainings on entrepreneurship,” she added.

Her Changamwe sub-county counterpart, Richard Rwoti added the youth affairs department is implementing a sexual reproductive health programme geared towards increasing youth access to health services.

He said the programme dubbed Vijana Vuka na Afya (VIVA) is targeting youth aged 15-24 years, mostly those out of schools and colleges.

“The project has several components such as sexual reproductive, entrepreneurship training and technical skills development, catering, wielding, motorcycle mechanic and hair dressing,” he added.

The project is implemented in collaboration with Germany government through Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)



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