Our global network keeps growing! Today we’d like to welcome the Elgon Centre for Education as a network member.
The Elgon Centre for Education (ECE) is a not-for-profit organisation in Kenya. It was founded by passionate individuals with the objective of promoting education in rural, marginal areas, fostering prosperity and development through access to education, and mitigating the effects of alcohol and other substance abuse in society. The organisation covers five counties including Busia, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana.
As always, we like to post a news story about new members – in their own words – and promote the organisation amongst the KCS network and online following.
By Kennedy Kirui Bomji, Chairman
What made you decide to join the KCS members’ network?
In November 2019, I came across the call for application for delegates at the first-ever KCS Africa Conference in Nairobi on Keeping Children hosted by KCS. I made my application as soon as I could and kept on checking my email if I would ever get the “regret” message am used to in many such applications.
Finally, I received the ‘congratulations’ message from Bill Harris and prepared myself to attend the Conference. In 2019, I engaged more than 20,000 students, most of them under 18 and this meant that my work and programs directly deals with children.
On January 8-9, 2020, I joined hundreds of other delegates across Africa and this is where I learnt a lot about the importance of having a child safeguarding policy within the organisation.
Coupled with the high cases of violence against children and many organisations, personalities and staff have found themselves in the corridors of justice for VAC, sexual exploitation amongst others while executing their programs.
The clear message from that Nairobi conference, the procedures and importance of joining as a member, I started working on preparing ECE to be a member as we look forward to being a sought-after organisation in terms of safeguarding the safety of children.
The desire to improve on child safeguarding and standards in my community, which for years, is marginalized, to withstand political witch-hunts in the humanitarian sector of our communities inspired me to join KCS in order to learn more, network and share experiences with other child-centred leaders across the globe.
What is your key driver to implementing child safeguarding?
I come from a community and village where cases of violence against children have been very high over years due to poverty and lack of literacy. Between 2006-2008, my community fought over land and many children under 18 were recruited as fighters, and in so doing, many lost their lives and livelihood. Some including my childhood friends died because they were defending the land as part of the Sabaot Land Defense Forces (SLDF).
My ambition is to use my organisation to promote access to education for sustainable development and through the community can find out an alternative source of income, other than relying on ever smaller pieces of land. Many children suffered, many organisations sprung up who, instead of helping the children, used them to solicit donor funding.
My focus is to have a professional organisation led by professional staff who understands the value of keeping children and more particular ensuring that the children are safe from our staff. This is why joining KCS is important to learn more and engage more.
Where do you think your organisation will be regarding child safeguarding in a year?
Depending on the availability of resources to improve on our programs, in one year time, we will have developed proper child safeguarding policies and implementation plans for all our staff, partners, volunteers and clients.
We do hope that in one year, we are able to facilitate induction and offer capacity building to other upcoming and existing organisations on holistic child safeguarding protocols and as well act as a benchmark for others.
What message do you want to tell your staff, donors and the wider world?
We all work so hard to build a better and safe world for our children. But how safe are the children from us, from our programmes and activities!
Well, Elgon Centre for Education is committed to ensuring that in every activity we carry, we create a safe space for children to access education, reproductive health and free from alcohol and drug addiction. We are a very young organisation led by young people and ready to partner with and/or get any support from any organisation to help us steer our activities in the forgotten corners of the Western and North-rift region of Kenya and bring the much-desired change.
To create safe spaces for children, we must communicate and act in a manner that expresses the safety of children in our midst or programs.
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