State drafts policy seeking better rehabilitation, re-integration of street families

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Agnes Kugure (right) who is the patron of Agnes Kagure Foundation, distributes sanitary towels to members of the Nairobi street families at Michuki Gardens after she led hundreds of street children in planting trees at the park. Photo/PD/Bernard Malonza

The Government has developed a draft policy seeking better coordination, rehabilitation and re-integration of street families in the country.

Labour Cabinet Secretary, Simon Chelugui said one of the key strategies of the National Policy on Rehabilitation of Street Families will be mainstreaming of street families issues in all policies, plans and programmes in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), counties and non-state actors.

“In order to ensure coherence in the coordination of street families rehabilitation initiatives at the national, county, and sub-county levels, this policy provides a framework upon which all interventions will be anchored, and my Ministry will provide overall leadership,” said Chelugui.

Chelugui said the policy will provide a framework to guide and coordinate rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration, re-socialization and prevention interventions for street families for improved service delivery.

This, he said, will be realized through establishment of a policy coordination framework and governance mechanism on rehabilitation of street families; harmonisation of strategies, programmes and interventions targeting rehabilitation of street families as well as provision of standard operating procedures for rehabilitation and social protection of street families.

The policy will provide standard operating procedures for rehabilitation and social protection of street families

Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund (SFRTF) Chairperson, Jebii Kilimo yesterday led a public participation exercise in Nairobi to incorporate views of various stakeholders.

The weeklong participation exercise kicked off last week and is to be held in 35 counties.

Separately, the Government was urged to fast track the re-integration and rehabilitation process for street families.

A businesswoman, who is reportedly eyeing the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in the next elections, Agnes Kagure said that there are creative ways that the Government can adopt to change the plight of street families.

“We can create an environment from the free primary education policy in favor of the street families and this is not too much to ask.

They have so many talents that need to be explored and there is no better way to transform their destiny of a society than through education,” she said.

Kagure, who hosted hundreds of street families at Michuki Park and later led them to a tree planting exercise, said that those aged 18 and above can be placed in vocational institutions.

“As most Kenyans will acknowledge today, we have a shortage of artisans in the country, getting a competent electrician or a plumber is such a tall order yet we have men and women who can fill this gap if properly trained,” said Kagure.

She also urged Government to empower street families through a special fund that will assist them in setting up small enterprises.

The National Census of Street Families 2018 indicated that there are about 46,639 people living on the streets, with the highest concentrations being in Nairobi (15,337), Mombasa (7,529), Kisumu (2,746), Uasin Gishu (2,147) and Nakuru (2,005).

Most of these street persons were males accounting for 72.4 per cent, females at 27.6  percent, majority being the youth at 45.3 per cent, followed by children at 33.8per cent and the older persons at 2.4 per cent.

Overall, over two-thirds of the street persons in a particular county were inter- county migrants.

The census showed that majority of street persons frequent the streets every day from morning to evening while some live permanently in the streets.

Once the draft policy is finalized, the Ministry of Labor responsible for SFRTF will oversee overall coordination of the policy implementation and ensure requisite resource mobilization, involve stakeholders and enhance monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.

To ensure coherence in coordination of street families rehabilitation initiatives at the national, county, and sub-county levels, the policy will provide a framework upon which all interventions will be anchored.

The policy is to be reviewed after five years or as demand arises.

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