Nairobi sets aside Sh40m for street children rescue project

Nairobi street boy

An official from the Nairobi City County Inspectorate Department is pictured with a street boy along Kenyatta Avenue footpath on September 11, 2020. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Consortium of Street Children in 2016 estimated that there are well over 6,000 street children in Nairobi alone.

Nairobi County is set to spend Sh40 million rehabilitating street children and other vulnerable groups, and and reintegrating them into society

The county plans to rescue 300 children from the streets and other informal settlements and take them to child care facilities starting July.

It has already mapped hotspots in the central business district and its environs.

The exercise, set to be carried out in phases, is aimed at reducing the number of street children in the capital.

The first phase will see the county government spend Sh5 million on rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Another Sh3 million will go towards family reunification and integration, Sh2 million on supervised child care facilities and Sh2 million on trauma and therapy sessions.

“The allocation is meant to promote the rights of children and provide protection, by rescuing them from difficult circumstances, and improve the state of childcare facilities,” said county Education executive Janet Ouko.

Ms Ouko added that the money will be used to run the four children’s homes in Nairobi - Makadara, Kayole, Shauri Moyo and Joseph Kang’ethe - as well as complete the Ruai rehabilitation center.

Annual programme

City Hall rescues and rehabilitates street children every year.

In 2018, the county government rescued more than 700 children and took most of them to the four homes.

Some 281 street children underwent the process the following year. Seventy one were reunited with their families while the rest were placed in child care facilities in the capital, for rehabilitation and reunification with their families at a later date.

According to a 2018 survey by the State Department for Social Protection, there are at least 46,639 street families in the country, the majority of them - 15,337 - in Nairobi.

The numbers have grown every day since, with the higher influx in Nairobi raising concerns about crime and child abuse by people seeking to make money from unsuspecting members of the public.

Some have been turned into drug mules and others recruited into extortion rings.

A significant portion of the street families are foreigners, especially from Tanzania, who are kidnapped and sneaked into the country to be turned into beggars.

The Consortium of Street Children in 2016 estimated that there are well over 6,000 street children in Nairobi alone.

In 2019, Nairobi MCAs concerned about the “social nightmare” or many street families, called on the county executive to develop a comprehensive policy to guide their rescue and rehabilitation.