March continued to be a busy month for Crime Si Poa (CSP). This month, we conducted our largest paralegal with the training of a cohort of 74 youth and community leaders from Kisumu and Vihiga Counties.
Over the month of February, other than continuing in the execution of our project activities, we took the chance to build and rekindle the partnerships we’ve built over the years.
After a restful and well-deserved Christmas break, CSP Started the year on a high note with most staff reporting back re-energized for the year ahead.
On Friday 26th November 2021, 200 youth from Nakuru County, participated in a civic education session on active citizenship, access to justice and the institutions around it, and how they can avert being in conflict with law enforcement authorities in Kenya.
During the session held at the Nakuru Players Theatre, most youths from Nakuru town and its environment complained of victimization and unwarranted arrest from the law enforcement officers. This has led most youths to lose trust and hope in the system.
“We have been arrested countless times while going about our boda boda business. Unfortunately, we had to part away with money even though we had done no wrong. The boda boda owner also had to bribe the police despite proving that we had not broken any law,” said John, one of the youths attending the meeting.
This was echoed by fellow youth who have found themselves wrongfully arrested for crimes they haven’t committed.
However, according to the police representative present, Ann W Lucy most youth should make efforts to know their rights and how to defend themselves rather than rushing to bribe even in incidences where they are innocent.
“Our offices are open for complaints, especially where youth have been victimized by law enforcement officers. Always report such incidences to enable us to reform the police force and offer better services to citizens,” said Ann W Lucy.
Other than a representation from the National Police Service, the event organized by the Youth Safety Awareness Initiative (Crime Si Poa ®) was also attended by representatives from the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions, Boda Boda officials, and civil society players from the region.
Youth were urged to ensure they participate in public discourse on issues affecting them and exercise their civic duties and democratic rights such as registering as voters to be able to elect viable leaders who will represent their interest at all levels.
“Youth must engage in decision-making, especially by participating in the electoral process come 2022. As a youth, we must ensure we vote in leaders who have our interests at heart and will represent our issues at both the county and national level,” concluded, Abubakar Bilal of Uraia.
From the intense engagements during the forum, it was noted that there is a need for more collaborative efforts to help tackle issues of youth, civic education, and crime. The Crime Si Poa team promised to organize more forums to foster a crime-free society.
University of Nairobi (UoN) Students have opened doors to the law enforcement authorities in Kenya in a bid to end hostile relationships that have existed for decades especially among students and the police, in exchange for a safer learning and working environment for both parties.
Sexual abuse cases are often very sensitive as they cause grievous damage to the victim not only physically, but more so mentally and psychologically. Unfortunately, the majority of the sexual abuse cases in Kenya often go unreported mainly due to shame.
There is need for a more hand on approach in the fight against Sexual and Gender-based. Yvonne Nyechesa, a 17-year-old from Rongai, Kenya fell victim to the prying eyes of her neighbour, Jack.
Yvonne, described by her family as a happy child faced a dreadful fate on the evening of July 24, 2021. As Vyonne was playing outside their house Jack, a 28-year-old man from Burundi lured her into his house where he sexually assaulted her.
The mentally challenged girl did not fully comprehend the gravity of what had occurred. She innocently went and disclosed the events to her small sister despite threats and warnings from the perpetrator.
Jack, aware of her mental condition, offered Vyonne petty promises in the hopes that she would keep the matter silent.
“He promised her that he would buy her a cake and soda and told her not to tell anyone,” said the younger sister. “ I could not keep quiet, I had to tell my mom what had happened”.
The mother was appalled when she heard what had happened to her child and was driven to seek justice.
“When we got hold of the issue we helped Yvonne get medical assistance at Nairobi Women’s Hospital where she was checked/analyzed and given the necessary medical care,” said Halima Guyo, Crime Si Poa, Community Outreach Assistant in Rongai.
With the help of Crime Si Poa the matter was reported to a police station in Rongai, Kajiado County and had the man arrested for the crime. He is being detained in the industrial area awaiting trial.
“We could not help but feel remorse for Yvonne who during the whole process was oblivious to what was happening and was concerned with other matters that were insignificant at the moment like going back to school,” added Halima.
Only her mother and sister will carry the pain of the ordeal their innocent child and sister went through. However, they will find some solace in the fact that their child will get justice.
45 years ago, on the 16th of June 1976, twenty thousand (20,000) students in Soweto, South Africa took to the streets to protest.
Their reason was a decree recently issued by the colonial government to the effect that the language of instruction in schools would now be Afrikaans as opposed to English. For the children of African descent who were already struggling to study in a foreign language – English – the decree that they would now need to start learning in Afrikaans didn’t sit well. English they could tolerate as it was deemed an international language, but Afrikaans was simply a language of their oppressor. So the children took to the streets to fight for their right to be taught in their own language and on what was supposed to be a peaceful protest, they were met by police and law enforcement officers who, in a bid to disperse the crowd, opened fire, killing hundreds and injuring thousands in what has now come to be known as the Soweto uprising.
In 1991, the Organization of African Unity initiated the Day of the African Child to honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. The day is also meant to raise awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
Looking back on the 16th of June 1976 one thing particularly stands out, the bravery and sheer determination of those 20,000 plus school going children in standing up for their rights and fighting for what they believed in despite the circumstances. Their bravery eventually led to the adults in South Africa and the world over to finally declare “enough is enough” and work together to fight to bring an end to Apartheid.
Bravery and determination are two things which inherently characterize the African child. Bravery, to face head on any challenges that life throws their way and a determination so profound that the lack of adequate opportunities or resources is not enough to stop them from achieving their goals.
Take a look at Wangari Maathai, a village girl from Central Kenya who beat the odds and rose to be the first African Woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize; or Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the seventh Director-General of the WTO who rose to become the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General to one of the largest global organizations. What about Aliko Dangote, Trevor Noah, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, Lupita Nyong’o and countless other children of Africa who have risen above the odds to excel in their chosen fields.
All these serve to show that given the opportunity, the African Child has a lot to offer the world. And so this year, as we celebrate the Day of the African Child and look at the progress made in the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children, let’s strive to do better. To create equal opportunities and safe spaces for the African child to not only live but also thrive.
Once this is done, we can sit back and watch as the African Child conquers the world.
May 20, 2021
The Youth Safety Awareness Initiative (Crime Si Poa ®), is proud to be among the winners of the Juliette Gimon Courage Award granted by the Global Fund for Children.
“We’re pleased to recognize Youth Safety Awareness Initiative and Free Minds for their incredible work ensuring that children and youth impacted by incarceration have the tools they need to achieve their goals and create change in their communities,” said John Hecklinger, President and CEO of Global Fund for Children. “These organizations share the brave and passionate spirit that made Juliette such an extraordinary advocate for children around the world.”
Crime Si Poa ® and Free Minds Club were among the two publicly named winners hailed for championing the arts and education as tools to empower young people in conflict with the law. The two organizations were also acknowledged for advocating for criminal justice reforms and supporting young people who are directly impacted by incarceration as they lead efforts for change.
Crime Si Poa ® recognition was primarily due to its work under the community outreach program in empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth.
This award honors and validates Youth Safety Awareness Initiative’s courage in boldly undertaking a paradigm shift on community leadership narratives,” said Peter Ouko, the Executive Director.
“Crime Si Poa has borrowed the Global Fund for Children model of trust in localized solutions, and so by equipping and empowering children and youth – irrespective of their backgrounds – through education, access to justice, and social enterprise, we envision realizing a safe and crime-free society for all.”
The award not only serves as a motivator to the organization but more so vouches to the important work the organization is doing in the community.