Nairobi’s street children are from diverse backgrounds. Some are from abusive homes or have been abandoned by their parents. Others have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or dropped out of school to support their families.
AMREF’s Dagoretti Child in Need Project is a model for community-based child-care and support for street children as well as for children from slums and other disadvantaged backgrounds. The project involves a process known as the 4-Rs: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Re-socialisation and Reintegration.
AMREF operates a centre in Dagoretti, which caters for 180 children. It assists the children in re-joining the Kenyan school system or to begin vocational training programmes. The children visit the centre on a daily basis and are given food, health care and counselling. They are also helped to find and reunite with their families. Where this is not possible, AMREF searches for suitable guardians within the local community.
The project began in April 2001. It is funded by AMREF in Italy.
Main aims of the programme:
- To rescue, rehabilitate, resocialise and reintegrate abandoned and vulnerable children back into the family unit and community
- To increase community understanding and awareness of the rights of children as a way of stemming the flow of children on to the streets.
- To increase vulnerable children’s access to basic education and vocational training opportunities.
- To increase vulnerable children’s access to basic health services and information.
- To establish a sustainable child-care and support model for street children, which could be scaled up and replicated in other communities.
The key achievements:
- improved access to education and skills training for the children: 1168 children supported to access education and over 600 youth facilitated to attain vocational training
- improved health and social status of children in Dagoretti division: Over 5000 children and community members facilitated to access health care and health education and over 30 life skills clubs established and active
- children’s referral system strengthened through the Advisory Area Council (AAC)
- five theatrical productions developed and performed in 4 countries: Kenya, Italy, Netherlands and Brazil
- project best practices and lessons learnt documented and disseminated: 11 documentaries made and viewed in over 10 countries each
- increased community participation in promoting child rights and well being of children in need. For instance children’s issues are at the forefront of discussions at the District Development Council and the Constituency Development Fund Committee
- a sustainable system for provision of education and health care for disadvantaged children in Dagoretti established
- concluded the first phase of a model university students, artisans and disadvantaged youth empowerment programme
- a community library constructed in partnership with the City Council of Nairobi and Kenya National Library Services
- a community empowerment centre at 90% completion
- project identified as a model for replication in Child Protection by the Government and UNICEF and contracted to build capacity in the 4 pilot Child Protection Centres in the country.