Save the Child: How defilement, child neglect are crashing Baringo’s future

Children from Green View Academy during the 2022 Mashujaa Day celebrations, entertaining guests at Garden Square, Eldama Ravine Town, in Koibatek Sub County, Baringo County. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.
Children from Green View Academy during the 2022 Mashujaa Day celebrations, entertaining guests at Garden Square, Eldama Ravine Town, in Koibatek Sub County, Baringo County. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.

A concerned medic, who sought anonymity, narrates, “…the passion for helping kids is there but drained by the authorities towards getting justice for the children. Some kids run to institutions for help. 

When the institutions, which are part of the Court Users Committee, take up the matter, they divert it at its maturity stage. This leaves me heartbroken. 

Justice needs to be served for a minor who is being used for money. She is forced to abort in the most traumatizing manner when she gets pregnant. 

This is through an arranged defilement issue that a young girl has to live with for the rest of her life, and then the case is changed to suit the perpetrators. They convince the young one otherwise against her rights as a child in Kenya.” 

This is not just one case. There are many documented yet unfollowed cases. 

My informer tells me something must be done to trigger complete action, especially when a minor is looking for help. 

This is a call for action for any stakeholder with the children’s interest at heart.

Less than a week ago, Scholar Media Africa shed light on the horrors of neglected children in Baringo county. This feature dives deeper into the lingering problem.

These cases are diverse, and all minors need to know that sexual assault does not mean penetration only. 

It means being touched in a manner that disrespects you, especially in the private parts, spanking, and being winked at by a person you do not expect, like an elderly in a disrespectful manner, is also an ugly sign.

Old-fashioned Kipkaa

Despite that, the Children’s Officer in Koibatek sub-county, Kuria Muthandi, is warning all who play the hide and safe face trick. 

The elders are cautioned against colluding with perpetrators of defilement in society to cover up child abuse in that category in the name of settling issues the “Kipkaa” way. 

This is when they decide to have a solution of covering up the heinous act among themselves to protect the family name of the perpetrator. 

Long gone are the days the locals in the community decided a young girl’s fate after being defiled by an adult. Woe unto those elders using their influence to shut down reports of defilement from reaching the authorities. 

Kuria Muthandi, Children's Officer and Assistant Directorate of Children Services, Koibatek sub-county. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.
Kuria Muthandi, Children’s Officer and Assistant Directorate of Children Services, Koibatek sub-county. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.

This, he says, is sad because when the deal gets sour amongst the elders, then the parents of the girl run to the Children’s Office for help; when he follows up, he discovers that the girl is still a minor and gave birth while still a child, has dropped out of school and her rights totally abused.

In such scenarios, he says those involved can be arrested to drive the point home.

“As much as the community will try to cover up, these issues still get to the office. 

In such matters, I am forced to issue referral documents to ensure the perpetrator is arrested and a case filed for the OB number, then the case will be subjected to investigations, get enough evidence and have the court decide justice for the minor,” explains Muthandi.

Muthandi is also concerned that in such matters, the hospitals do not record or report such minor deliveries when they should. 

Society suffers from a lack of information. 

In some cases where perpetrators are far away, we do use the services of the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to summon such crooked people.

Child neglect

The Children’s Officer says that regular cases of neglect related to payment of school fees usually rise during school opening days, especially in January. 

His core duty is to ensure he represents the child’s interest according to the child’s rights enshrined in the constitution.

“A lot of the parents defy the summons I issue, especially men, and they even talk about paternity tests saying they want DNA to be done. This wastes the office’s time. 

Even when a letter with the government’s letterhead is delivered to them, they still ignore it. I find ways of making them come over and have the matter heard,” he says 

The local administration is very cooperative and pays keen attention to cases affecting children. 

“No kid should be given out for adoption as long as the biological parent is alive. I try as much as possible to ensure one of the parents becomes a custodian. 

Naturally, especially in such a cultured region, most of the children with quarreling parents have been taken up by either grandparents or uncles.

That works because if they can take care of the child in a proper way, whenever they need the office to intervene, I oblige,” he adds.

One of the elders and Everlyn Missilis of the Baringo county Area Advisory council, at the Children Office at Koibatek sub-county. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.
One of the elders Muthandi engages in solving some cases, and Everlyn Missilis of the Baringo County Area Advisory Council, at the Children’s Office at Koibatek sub-county, Baringo County. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.

Sometimes, the disposable methods are through awarding either party custody. 

The Children’s Office at Koibatek sub-county ensures that the other party is given written duties to adhere to, apart from the right to visit the child. 

For instance, there are cases where a mother accepts the father to take custody of their child. 

This happens on different grounds though: when the mother agrees to that in court, when she wants to move on with her life, maybe she is in another marriage, when she is unable to cater to the kid, or when she wants to move out of the area.

However, such acceptance comes with consequences. 

Parents should, however, not make emotional decisions when it comes to children.

The father can also have custody of the child if the court deems him fit to. 

Denied birth certificates

The Children’s Officer is also keen to arrest men that deny their spouses their identity cards for a child’s birth certificate application. 

“Parents should know a child has a right to have his or her birth certificate well documented. This child will use it to access education all through, travel abroad and sometimes earn a living in some other organizations. Why deny this child his/her rights,” he raises concern.

Some parents have chosen mainly to have their one name on the birth certificate; some have the child’s uncle or grandfather as the father, which is against the law. 

Muthandi says this will lead to an arrest and cautions everyone to get their children’s documentation right, putting their differences aside.

He also notes that the ID is a government document. 

Migrants impregnating women

Koibatek is a cosmopolitan environment; men searching for labor are mostly considered to work in the big flower farms around. 

Muthandi says most men come, impregnate women and then go, cutting with them.

Tracing such people is a hurdle because even the women don’t know them well. 

Polygamy, encouraged by the culture around, has made men sire kids anyhow and deny responsibilities.


After hearing all the cases, the Children’s Office digitally documents them, registering them to the National Grid, the Child Profile Information Management System (CPIMS). 

This online platform gives each case a serial number that can be located anywhere in the Department of Children in Kenya. 

This helps in following up on the case and getting the county statistics.

Muthandi says they liaise with other children’s offices in different sub-counties for issues such as tracing lost children. 

How to report cases

He says citizens should be sensitized on the police administration that serves their areas to avoid going to another sub-county where the jurisdiction of the Office does not cross over. 

He says the cases will be investigated within the locality where the case was reported.

Among many other cases, my experience was disturbing, worrying and an unhealthy trend for our society. 

Grownups must shape up and prioritize the well-being of their children. 

While some other factors justify the need to have cases heard, a small percentage seems willing to hang their partner’s linen in the Children’s Office.

Children, at every point of their lives, need parental care, presence and support. PHOTO/Child Health Africa.
Children, at every point of their lives, need parental care, presence and support. PHOTO/Child Health Africa.

“Sometimes I leave the office late, because I have to ensure the workload reduces and cases are handled as soon as possible, to give peace and solutions to the children’s welfare,” says Kuria Muthandi, the Children’s Officer.

Court Users Committee

He says he is part of the Court Users Committee, thus helping speed up children’s cases and engaging the various stakeholders on the children’s challenges. 

He thanks the area magistrate for always taking children’s cases to heart.

Other stakeholders under the CUC include hospitals.

From these hospitals, they expect reports of child abuse of any form in order to follow up and get the child’s rights respected.

He also liaises with the Heads of Education Institutes to ensure minors are all right.

Children Act 2022

Kenya has made milestones regarding children’s rights. The Children Act of 2001 was replaced by a new, amended Children Act of 2022. 

The act caters to over 24 million children in Kenya. 

This move boosted efforts in national planning and action to protect children by ending all forms of child violence. 

Kenya has in place the National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence against Children (2009-2023).

The end of corporal punishment was a huge milestone. 

Kenya has formally repealed the rights of parents and others to administer punishment to a child in Kenya, joining 10 other African states with the same stand.

Despite these milestones, parents still discipline their children by whatever means. While some are discovered and face the law, many cases go unheard.

Intervention measures

Among the nearly 36 categories the office deals with are: issues concerning abuse and violence, street children, child labor, children of imprisoned parents, sexual exploitation, and abuse, among others. 

Adoption is among the main modes of intervention being employed.

Muthandi says he has already received letters from willing parents or guardians to be allowed to adopt or foster children. This will involve many procedures to ensure a child’s interest is well catered for. 

Kuria Muthandi (at the front), Everlyn Misillis, Baringo county, and an elder. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.
Kuria Muthandi (at the front), Everlyn Misillis, Baringo county, and an elder. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, Scholar Media Africa.

 In Kenya, a child as young as six months and under 18 can be adopted legally. 

This comes with a process that is strictly adhered to by the Department of Children. 

According to the Adoption Regulations, 2006, Regulations for Charitable Children Institutions Act, 2005; National AFC Standards, 2015; The Children Act 2022, the parents must be Kenyan Citizens or have resided in Kenya for at least three years for you to go on with the adoption process.

Other approaches

Apart from adoption, Children Act 2022 also gives provisions for committing children to a well-established governmental or non-governmental institution, for that matter; be put under professional counseling to resolve either personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties or be put under foster care where the guardian is not a relative.

They can also be given to a guardian by a court order for care upon the parent’s death. This decision can also be reached with the surviving parent or in a case of a child born out of wedlock. 

Another mode of intervention is the Joint Parental Agreement, which must follow the guidelines of the Children Act 2022.

Family support is another intervention where even the community is expected to pay special attention to those vulnerable and at risk, thus strengthening families and parenting practices. 

This is according to NGLI-Invest in Families: Supporting Parents to Improve the Outcome for Children Report 2013. 

Others under the Children Act 2022 include: Judicial orders, legal aid, child maintenance, reconciliation, rescue and placement, release to parents referred to by a court or referred to other non-state agencies or a state agency, supervision with/without court orders, release on expiry of an order, and release on license or an early release (release on revocation of an order).

The written promises Kuria uses are also part of the operational interventions. He also engages elders to solve some cases in the villages.

Parents are also given time to bond and take control of their children.

Other forms of child abuse

Apart from the categories of abuse, cyberbullying through online spaces has had children sexually abused, harassed and intimidated, according to the Children Act 2022. 

Child trafficking is another disturbing crime against children, also using children for sacrifices or trade of any form. 

What, then, should we do?

Society needs to support the Children’s Department in its efforts.

While Gender-Based Violence (GBV) also affects children, establishing rescue centers for these minors to run to is essential.

Koibatek sub-county should stop concealing illegal engagements affecting children.

Through sensitization and civic education, the residents would know that perpetrators are investigated, taken to court and charged, to send a message home.

Entertainment joint owners must discourage minors from accessing their premises with or without adults. 

Any reported issues concerning child defilement should be taken seriously, regardless of the perpetrator’s caliber. 

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Horrors of Baringo’s neglected children; a day at the children’s office

The Children’s Office needs reinforcement to enable the Office to look into every matter. 

Local leaders whose localities have cases of unserved justice should be held accountable for living with victims who have seen no justice and perpetrators walking scot-free.

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Janet Kiriswo is A Multi-lingual certified professional Journalist (English, Swahili and Native Kalenjin). Holder of a Bachelor`s degree in PR & Communication skills from Moi University, A Diploma in Mass Communication from The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, (KIMC), with over 15 years active experience in the media industry. She thrives in covering stories matters that touches on Business, Health, community, Culture and Traditional issues and progress, Politics, Interviews and leaderships among others. She poses other skills in Public Relationship, Communication consultant, Radio presentation, broadcasting, visual feature stories, video/voice recording and editing among others. She strongly believes in changing the world through Communication.


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