This week we held a stakeholders meeting regarding children and youth living and working on the street (CYLWS). The purpose of this meeting was to get different stakeholders from the government officials to CSOs that deal with children to meet and discuss matters concerning CYLWS.
This one day meeting was conducted at IDYDC headquarters and organized by our MVC/OVC program. Program officers from other CSO like FISH and Safina attended the meeting. District Executive Director was represented while gender desk officer and police chief of station also were in attendance. Chairman of one of the youth groups attended to represent the CYLWS.
IDYDC Director Mr John Nkoma welcomed all the participants and opened the meeting. He gave a brief history of IDYDC and why the organisation was started. The first program was for school dropout children which later on included street children. Mr Nkoma gave the experience of the organisation on dealing with vulnerable children and urged participant to work together to find solutions for these children.
One of the participant who is a youth working on the street gave his experience of the street life. The revelations of the street life was eye opening for most of the participants. Richard (not a real name) explained how children struggle especially they young ones as there is no real protection for them. Adults use and abuse these children, they use them to steal for them or smuggle prohibited items. There are a lot of risks in the street and no child should remain on the street.
After discussion the participants agreed to work together to make sure these children are protected and find a better way to get them off the streets. Each group will have specific tasks to accomplish to reach that goal. For example ward executive officers will make sure the child safety committees in the streets are active and doing what they are supposed to do. Police promised to forge a friendship with the children and not treating them as suspects. IDYDC we will continue to work with children and youth working and living on the street and follow up on other stakeholders to keep their promise.