Boda boda riders in many parts of the Kenya are ignorant of child protection and rights and have for a long time viewed children as easy prey for sexual gratification and exploitation. Most of the teenage pregnancies have been associated with the riders who lure school girls with small gifts in exchange for sexual favours.
The riders are also known to run very strong networks in the communities they operate in giving them an opportunity to access information as a group.
Plan International Kenya under ‘Tulinde Tusome’ project organised a half-day sensitisation session for 145 riders in Kwale County. Topics covered were child protection and rights, gender equality, traffic rules, code of conduct and the penal code. The Traffic Department of Kwale County, Department of Children Services, Community Based Organisations and Christian Legal Education Aid and Research (CLEAR) joined in as co-facilitators.
We did not have prior knowledge and information about child protection
Majority of the riders acknowledged their lack of knowledge on child protection and rights and admitted to have learnt many new things that will enable them join other players in protecting children. “We did not have prior knowledge and information about child protection but from today moving forward, we shall join hands in order to enhance child protection. We have realised it is also our responsibility to protect them and enable them achieve their goals in life.” Ali, a Matuga boda boda rider.
The sensitisation session prompted the riders to form Moyeni, Jitolee and Makambani committees that bring together all the riders in Kwale County. These committees will act as accountability units to ensure the riders keep their promise to act as watchdogs to end child abuse.