According to the WHO, “Child abuse or maltreatment is broadly defined as constituting all forms of physical and or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
Poverty has been sited as one of the contributing factors to continued practice of child abuse. The poverty hypothesis is based on competing rights; that is basic rights vis-a-vis child rights. It is perceived to be unintentional and inevitable thus not termed as abuse especially if the poverty level is widespread within the community. This perception has contributed to specific forms of exploitation such as neglect, child labour, child prostitution, child marriage and child trafficking.
Cluster group is a concept premised on bringing vulnerable and marginalized women and men who reside within the same region in Kilifi County with intent to empower them with knowledge and skills on matters of child abuse, risk factors, and economic empowerment using innovative approaches.
Soyosoyo cluster group is a community Based Organisation that has been in existence for the last 1 year. It has a membership of 10 who all reside at Kiwandani, Kilifi North area. Women make up the majority of the members, through the guidance and constant follow up from Pamellah Choni (Assistant Child Protection Officer) they have managed to develop a constitution, learn skills on proper record keeping this includes financial records and minutes. Additionally they have gone through various trainings in regards to child protection and family
support. Cluster group concept has provided safe space for parent to discuss sensitive matters that pose risk to increase child abuse in their communities such as domestic violence.
They use the table-banking concept to save their weekly membership collection, from their savings they have managed to collect enough capital to start up Makuti making and selling business, however it was seasonal and by September they were recording poor sales, they made a decision to engage in farming. They rented a two-acre land and with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, they underwent trainings on Kilimo bora (best farming practice). They were given cassava tuber and greengram and cowpeas seedlings to plant.
Their commitment has seen them reap well. Currently harvesting green grams and cowpeas that they intend to keep part of it for family consumption and part for sale.
For the group members their achievement is not only the good harvest but the fact that, they can make decisions at home and in the community, provide basic needs for their children as such their children have time to play and go to school as they do not need to work to supplement their parents income and they foresee food security if their crops continue to flourish.