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Friday, 18 Nov 2016 20:02 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
Orphans, elderly women and people with disabilities are likely to be 'left behind' unless the government addresses the hurdles these groups encounter, a grassroot forum organized by SDGs Kenya Forum held in Kangundo has established. In a meeting attended by HelpAge International and the Machakos Catholic Diocese, participants expressed their concern that although the government has made the effort to reach out to the elderly by giving monthly stipends, some of the real issues affecting them had not been addressed.
According to one of the participants in the forum, it was discovered that issues to do with water, food insecurity and prevention of gender based violence should be a priority. "Women are raped as they go to fetch water and firewood as the water points are far away from home. They either leave early in the morning or get back late," said one of the participants.
In matters security, the participants were informed that some cases went unreported and those that were reported were not given due attention. It also emerged that many single elderly women take care of many grandchildren with no source of income hence most drop out of school while those with disabilities were hidden away at home or excluded from school. Residents were urged to bring out such children as they had the right to education just like the others.
The government was also urged to involve more women in leadership and administration. "Where women have been involved in administration, there has been positive responses," said Ms Roseline Kahumba, HelpAge International Network and Partnership advisor.
According to Florence Syevuo, the National Coordinator SDGs Kenya Forum, sustainable and people owned and led development is key to ending poverty in all forms in the 47 counties in Kenya. Speaking at the forum, Ms Syevuo urged all levels of government to be inclusive in the planning and implementation of the sustainable development goals especially those that touch on ending poverty, access to water, health and food security to ensure no one gets left behind in the "Leave No One Behind" dialogue.
However, one of the challenges faced by the local elderly people who have come together to form a CBO is that once the elderly people take loans from the table banks, it has become difficult to recover the loans after their demise. "We ask HelpAge to look into this emerging issue and come up with a way in which we can bring a lasting solution to this hurdle, " the chairperson of the CBO, Boniface Kawinzi said.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.