Smart Start Initiative To Address Challenges Facing Children

Couples have been advised to be careful on how they live and handle one another especially during the initial stages of growth and development of their children.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with the Governor at his office on Thursday, the CEO of the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) Victor Nyagaya said that the time between conception and the age of three years was very important for the child’s development.

‘The development of a child begins from conception while in the mother’s womb, and according to reproduction experts, the way a couple treats one another affects the life of the infant in the womb,’ he said adding that when a couple fights, it is believed the infant already feels hostile environment surrounding it.

Nyagaya said there is a need to promote the concept of a friendly environment leading to growth all the way up to three years.

‘A lot of time we decide to take our children to the best academies yet we lose it from the very beginning,’ he said, adding that the initiative will not make any difference.

He underscored the need to involve the County leadership especially the governor so that budgetary allocation can be set aside for such sensitization.

The CEO called upon all the LREB counties to include the smart start initiative programme in the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) so that it is captured as a budgetary allocation item in education, health and other departments so that it is unitary and can be a continuous project.

‘When it is one off, it means that we are dealing with partners who will leave tomorrow and the program dies,’ he said, adding that Siaya Kisumu and Vihiga have already incorporated it in the budget system.

‘We want Busia to join in upscaling the project,’ he said, adding that all the 14 LREB counties are expected to embrace it.

Busia Governor Paul Otuoma welcomed the initiative stating that Busia was not doing well in matters concerning children.

Otuoma stated that the County had a number of children with stunted growth affecting the children’s education. He noted that Busia did not have nurturing care initiatives, policy on maternal and child health or domestic policies on ECD.

The project which is keen in ensuring the safety of children within the first 1,000 days in the lives of children was piloted in Siaya by Hilton Foundation in 2018 and is currently being implemented in seven counties including Busia, Vihiga, Kakamega, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nyamira.

Source: Kenya News Agency