Lack of awareness on cultural heritage is partly to blame for the increasing incestuous relationship among youth in Vihiga County.
This was one of the issues identified among factors contributing to increasing population of taboo children, during child adoption awareness creation workshop held in Vihiga County on Thursday and Friday.
The workshop, a build-up exercise ahead of the National Child Adoption Day, was organised by the department of children services in conjunction with Child Welfare Society of Kenya.
The two day event was held at Mukuli Salvation Army in Mbale town and Gisambai Friends Church in Majengo.
Addressing participants, Mr. Alfred Murigi, an officer at Children Services Department in Nairobi, said Vihiga County had been identified as leading in number of children born out of incest, thus the need to mount serious awareness campaigns in the area.
“Besides inadequate education on cultural heritage among the youth, population explosion coupled with diminishing land resource is also a major factor contributing to incestuous relationships in Vihiga County,” noted Murigi.
Murigi cautioned the community against segregating the children born out of such relationships, insisting all children enjoy the constitutional right to life.
He expressed disappointment over society’s treatment of what is now commonly described as taboo children.
“Police reports indicate most of taboo children are either killed, ostracized or sold,” noted Murigi, adding in other incidents they are aborted before birth.
His sentiments were emphasized by Mrs. Josephine Kimanthi, a counselor with the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.
Mrs Kimanthi encouraged residents to instead take such kids to Adoption Centres, Children Care Institutions (CCIs), Rescue Centres, foster homes, among other institutions which handle children issues.
Maragoli Elders Council which was represented by Reverend Samuel Muhindi noted there was an urgent need to enlighten youth on Maragoli clans and sub clans in order to downsize the number of incestuous children.
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Muhindi observed most modern youth were ignorant with the clans and sub clans that exist within the Maragoli tribe, hence the growing cases where unsuspecting boys fall in love with girls who are relatives.
“For instance, the five wards in Vihiga Sub County are dominated by only two clans, Avamavi and Avakirima. Therefore, children there may not tell the boundary,” explained Muhindi.
He however, disclosed that due to population explosion the community is, after a period of time compelled to perform an elaborate ritual which allows intermarriages between sub clans.
Muhindi asked the county government and concerned stakeholders to put in place some measures that would assist in finding lasting solutions to the taboo children challenge.
The National Child Adoption Day which was scheduled to be marked last Thursday was postponed to a later day in January next year.