lessons from-Students-Police Forums
Set Up Mechanisms for Violence Prevention in Schools (Students-Police Forums)
- Criminal gangs, drugs, defilement, child neglect and abuse, domestic violence affecting pupils, incest, early and forced marriages, abortion and underage sex are the most experienced and normalized forms of violence among the students and out of school youths and should be addressed accordingly. There is need to deepen the conversation on normalized violence and how to challenge it among students and out of school youth, most of the students feel like gang violence is a job opportunity
- Forms of violence are multi-faceted and require an inter-sectoral approach to address them. There is need to engage professionals drawn from different sectors in these forums like counsellors, health practitioners and motivational speakers, to steer the conversation to fruition for more impact.
- When you engage police officers and moderators who are passionate about their jobs, it inspires confidence in students to report incidences of violence and the officers make follow ups
- A dysfunctional family environment leaves a child susceptible to violence as a victim and later on as a perpetrator of violence. Parents ought to provide safe spaces and conducive environment for their children as this directly affect their performance and life in general.
- Just like co-curricular activities in school, student-police forum augmented by a tour to police stations, courts and prisons enhances students’ knowledge on the criminal justice system, builds students’ confidence in the institutions. This helps deter students from criminal activities.
- The use of 101 booklet helps promote students understanding of the National Police Service, rights of the citizen and police, police accountability and reporting of violence. There is need to promote the use of 101 products in schools.
- Following the student-police forums, there has been a significant increase in violence reporting in schools in which Midrift Hurinet is intervening. This has also drawn interest from other schools that Midrift Hurinet is not intervening. To institutionalise this, there is a need to emphasise that Community Policing committees hold forums in schools
- When the student-police forums are held with the combined participation of students and teachers, students do not open up. This has necessitated the holding of forums with students in the absence of teachers. With the student-police forums focusing on students; there is need to take the teachers through IUVP interventions so they can play a leading role within their schools for greater impact and sustainability. Some teachers are now taking up responsibility by following up the cases and volunteering as witnesses in some of the cases that are reported to them as a result of the forums.
- Although each student-police forum is different there is need to develop a guideline on the running of the forums to ensure standardised roll out of the program. This will be shared with the police, teachers and CPCs.
Activity: Community Policing Forums (CPFs)
- Initially we could target the whole community, in due course we realised the need for strategically targeting different community stakeholders to address sector and group specific issues.
- For sustainability purposes there is need to anchor such forums on existing government structures such as chief’s Barraza’s, Nyumba Kumi meetings, peace forums etc.
- There is need to progressively hand over leadership of CPFs to chiefs, CPCs, Nyumba kumi and other grassroot security structures to ensure sustainability.
- Initially we focused on gang violence (Confirm) which has significantly decreased due to intervention of police and service providers however, the perpetrators are shifting to other forms of violence such as mugging. The CPFs should be flexible to address the wide array of violence incidences
Activity: Radio Program
- Radio Program has directly reached many people through Radio FM station
- Having pre-recorded snapshots that capture influential persons and experts in addressing violence prevention helps reach out to wider resource persons who may not be available for a live radio program. There is a need to develop radio snapshots on particular policy thematic areas to amplify knowledge on normalized violence and how to challenge it.
- There is a need to have more radio programs to amplify the ‘101 Things you wanted to know about the police but were too afraid to ask’
- That through the radio program sessions, listeners have developed an interest in visiting relevant offices including MidRift to report cases and seek help.
NB: Radio Amani FM station which transmits in Kiswahili has a listenership of approximately 0.5million daily.