On Friday, 16 June 2023, Kabarak University in collaboration with Save the Children International (Kenya and Madagascar) organised a momentous event to commemorate the International Day of the African Child. Themed ‘The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment,’ the event aimed to raise awareness, promote dialogue, and advocate the promotion and protection of children’s rights in the digital space. The event took place in Nairobi and was livestreamed on Zoom.
In his welcoming remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of Kabarak University, Prof Henry K. Kiplangat, expressed gratitude to all the distinguished guests and partners, who took part in this important commemoration. He noted that the event marked Kabarak University’s contribution to the ongoing efforts to sensitise the public on Kenya’s Children Act of 2022, as well as documenting the journey towards the full realisation of its provisions.
The celebration comprised three activities. The first was the launch of a special issue of the Kabarak Journal of Law and Ethics, Volume 7 (2023). The special issue focused on the gains made following the enactment of the Children Act of Kenya (2022) and commentaries on various aspects on children’s rights as practiced in Kenya and internationally. The journal launch was preceded by a panel discussion by the authors, who are mainly children’s rights experts and key stakeholders in the digital sector. The panel discussion was moderated by Sam Ngure, the Editor-in-Chief of the special issue.
The second activity was the final rounds of the First Model African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child Moot Competition (1st Model Committee Moot Competition), which was jointly organised by Save the Children (Kenya and Madagascar) and Kabarak Law School. Over 27 teams from 15 law schools in Kenya participated. The 1st Model Committee Moot Competition tested the participants’ knowledge of the extent of protection of children’s rights in the digital age and space through the tool of investigative missions carried out by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). Therefore, it was imperative for the competing teams to familiarise themselves with the inner workings of this tool, as the participants were required to present reports on behalf of the Government of Kenya and on behalf of a Kenyan-based civil society organisation. Indeed, this is a unique approach to human-rights-related moot competitions.
Esther-Blessing Nasimiyu and Levy Masinde, who represented Kabarak University, emerged as Best Team in the 1st Model Committee Moot Competition. Strathmore University won First-Runner Up Team. Kabarak University also won the Best Written Report for the State and placed second for Best Written Report for the Civil Society Organisation. Further, Johnny Kitheka (Strathmore University) was awarded Best Male Delegate, while Esther-Blessing Nasimiyu (Kabarak University) was crowned second Best Female Delegate.
In the quarter-final rounds, Levy Masinde (Kabarak University) took second position for Honourable Mention. Sheena Kuchio (Strathmore University) obtained first place for Honourable Mention in the semi-final rounds. Lastly, in the final rounds, Esther-Blessing Nasimiyu and Levy Masinde were awarded first place for Honourable Mention for the Best Female Delegate and Honourable Mention for the Best Male Delegate, respectively.
The 1st Model Committee Moot Competition showcased the academic excellence of the participating law schools, as well as the value of the unique approach of the moot competition in promoting advocacy on children’s rights.
The last activity was a half-day conference, which brought together key industry players, legal practitioners, academics, and stakeholders to engage and reflect on the celebration’s theme, children's rights in the digital age. The discussions brought to the fore pertinent areas in need of reform such as cyberbullying, solicitation of minors and identity theft. The Chief Guests for the conference were Hon Prof Robert Nanima, Expert Member of the ACERWC, and Hon Justice Heston Nyaga, Judge of the High Court of Kenya. Their insightful keynote addresses underscored the importance of children’s rights and the deep commitment required to safeguard their well-being.
Kabarak University extends its heartfelt gratitude and felicitations to Save the Children (Kenya and Madagascar), Kabarak Law School, all the distinguished guests (who attended online/ physically) and the participating law schools for attributing success to the momentous celebration. Certainly, the event exemplified and amplified the clarion call for a safer and more inclusive digital environment for the African Child.