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Donated computers support timely delivery of justice to children 

Nairobi, 7 October 2020 - The donation of 14 laptops to Kenya's Department of Children Services (DCS) will directly impact the department’s ability to ensure cases involving children are heard by the court in a timely manner despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is according to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Simon Chelugui, who today received the laptops plus 1,120 litres of hand sanitizer and 840 bars of soap from the Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya, Ms Katrin Hagemann. 

Earmarked for immediate use at the 14 Remand Homes managed by DCS, the laptops and hygiene products are funded by the European Union and delivered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

This is the latest support for the justice sector’s proactive response to the pandemic that has been coordinated by the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) since March. 

There has been a rapid uptake of ‘e-justice’ by institutions and other justice actors in Kenya as a direct consequence of the pandemic. 

The Cabinet Secretary said the donation of the laptops is timely as it will ensure child victims or witnesses who are held in the Children Remand Homes as a place of safety to testify virtually. "The child offenders too will benefit as their cases can be heard while they are in the comfort of the remand homes. This will therefore ensure cases are heard without delay which is sometimes caused by lack of transport to and from the Court.  As a result this will accelerate access to justice for both child victims and child offenders while ensuring child offenders are not held in custody for more than six months as stipulated in the Children’s Act." 

During the ceremony, the Head of UNODC’s Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice pillar for Eastern Africa, Ms Charity Kagwi-Ndungu, also presented 170 books donated by UNODC staff to the Director of DSC, Mr. Noah Sanganyi, to boost the reading material available to children in the Remand Homes. 

Also present for the handover ceremony at NSSF House was the Principal Secretary, State Department of Social Protection, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Nelson Marwa Sospeter, and the Honourable Chairperson of the Special Task Force on Children Matters, Lady Justice Koome. 

Ms Hagemann said this was a welcome opportunity to extend support to DCS through the Ksh 4.2 billion Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD). 

“New ways of working digitally, such as virtual court proceedings, are here to stay. We hope the laptops and hygiene supplies will contribute to improved efficiency and safety in the administration of justice and ultimately to making the justice sector more child-friendly, both for children in conflict with the law and for juveniles in contact with the law,” Ms Hagemann said. 

The NCAJ was quick to respond to the pandemic after the first COVID-19 case was found in Kenya in March, and has since coordinated the sector’s evolving response under the banner ‘delivering justice safely’. 

“UNODC supports all steps to make the justice sector more child-friendly so that children are treated with sensitivity, respect and dignity. We’re honoured to be involved in supporting Department of Children Services which extends to our staff here in Kenya who didn’t hesitate to donate new and pre-loved books,” Ms Kagwi-Ndungu said.

A further consignment of books donated by staff from UNODC and the European Union is expected in November, following the announcement today of a joint book donation drive to promote reading and learning in the Children Remand Homes.  

More information 

About PLEAD: The Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD)is a partnership involving the Government of Kenya, European Union, United Nations and civil society that is improving the delivery of justice services, settlement of disputes and use of alternatives to imprisonment. The KES 4.2 billion PLEAD partnership supports government reforms that are transforming the criminal justice sector for the benefit of all Kenyans. Visit: #PLEADyetu