The influence of social cultural practices on the realization of children rights in Kangeta Division of Igembe South District, Meru County.
The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of social cultural practices that influence the realization of children rights in Kangeta Division of Igembe South District of Meru County in Kenya The objectives of this study were as follows: To establish the influence of domestic violence on the realization of children rights, To determine the influence of early marriages on the realization of children rights, To assess the influence of female genital mutilation on the realization of children rights and to establish the influence of child abuse and neglect on the realization of children rights. Research design for the study was descriptive research by use of survey method. Purposive sampling was used to select Kangeta Division for this study combined with simple random sampling. Data was collected by administering questionnaires to class eight pupils. Kangeta division had a total population of 1162 class eight pupils and the six selected schools had a population of 175 pupils and a sample size of 40% was taken for the purpose of the study. This data was analyzed by use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and used descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequency tables and cross tabulations. Key findings of the study indicate that domestic violence is common with 41.5% acknowledging that they have experienced their parents engage in the domestic violence at least monthly, weekly and daily which adversely affects the realization of children rights. This is evidenced by 57.6% revealing that the mothers are mostly affected which directly affect children as 33.3% and 21.2% admitted to have missed schooling and lacked food respectively in the event that their parents were involved in domestic violence. The findings of this study indicate that there are many child rights violations that are experienced by children from Kangeta division. Key among such violations is survival rights like food which 45.5% of the respondents acknowledged to have missed at home. It is also evidenced that there are major common forms of child abuse and neglect experienced by children ranging from physical, psychological and sexual abuses with shocking results of 40.9% being sexual abuses and the main perpetrators of abuse being parents. There is significant evidence that children are involved in early marriages and female genital mutilation with 45% of girls and 65.2% boys attested that both boys and girls are involved in early marriages at ages between 15 and 18 years. The research recommends that there is need for the Government and other stake holders to educate and create awareness on the effects of negative cultural practices. It further recommends that parents should be sensitized and made aware that children rights should be provided holistically and not in isolation or independently and that there is no right that is superior to the other. The study concludes that children are adversely affected by some of the social cultural practices like female genital mutilation, early marriages and domestic violence among others that significantly affects their ability to make informed decisions about their lives since they have not yet attained their physical, mental and psychological maturity.