First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has underscored the need to strengthen the family unit for social cohesion and protection of national security.
She said family structures should be shielded from pressures and stresses that cause them to become fragile.
“Anything that can make life easier for one family individual, makes it easier for an entire family,” she said.
The First Lady was speaking today at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi when she officially opened a conference to commemorate the United Nations International Day of families.
She appealed to all Kenyans to play a role in creating an environment where families can thrive.
“We must all take responsibility to impart values and mentor our children to grow up to become responsible citizens and respectful members of society,” she said.
Commending the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection for developing the National Family Promotion and Protection Policy, the First Lady called for more efforts to create an environment where families can be strong and stable.
The National Family Promotion and Protection Policy advocates for the rights of persons with disability and also provides innovative social assistance programs for children, the elderly and widows.
She urged the Ministry to embrace more initiatives that focus on vulnerable groups and reach out to needy families in hard to reach communities.
“In our work – as individuals, as members of our own families – we must seek to strengthen and protect the family unit,” she said.
Emphasising the importance of the family unit in society, the First Lady rooted for practical policies and conducive environments that support working mothers and fathers.
“We must protect mothers, especially working mothers…. and fathers too…and enable them to share in child-care during the first critical early years of their child’s life,” the First Lady said.
She added: “I have seen the sacrifices women and men make to protect their families, to protect their children and shield them from danger.”
The First Lady pointed out that many times a parent has had to make difficult and painful choices for their family – whether to leave their job to look after a sick child or ailing family member – whether to take up a job that separates them from their kin.
“I know that most times the pressures and challenges families face are because of job rules, the environment and social stigmas that burden the family unit,” she observed.
As more steps are taken to address the plight of the vulnerable segments of the Kenyan population, the First Lady said the needs of older persons, persons with disability and widows must be given priority.
“We must identify gaps in the protection of their rights – they deserve our respect, they deserve our love and care,” the First Lady said.