In 2020, Probation and After Care Service held its first-ever national Children’s Competition involving children under the supervision of Probation Officers. The competition was a joint creative project with support from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) through the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD).
Children, aged 8 to 17 years, from August to September 2020 were invited to take part in the art project where they were to create their own artistic works expressing their experiences in the justice system. Through the art competition themed: ‘Probation: A New Beginning,’ every child was asked to submit at least 2 pieces of art with a brief description of their work and an accompanying message they want people to hear through a competition.
The Children’s Art Competition was officially launched on 20th August 2020 by the State Department for Correctional Services in Nairobi-Kenya, which saw the participation of 651 children from all over the country.
Children submitted their artworks describing the changes in their lives, lessons learnt, their aspirations for the future and the effect of the pandemic on them.
The submitted artworks together with the accompanying write-ups were judged by a panel of volunteer art judges. The winners were selected according to age categories of 8-11years, 12-14 years and 15-17years. These age categories took cognizance of the different developmental stages and abilities of children.
On 17th December 2020, the children’s artworks were exhibited in an Art Exhibition at the Kioko Art Gallery, Nairobi – Kenya.
The Art Exhibition featured drawings, paintings and collages of 42 children. The Exhibition gave children a chance to have their voices heard through their creative arts.
It provided a platform through which the public can learn about the children’s experiences of the justice system, as well as create awareness on probation, offender rehabilitation and the importance of giving young offenders a second chance in life.
It also contributed to their rehabilitation as Probation Officers identified hidden thoughts that may be targeted for intervention.