Care leavers are one of the most important stakeholder groups in a care reform process, whose experience, expertise and insights should be at the centre of shaping the reform and advocacy agenda. Whilst the importance of engaging care leavers is recognised within the sector, in practice, methods of engagement vary. In many cases they fail to legitimately empower and enable meaningful engagement or are constrained to inviting care leavers to illuminate existing agendas through the sharing of personal experiences. In situations where care leavers are excluded from the sites of power where agenda setting takes place, engagement risks becoming tokenistic or, in the worst cases, exploitative.
In this video, Ruth Wacuka and Samora Korea, two key leaders of the Kenya Society of Care Leavers, discuss the importance of care leaver networks, to enable care leavers to have a collective voice and to build a peer-to-peer supportive platform that aids in the transition of young people into independent living. They furthermore unpack what is required to ensure that engagement of care leavers in the care reform agenda at the national, regional and global level is meaningful and equitable. They challenge the perceived role of care leavers as ‘story tellers’ and call for wider recognition of lived experience as expertise, which, if recognised, would lead to greater intentionality in involving care leavers in agenda setting within the care sector.
This video is part of a series of practitioner learning videos from Kenya.