13 January 2011: Childline Kenya is helping thousands of children to report abuse and get protection, blogs Plan’s chief executive officer Nigel Chapman from Nairobi.
Childline Kenya is a remarkable success story. It handles thousands of calls a week from children and adults drawing attention to alleged abuse and works closely with the authorities across Kenya to follow them up and ensure children get as much protection as possible.
It was set up 5 years ago and Plan International was the original founder and funder. Originally expectations were low, with the team expecting to look after and investigate cases directly. But the free phone number 116 has delivered a flood of calls - some 850,000 over 5 years. And that means working closely with the Kenyan children's services to pursue every call.
It has embraced smart modern technology to receive warnings of abuse via SMS and the net. The cases are individually harrowing and collectively shine a light on the dark side of human nature. And the authorities, such as the police, can be both protectors and perpetrators.
Childline Kenya now has multiple funding streams and is an independent non-governmental organisation. Some former Plan International staff have moved across to lead it. Incubated by Plan International, and now more self reliant in funding terms, it is a great example of developing a legacy which hopefully will run and run.
I suspect sadly it will always have lots of business as the issue of child abuse comes out of the shadows in Kenya, and across Africa.