Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya

by Childline Kenya
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Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya

The strength of Childline Kenya’s work lies in its partnerships. Partners play a critical role in all aspects of delivery of our services. Partners go far beyond our funding partners and child protection service providers and comprise of members of the community including children themselves. The community is a critical partnership base that usually notices a child protection concern first, and decides to seek help on behalf of the child in need to ensure the child situation changes positively. These are great champions in child protection. I’d like to share with you one case of a community child protection champion who took the burden on behalf of a 3-month old abandoned baby.

In a town on the western side of Kenya a baby was heard crying by a neighbor for a long time, almost an hour. The neighbor wondered about this unusual occurrence and went to check whether the baby was OK or whether the mother needed assistance with the baby. The neighbor found the baby left alone in the single-roomed house on the floor with only some tattered cloth around him and visibly shaking from the cold. The baby was 3 months old. The neighbour panicked and called the Child Helpline service by dialing 116. The counselor on the other end of the line calmed her down and gave her step by step instructions on how to handle the situation. At the counselor’s instruction she wrapped the baby in a blanket to keep him warm and also gave him some milk to calm him down. While she calmed the baby down, the helpline counselor got in touch with the nearest children officer in the area to assist with reporting the case to the police and to facilitate placement of the child in a safe shelter as they trace his mother or other relatives. The life of this baby was thus saved, thanks to the concern of the child protection champion aka neighbor.

We therefore appreciate all our partners including those who take action to report the cases and bring relief to children in need; those who provide direct services to children in need of care and protection; those who provide technical support to increasingly improve Childline Kenya’s efficiency and effectiveness; and the funding partners who ensure there’s adequate funding to keep the Child Helpline service functional with qualified counselors 24/7. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.

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The joy of making a difference in one child’s life gives us the energy to face another day more confident that it is possible to STOP child abuse. Childline Kenya in its quest to Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya solders on until this dream becomes a reality. In the past three months we have responded to many children some of whom are violated while some are struggling with other relational matters. Lenny is a 15-year-old boy who struggled to find his place in his family. Here is his story.

Lenny called the helpline in Kenya reporting a strained parent/child relationship. He is a grade 9 student in a nearby Secondary school who lives with his parents and his 4 sisters. Lenny had run away from home because he felt that his parents treated him differently from his sisters. He believed this was because he might not be their biological child. Whenever he made a small mistake they would shout at him and beat him up. He said it was unfair because he did not see the same things being done to his sisters. He started building the ideology that he did not belong in that family. He therefore wanted the helpline team to assist him to trace and reunite with his biological parents. This was a very emotional session as Lenny kept breaking down severally and crying uncontrollably. It had been one week since he ran away from home and was staying with friends at a neighbouring town. The Helpline team worked with the relevant authorities and Lenny was brought back home. His family was elated to see him especially because, after a week, they had started losing hope of ever seeing him alive.

We facilitated a session for Lenny and his parents to air out their differences and start sorting out the concerns. Lenny narrated how their behavior made him feel and said that he wanted to belong to a family where he felt loved and appreciated. His parents confirmed that Lenny was indeed their biological son. Their first born child. They showed him documents relating to his birth to confirm that he was indeed their child. Being the first child and an only son the parents wanted to instill discipline in him to be a good role model to his sisters. They wanted to see him more responsible for the same of his future. Their love for him was deep.

We took the opportunity to provide tips to the parents on some of the ways to still meet their discipline and responsibility goal without crushing the person of their child. They apologized for their behavior and together agreed how to handle things better in future.

At the end of February 2021, Lenny confirmed that things had changed for the better at home. His parents also expressed their happiness at the way he had improved in his behavior. Their relationship seemed to be heading in the right direction. It was agreed that both parties will continue being deliberate about building a healthy relationship. They are free to reach out to the Helpline anytime they need support through the process.

The Helpline counsellors remain available 24/7 every day of the year. This is made possible by the great support of our partners including the GlobalGiving community. From the bottom of our hearts we say “Thank You”. You are welcome to keep supporting us whenever you can. One child’s life turned around for the better, makes the whole difference.

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Hi Friend of Childline! 

Childline Kenya is thrilled to announce that we’ve been chosen as GlobalGiving’s Project of the Month for February 2021

Our work to Shine a Light on Child Abuse in Kenya was selected from a pool of more than 5,000 nonprofit projects in 170+ countries. Nearly 3,000 donors come together and make monthly donations to keep the Project of the Month going. See the link to our project at

This extra support means the world to us—and to the children of Kenya whom we serve. Over the course of the next year, we’ll use these additional funds to increase awareness on child protection and related services, optimize access to the child helpline service and strengthen response to reported cases of violence against children.

We can’t thank you enough for your continued compassion and generosity. 

With gratitude, 



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The work of Childline Kenya is fully supported by funding partners and philanthropists. Despite a very difficult year in 2020 Childline's operations at the Child Helpline continued despite the reduction of staff members and general operations of the organization. Sadly, with the increase of Gender Based Violence (GBV), and VAC during the COVID-19 times, the toll free number 116 received a marked increase in the number of substantive child abuse and counselling cases received at the Helpline e.g. between January and March 2020 a total of 335 such cases were reported. This number rose to 628 in the period April to June 2020 and rose even higher to 962 and 776 from July to September 2020 and October to December 2020 respectively. Although these trends took an emotional toll on the team at Childline Kenya, we found strength in knowing that because we were available, one more child was assisted. The case below is of one of the beneficiaries who reached out for help through the Helpline and found assistance for herself and her family, thanks to your financial support through GlobalGiving.

The case in Brief

Cynthia called the helpline from Nandi county seeking counselling. She is sixteen years old. She had eloped from home in July 2020 to live with her then boyfriend, who is an adult. According to her, everything was going on well until October 2020 when her “husband” started assaulting her physically. After a while she couldn’t take it anymore. She then borrowed her neighbors phone to report the issue to the helpline while the husband was as work. At the time of reporting, Cynthia wanted to go back to her parents’ home but she was scared of the wrath of her parents and brothers because she knew they were still upset with her for running away from home to get married. The Helpline counselor promised to walk with her through the difficult journey and do everything possible to remove her from the abusive situation she found herself in.

Goals Achieved:

Psychosocial Support for Cynthia- On 18th December 2020 Cynthia went through first aid counselling as part of psychosocial support through the helpline service to help her deal with the stress she was going through and also help her on the path towards positive behaviour change. She also went through a virtual counselling session on 19th December to prepare her for rescue and reintegration back home.

Psycho –education support and Family therapy –On 19th December both Cynthia’s parents and brothers were spoken to at length over the phone to present the case and to get an indication whether they were ready to accommodate Cynthia back to the family. They were then linked to the nearest children’s office for further family therapy session and psychoeducation on parenting. After the session there was a clear indicator that Cynthia had a strained relationship with both her parents and siblings and this also contributed to her running away from home. 

Rescue- Through coordination with the children office in Nandi, Cynthia was rescued on 20th December and handed over to her family. She is doing well. A counselling session appointment was set for 26th December 2020

Involving the police – Cynthia’s parents reported the case to the police on 20th December but the perpetrator went into hiding when he realized that the case has been reported to the authorities. By law, anyone below 18 years cannot consent to marriage or sexual activity. The "husband" knew this and knew he was in deep trouble for taking Cynthia in as his wife despite her age. He is still at large but is being sought by the police.

Outstanding Issues/Concerns:

Since there still seems to be a strain between Cynthia and her family, the Helpline Counselor is visiting their home once every two weeks to gauge how well she is fitting back in and to assist the family deal with any issues arising. Relevant resource persons are also involved as necessary.

We deeply appreciate the support received from our donors through GlobalGiving without which Cynthia and other children like her would not be able to get the relevant assistance from Childline Kenya. We appreciate you deeply.

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Counselor at the Helpline
Counselor at the Helpline
Childline Kenya provides child protection services through ICT innovations. We manage the only national child helpline service available for free by dialing 116 from anywhere in Kenya 24/7. Since the set up of the Child Helpline in Kenya in 2006, the highest reported form of child abuse was child neglect consistently. This narrative has since changed with the onset of COVID-19. In this season, defilement cases have skyrocketed, accounting for at least 63 new cases reported every month! This is alarming! Sadly, these cases are perpetrateed by people within the family and people well known to the children. With the self quarantine arrangements and working from home requirements, some children have found themselves confined in the same space with their "would be" abusers for prolonged periods with no breaks to report their concerns to their teachers or  other adults as would have been the case if they were going to school or to religious institutions.
In response to this concern, there is need to sensitize the children on the available online based reporting platforms including the Helpline 116. As the children participate in online learning they should also be aware that they can use the online platforms to report abuse. In addition, they can raise the red flag with their peers, religious leaders and other trusted adults...including the teachers when they are facilitating e-learning, so that help is sought for them immediately it is required.
With support from Childline's donors and philanthropists we have been able to engage additional counselors to increase the capacity of the helpline to respond to more cases. The increase in couselors has translated to a big increase in reported cases and therefore case resolution for example between January to March 335 cases were handled. This increased to 628 cases in April to June and further increased to 962 between July and September 962.
Childline, with support from state and non-state partners, including the GlobalGiving community, has also begun actively developing messages to promote the Helpline service on social media while also sharing information on various topical issues in child protection. This is meant to provide needed infromation in the public with regard to child protection but most importantly encourage reporting of child protection concerns for resolution.
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Childline Kenya

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @childlinekenya
Project Leader:
Martha Sunda
Nairobi , Nairobi Kenya
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