Kenya’s mobile operators, regulator and government recently came together to support a major GSMA initiative aimed at ensuring a safe online environment for children and young citizens in Kenya.
Airtel Kenya, Jamil Telecommunications, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya became signatories of a new Child Online Protection (COP) Charter, marking the first stage in the launch of the GSMA’s We Care campaign in Africa. The Charter is also backed by the Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.
“By signing up to the COP Charter, mobile operators in Kenya are demonstrating their commitment to working together to provide a safer and more reliable online experience for the country’s young citizens,” said Akinwale Goodluck, GSMA Head of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Protecting Young Kenyans Online
Under the agreement, Kenya’s mobile industry will work together with the country’s regulator to foster a culture of safe and responsible use of the internet and other ICTs via educational and awareness programmes, integrating children’s rights considerations into corporate policies and management processes, and supporting government, law enforcement agencies, civil society and other stakeholders to tackle online abuse of children. Measures will include providing capacity-building workshops for authorities tasked with enabling a support hotline for young citizens seeking information or emergency assistance on online safety matters.
As part of the awareness campaign, the operators will collaborate with the CA to produce an information booklet targeted at young people in Kenya. The campaign will also be promoted via sponsorship of National Music and Drama festivals focused on online safety.
Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals
Through the GSMA’s We Care initiative, operators are taking steps to ensure their customers are able to enjoy the transformative benefits of mobile technology in a safe and reliable environment. There are five key focus areas for We Care: promoting digital inclusion; ensuring child protection; environmental care (e.g. management of eWaste); disaster response; contribution to public safety; and tackling handset theft.
We Care was launched in Latin America in 2014 and is now running 14 campaigns across the region in collaboration with local operators. These campaigns support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing the mobile industry to drive impact at a local level. The launch of the Child Online Protection industry charter in Kenya is the first ever We Care initiative deployed in Africa.