Bridge Applauds World Bank Board Focus on Safeguarding

Nairobi, 14 March, 2024 – Bridge International Academies (Bridge) applauds the World Bank Board, the IFC, and the CAO for today’s announcement recognizing the importance of child safeguarding and preventing gender based violence across IFC’s portfolio. Bridge also commends the IFC for committing to continue the work it started in 2019 to strengthen implementation of its Performance Standards and Sustainability Framework to explicitly include child safeguarding and gender based violence risk. IFC’s agreement to undertake a review of its entire portfolio to identify all projects where children are vulnerable, and assess if appropriate social risk management measures are in place and operationalized, will ensure children have greater protection globally. With the shared goal of equitably addressing all those affected by the widespread problem of gender-based violence and violence against children, and in acknowledgement of its expertise in safeguarding practices and policies, Bridge accepts the IFC’s invitation to contribute to its initiative of increasing survivor support across Kenya.    

Bridge also values the proactive efforts and dedication of the Kenyan government towards enhancing child protection measures, exemplified by significant milestones such as the enactment of The Children Act (2022), the establishment of the National Council for Children’s Services, and the recent formulation of operational guidelines for child protection in emergencies (2023). Despite these commendable strides, Kenya faces critical challenges in safeguarding its children.

As the IFC’s own Management Action Plan notes, the safety of women and girls remains a national crisis in Kenya.  According to the Violence Against Children Survey Report – 2019, approximately 45.6% of children aged 18 and below have experienced some form of physical violence in their lifetime.  The report also shows that 16% of girls have experienced some form of sexual violence before reaching the age of 18.

Despite government efforts, Kenya needs help to overcome these long held gender biases and tragic acceptance of sexual exploitation of women and girls.  Bridge is pleased to see the IFC’s commitment of deploying additional resources to communities in need to enable them to better address this national crisis.

Bridge is proud of its own unwavering commitment to safeguarding children in its schools.  Since its founding in 2008, Bridge has maintained rigorous safeguarding policies and practices, prevention strategies, monitoring, robust reporting mechanisms, thorough investigation protocols and stringent accountability measures. This has resulted in schools that are significantly safer for children in their communities.

Bridge remains steadfast in its commitment to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to strengthen safeguarding policies and practices. It is for this reason, Bridge partnered with like-minded organizations and established the Child Safeguarding Association of Kenya (CSAK), to address and mitigate the existing gaps in child protection frameworks.

Since 2020, Bridge has encouraged and offered support based on its longstanding work and commitment to IFC to enhance the institution’s awareness of child safeguarding risk across industries, and shared best practices for both prevention of and response to child safeguarding risk. Bridge remains a committed partner in support of this effort, and looks forward to continuing to work with IFC and other organizations committed to child safeguarding across Kenya to strengthen support for survivors of abuse.


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