Mobile operators in Kenya have signed a charter that aims to make the internet a safe place for children through the #WeCareKenya campaign.

The Child Online Protection (COP) Charter by the GSM Association – a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide – was signed by Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Airtel Kenya and Jamii Telecom.

This marks the first stage in the launch of the #WeCareKenya campaign in Africa by the GSM Association which went live on World Children’s Day.

The charter will see the mobile operators work with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to foster safety for children online.

“As a mobile-first generation, our children have more access to the Internet and are smarter than we were at their age and the challenge of creating a safer internet will remain pressing in coming years,” said Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer at Telkom Kenya, Clare Ruto.

“Kenya is the first country in Africa to sign the Child Online Protection (COP) charter and this shows mobile service providers and the regulator are keen to provide a safer and more reliable online experience for the country’s young citizens,” GSMA head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck said.

The agreement will see the CA and mobile service providers work together to create educational and awareness programmes to tackle online abuse of children in the country.

As part of the awareness campaign, the service providers will work with the CA to produce an information booklet targeted at young people in Kenya.

The #WeCareKenya campaign will also be promoted through sponsorship of National Music and Drama festivals focused on online safety.

Mobile operators will integrate children’s rights considerations into corporate policies and management processes; and support the Government, law enforcement agencies, civil societies 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.

About We Care Campaign
The We Care campaign 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 (SDGs), allowing the mobile industry to drive impact at a local level.

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.

By: ClaraDoku/