world bank failed to prevent child abuse in kenyan schools it funded
The World Bank, an international financial institution with 189 member countries, has failed to prevent child abuse in Kenyan schools it funded.
The bank’s internal watchdog, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), accused World Bank of failing to prevent sexual abuse at a school chain it funded in Kenya, a country in East Africa.
The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), an independent complaints and accountability mechanism, found that World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) had failed to protect children before it started funding Bridge International Academies in Kenya in 2014.
According to a report by the Guardian, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) said that World Bank was aware of child and sexual abuse allegations but had failed to protect children.
Child sexual abuse in Kenyan schools
Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) reported about 21 cases of child sexual abuse by teachers at Bridge schools in Kenya between 2014 and 2021.
David Pred, executive director of Inclusive Development International, said that World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) had “turned a blind eye to these risks, even when incidents of child sexual abuse were reported.”
World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) had invested $13.5m in Bridge International Academies in Kenya Between 2014 and 2022. Bridge International Academies ran 200 schools in Kenya.
Children in Kenya suffered from this epidemic. Corporal punishment in schools also led to the killing of some children.
After 2022, the World Bank stopped its funding for Kenyan schools. The World Bank’s IFC did not give a reason for the divestment.
Reports of child sexual abuse
Makhtar Diop, the IFC’s managing director, expressed concern over the reports of child sexual abuse in Kenyan schools. He said, “We do not tolerate any form of abuse in the projects we finance.”
Bridge said it followed child protection measures since the school chain was opened in Kenya in 2008. The World Bank said it had worked with Bridge to develop a child protection policy.
US senators Elizabeth Warren and Peter Welch urged World Bank to investigate the reports of child abuse in Kenyan schools.
Over the last 5 years, more than 20 children’s deaths linked to school beatings were reported in the media. Ebbie Noelle Samuels was beaten by the deputy principal of the school because she styled her hair. She had severe head injury, blunt force trauma, which led to her killing.
Despite the shocking statistics, accountability remains elusive.