Kenya, UN to partner to promote girls' online safety

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya plans to partner with the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technology, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), to promote the safety of girls' online, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Joe Mucheru, cabinet secretary at the Ministry of ICT, told journalists in Nairobi that government restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 have led to an increased online presence, especially for girls, as schools have been closed for a long time. 

"We are going to initiate a partnership with ITU in order to protect our young girls from online predators as we have recorded increased cases of online harassment," Mucheru said at the launch by Plan International Kenya, a charity, of a programme to highlight the digital divide and abuse of girls on social media platforms.

He added the advent of technology has brought about numerous advantages to the economy but also poses threats. 

"We want our girls to be free both in the natural world and in the digital platforms so that they can participate in online activities like any other citizen without being harassed," Mucheru said. 

He said that through enhanced surveillance of cyberspace, Kenya will reduce barriers that promote the digital divide.

Kenya is keen to promote uptake of digital skills among its citizens, especially the learners still in school, Mucheru said. 

Every pupil should be prepared for the digital world as more jobs move online, he said.