- Kahindi said technology, if used positively, can help girls in Kilifi turn around the poverty levels in the county.
- New Visioners Art Group executive director Terry Dama said the “My Voice Matters” campaign has built confidence among girls who can now engage with anyone and challenge facts and statements.
Three organisations in Kilifi county have joined hands to help girls fight off online paedophiles and boost their digital literacy skills.
The three, Safe Community Initiative, New Visioners Art Group and Pad A Dada, have developed a programme where girls are taken through digital literacy skills classes to equip them with the necessary knowledge to flag potential threats on the internet.
Benjamin Kahindi, a director at the Safe Community Initiative, said technology is helping girls in Kilifi get life skills and fight paedophiles.
“Technology has helped girls get a lot of information in relation to sexual reproductive health and life skills to help them make effective decisions in life,” he said.
Kahindi said technology, if used positively, can help girls reduce poverty levels in Kilifi.
He said there is a lot if helpful information related to health, business, jobs, among others, that girls can get from the internet.
“Information about life skills can be harnessed from the internet and help the girls change their lives for the better by setting and achieving their goals in life,” Kahindi said.
He however said the main challenge is to guard the girls, especially the young ones, from the negative side of technology.
As the lead organisation in the Kilifi cluster, they help monitor the way girls use the internet, including the sites they visit.
“We do a lot of online conversations like Twitter storms and Facebook Live. Most times we engage young boys and girls and it is these engagements that help us get to know what they post, what they look at and where they visit in the metaverse,” Kahindi said.
Should they find any cases where the girls visit undesirable sites, they take up the cases and ask the relevant authorities to intervene.
Kahindi said although Kilifi is still relatively far behind in terms of digital literacy, he appreciates the efforts the county government is putting in to address this challenge.
“I thank Governor Gideon Mung’aro for putting up free WiFi hotspots in different areas of the county to bridge the gap that exists in technology and internet connectivity,” he said.
Kilifi South child protection volunteer Riziki Abdalla said the internet has become a dangerous avenue for girls.
She said many parents buy their children smart phones but fail to monitor what their children do with the gadgets.
“This is where the paedophiles take advantage and use their devious means to trick the girls into their predatory actions,” Abdalla said.
She said the most common hideouts for online paedophiles are gaming sites.
“Today, people have stopped going to the beach for their prey. They use the online gaming sites,” Abdalla said.
She said parents must monitor and track the history of their children’s internet footprints whenever the children use smart phones.
“The parents should ensure they know which games their children are playing online and if possible, be there with them when they play these games,” Abdalla said.
New Visioners Art Group executive director Terry Dama said the “My Voice Matters” campaign has built confidence among girls who can now engage with anyone and challenge facts and statements.
On Saturday, more than 50 girls visited Mtwapa police station where they engaged with police officers to make them feel freer to report issues affecting them.
“After interacting with the police officers, the girls have realised police officers are normal human beings who can be approached in times of need,” Dama said.
She said most of the girls in Kilifi do not have the confidence to report someone who acts indecently towards them.
“In our society, there is usually a very poor relationship between police and the community. We have been wired to believe police officers are our enemies, which is not the case,” Dama said.
She said this is what has prevented most people from reporting issues and preferring to have them solved at the community or family level, even in serious cases like rape and defilement.