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Child protection policy


The Rise to Shine Educational Foundation Policy and Guidance has been drawn up based on information from the Best Practice Network, which works with over 2,500 schools in Kenya to deliver better outcomes for children and on reports produced by UNICEF and the Kenyan government.

Our Risk Assessment identifies situations where our work directly involves children, as follows:

  • Trustees - Trustees have limited unsupervised contact with students and other beneficiaries, except on occasional visits to Kenya (see below). DBS checks are carried out for all Trustees because the charity works with children.

  • Scholarships - We have no direct responsibility for the children in school – as we have no control over this.  We do not select the schools – each family agrees to an offer made by the Ministry of Education or applies to a preferred school if not satisfied with the place offered.

  • Whilst child welfare is the responsibility of the Head and teachers at each school concerned, we do have a responsibility to protect children IF we are made aware of any situations or concerns either from children themselves, or contacts in Kenya or from other sources (such as media reports).

  • Volunteers in Kenya

    • Scholarships - We rely on volunteer supporters to coordinate applications for scholarships and to do this they occasionally visit children at school and at home.

    • Mentors - meet with students in a mentoring programme in groups and one-to-one (students are all >18).

    • Patrons - do not have contact with RTSEF beneficiaries, except if taken on a specific visit or at the workshop presentation evening. They do not have unsupervised time with children when representing The RISE TO SHINE EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION.


All volunteers are instructed about RTSEF safeguarding policies and guidelines in the workshop briefing and all sign a statement to confirm they understand and agree to comply.



The Rise to Shine Educational Foundation is committed to the protection of children.

The Rise to Shine Educational Foundation's commitment to the protection of children aims to:

  • raise awareness of the need to protect children and young people and reduce risks to them; 

  • ensure that when abuse is suspected or disclosed, it is clear what action must be taken; and

  • provide appropriate training and guidance to staff and volunteers so they can implement this policy.



  • Raising awareness and reducing risks - All Trustees, paid staff, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters who have contact with children through an RTSEF project or programme are required to read this Child Protection Policy and Guidance and sign to confirm that they understand and agree to abide by its aims and requirements. (NB. This does not include donors who have no direct contact with children). Volunteers will be required to do so before each project or programme. The Trustees of RTSEF will monitor contact with children and young people and re-assess the risks, policy, and guidance before and after all major activities and at least once annually.

  • Taking action when abuse is suspected or disclosed - The Rise to Shine Educational Foundation has no power to investigate child abuse.  Nonetheless, we have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and a responsibility to work closely and cooperatively with other agencies in order to achieve this. In the event of a situation in which you consider a child is at risk, please contact one of the Trustees.


If, in the process of our work, a child discloses that they are being abused:

  • Listen carefully to the child.  Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief could cause the child to 'shut down', retract or stop talking.

  • Let them know they've done the right thing.  Reassurance can make a big impact on the child who may have been keeping the abuse secret.

  • Tell them it's not their fault.  Abuse is never the child's fault and they need to know this.

  • Say you will take them seriously.  A child could keep abuse secret in fear they won't be believed. They've told you because they want help and trust you'll be the person who will listen to and support them.

  • Don't talk to the alleged abuser.  Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child told you could make the situation a lot worse for the child.

  • Explain what you'll do next.  i.e. report the matter to one of the Trustees. If age-appropriate, explain to the child you'll need to report the abuse to someone who will be able to help.

  • Don't delay reporting the abuse. The sooner the abuse is reported after the child discloses the better. Report as soon as possible so details are fresh in your mind and action can be taken quickly.


The Trustees will appoint a suitably qualified, independent individual to investigate the situation in confidence.

We will consult with Childline Kenya, who will advise on the need to share information with children’s services or the police.

(Childline Kenya is an NGO that works to stop child abuse and provide a safe environment for all children.  They do this via an emergency toll-free national helpline which is monitored 24 hours a day).

It is important to remember that an allegation of child abuse or neglect may lead to a criminal investigation, so any concerns must be properly recorded and shared with a Trustee.

If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police.

All Trustees paid staff and scholarship contacts will be required to confirm annually whether they are aware of any situations which raise a concern about the welfare of any child involved in our projects or programmes. 


(In January 2020 - Samwel was reported by Bakhitah to be experiencing some mental health challenges; he did not return to secondary school pending local medical treatment).

Provide appropriate training and guidance to staff and volunteers so they can implement this policy

The Rise to Shine Educational Foundation will provide training and guidance to all paid staff and volunteers at workshops, or before beginning a new project or programme.



Definitions of abuse
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. An individual may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Neglect or abuse, physically, emotionally, or sexually, can have major long-term effects on all aspects of a child’s health, development, and well-being. Sustained abuse is likely to have a deep impact on the child’s self-image and self-esteem, and on his or her future life.
Harm may occur intentionally or unintentionally.


Physical abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or caregiver fabricates the symptoms of or deliberately induces, illness in a child.


Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child so as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.


Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person into sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of sexual online or printed images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or caregiver failing to:

⦁    provide adequate food, clothing or shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment;
⦁    protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
⦁    ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-givers;
⦁    ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.


Abuse and Children with a Disability
The evidence available on the extent of abuse among children with a disability suggests that they are at increased risk of abuse and that the presence of multiple disabilities appears to increase the risk of both abuse and neglect.


Disability may be defined as:
Children with a disability may be especially vulnerable to abuse for a number of reasons. Some may:
Where there are concerns about the welfare of a disabled child, they should be acted upon in accordance with these procedures in the same way as with any other child. The same thresholds for action and the same timescales apply. It would be unacceptable if poor standards of care were tolerated for disabled children that would not be tolerated for nondisabled children.


In any work with children and young people, it is important to be clear about confidentiality. While personal information held by professionals and agencies is subject to a legal duty of confidence, and should not normally be disclosed without the subject’s consent, when there are concerns that a child is or may be at risk of significant harm, then the over-riding objective must be to safeguard that child and disclosure of the information is imperative.

Confidentiality and child protection should be discussed with children and young people at the beginning of any piece of work, and reminders and information given from time to time, to ensure that they understand the processes and what responsibilities the staff members have. It is absolutely essential to be clear about the limits of confidentiality well before any such matter arises.

Minimizing Risk Situations

  • NEVER - Condone or participate in behaviour that is illegal or unsafe

  • TRY NOT TO -  Be alone with a single child, including in the following situations: overnight, in your home, or in the home of a child

      Show favouritism or spend excessive amounts of time with one child

  • TRY TO -

    • Avoid placing yourself in a compromising or vulnerable position

    • Be accompanied by a second adult whenever possible

    • Meet with a child in a central, public location whenever possible

    • Immediately note, the circumstances of any situation which occurs which may be subject to misinterpretation by a third party

    • Avoid doing something that could be misinterpreted by a third party


Sexual Behaviour


    • Develop physical/sexual relationships with a child

    • Behave physically in a manner that is inappropriate or sexually provocative

    • Engage in or allow sexually provocative games with children to take place

    • Do things of a personal nature that a child could do for him/herself, including dressing, bathing, and grooming


Physical Behaviour

  • NEVER - Hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse a child

  • DO

    • Wait for appropriate physical contact such as holding hands, to be initiated by the child

    • Ask permission from children before taking photographs of a child/children except under exceptional circumstances, based on the child/children’s best interest, where this might not be possible or desirable


Psychosocial Behaviour

  • DO - Be aware of the power balance between an adult and child, and avoid taking any advantage this may provide

  • DO NOT - 

    • Use language that will mentally or emotionally harm a child

    • Suggest inappropriate behaviour or relations of any kind

    • Act in any way that intends to embarrass, shame, humiliate or degrade a child

    • Encourage any inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour, such as tantrums by a child

    • Show discrimination of race, culture, age, gender, disability, religion, sexuality, or political persuasion


Peer Abuse

  • DO

    • Be aware of the potential for peer abuse

    • Encourage project partners to develop special measures/supervision to protect younger and especially vulnerable children

    • Avoid placing children in high-risk peer situations (e.g. Unsupervised mixing of older and younger children)

  • DO NOT    Allow children to engage in sexually provocative games with each other


Physical Environment

  • DO - Encourage partners to develop clear rules to address specific physical safety issues relative to the local physical environment of a project (e.g. For projects based near water, heavy road traffic, railway lines)


The Charity Commission has four clear expectations of trustees:

  • Provide a safe and trusted environment.  Safeguarding involves a duty of care to everyone who comes into contact with your charity, not just vulnerable beneficiaries like children and young people.

  • Set an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding, so it is safe for people to report incidents and concerns in the knowledge they will be dealt with appropriately.

  • Have adequate safeguarding policies, procedures, and measures to protect people and make sure these are made public, reviewed regularly, and kept up to date.

  • Handle incidents as they arise.  Report them to the relevant authorities including the police and the Charity Commission.  Learn from these mistakes and put in place the relevant mechanisms to stop them from happening again.

The Kenya Department for Education’s Working Together to Safeguard Children defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;

  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;

  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;

  • and undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.

The Kenyan government have signed up for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

By following this Convention, this means that we aim to ensure:

  • All children have the right to be protected;

  • All children should be listened to and their views are taken seriously;

  • Children’s needs should be looked at holistically and should not be defined solely in terms of their abuse;

  • All interventions must be child-centred;

  • To effectively protect children, professionals must identify and work with safe and protective adults within children’s families and communities;

  • Professionals need to be aware of how issues of race, gender, disability, culture, sexuality and age impact an individual’s life experiences;

  • Professionals need to be aware of how issues of race, gender, disability, culture, sexuality and age impact their understanding of and response to keeping children safe;

  • Joint working between agencies and disciplines is essential for the protection of children.

“Violence Against Children in Kenya” coordinated by UNICEF and endorsed by Hon. Dr Naomi Shaban, Minister of Gender, Children & Social Development (2010 National Survey)

The Minister comments, “The government in collaboration with donor agencies and other development partners committed to the creation of a society ‘where women, men and children enjoy equal rights, opportunities and a high quality of life’.

Together we will challenge the roots of violence and create a nation where all of our children are protected.”


The Executive Summary reports:

“The findings from the survey indicate that violence against children is a serious problem in Kenya.

Levels of violence prior to age 18 as reported by 18 to 24-year-olds indicate that during childhood, 32% of females and 18% of males experience sexual violence, 66% of females and 73% of males experienced physical violence and 26% of females and 32% of males experience any violence as a child.  13% of females and 9% of males experienced all three types of violence during childhood.

The most common perpetrators of sexual violence for females and males were found to be boyfriends/girlfriends/romantic partners comprising 47% and 43% respectively followed by neighbours, 27% and 21% respectively. Mothers and fathers were the most common perpetrator of physical violence by family members. For males, teachers followed by Police were the most common perpetrators of physical violence by an authority figure. Emotional violence for both females and males was most often inflicted by parents.

Regardless of the type of violence, less than one out of every female or male who experienced sexual, physical, or emotional violence as a child knew of a place to go to seek professional help. Most importantly, less than 10% of females and males who experienced sexual, physical or emotional violence as a child actually received some form of professional help.

Females aged 18 to 24 who reported experiencing sexual violence in childhood were significantly more likely to report feelings of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and fair/poor health than those females who did not experience sexual violence.

Three out of every ten females 30% aged 18 to 24 who reported experiencing unwanted completed intercourse before the age of 18 (i.e., sex that was physically forced or pressured ) became pregnant as a result. About 90% of females and males who experienced sexual violence as a child reported a place to go for HIV testing. 

Among females aged 18 to 24 who experienced sexual violence as a child, about 7% had received money for sex compared to 2% of those who did not experience violence prior to age 18. Females and males aged 18 to 24 who experienced sexual violence prior to age 18 (7% versus 2% for females; 53% versus 35% for males). 

Over half of females and males aged 18 to 24, regardless of whether they experienced violence prior to 18, believe that it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife. Furthermore, 40% of females and 50% of males believed that a woman should tolerate spousal violence in order to keep her family together.

Current levels (12 months prior to the survey) of violence reported by 13 to 17-year-olds indicated that 11% of females and 4% of males experienced sexual violence and 49% of females and 48% of males experienced physical violence.  For females, the most common perpetrator of sexual violence was a boyfriend /romantic partner (25%), followed by a neighbour (20%) and then friends/classmates (20%). For males, the most common perpetrator was friends/classmates (35%) followed by a girlfriend/romantic partner (30%) followed by a neighbour (23%).

Similar to lifetime events reported by 18 to 24-year-olds, mothers and fathers were the most common perpetrator of physical violence by family members. As with the life events measure, teachers were the most common perpetrator of physical violence by a public authority figure; followed by police for males.

Only 28% of females and 35% of males, aged 13 to 17 who had experienced sexual violence and 11% of females and 16% of males, aged 13 to 17, who experienced physical violence, knew of a place to go to seek professional help for physical violence knew of a place to go to seek professional help for physical violence. Ultimately less than 10% of those who had experienced either sexual or physical violence actually received any professional help.”

The report found that physical abuse includes being slapped, pushed, punched, kicked, whipped or beaten with an object.  Emotional violence was most likely to have been humiliation or feeling unwanted.

“Taking child protection to the next level in Kenya” produced by the Government of Kenya, UNICEF, and Global Affairs Canada (2015)

Core child protection indicators


  • Prevalence of physical violence experienced before age 18 (male/female respondents aged 18-24) (%)     73/66 

  • Prevalence of emotional violence experienced before age 18 (male/female respondents aged 18-24) (%)     32/26 

  • Prevalence of sexual violence experienced before age 18 (male/female respondents aged 18-24) (%)     18/32 

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) (among females aged 15-49) (%)    21 

  • Birth registration (Children under age 5 whose births are registered) (%)     60 

  • Child marriage (girls married by age 15 and by age of 18) (%)    6/26 

  • Children aged 5-17 years working for pay, profit or family gain

  • Children working in conditions that fall within the definition of the worst forms of child labour    1.01 million 

  • 19,542 

  • Juveniles (aged 17 or under) held in prisons, penal institutions, or correctional institutions    2,767 

  • Children living and working on the streets    250,000-300,000 

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