Using Data to Propel Action

Creating a safer world for children and youth in Kenya

Using Data to Propel Action

Creating a safer world for children and youth in Kenya

Change is possible

In 2010 the Government of Kenya, with support from partners, launched its first Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report, demonstrating their commitment to understanding the prevalence of violence against children in Kenya and working to prevent and respond to it.

 

A decade after their first VACS, on July 16, 2020, Kenya launched their second VACS report from the survey conducted in 2019. As one of the first countries to complete the VACS process twice, Kenya’s second set of data offers an unprecedented opportunity to measure progress since the 2010 VACS and evaluate efforts to create a safer community for every child, adolescent, and youth.

 

Results from the 2019 Kenya VACS reveal a powerful story about how data can provide reliable evidence to inform policy and programming in order to create a safer world for children.

Helen, with support from DREAMS, fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. In this photo, she gets her son ready to go to school, the same school that she teaches in. Click the photo to read her story.

Helen, with support from PEPFAR’s DREAMS initiative, fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. In this photo, she gets her son ready to go to school, the same school that she teaches in. Click the photo to read her story.

The data shows overall reductions in violence since 2010

However, the data also reveals some disturbing increases

Which underscores the importance of having data to guide policy and programming

Comparing data

Key findings from the 2019 Kenya VACS show significant reductions in childhood violence since 2010. Despite the promising reductions in violence, the 2019 VACS report revealed concerning trends on recent violence among adolescents ages 13-17.

 

These findings underscore the importance of data disaggregated by sex and age–and that overall trends may mask risks for specific groups and from specific forms of violence. Overall, these results point to progress in Kenya but also suggest the need to continue to build on efforts to better protect adolescent girls.

The data shows overall reductions in violence since 2010

However, the data also reveals some disturbing increases

Which underscores the importance of having data to guide policy and programming

Comparing data

Key findings from the 2019 Kenya VACS data show significant reductions in violence in childhood since the 2010 VACS. Despite the promising reductions in violence, the 2019 VACS report revealed concerning trends on recent violence among adolescents ages 13-17.

These findings underscore the importance of having sex and age disaggregated data–and that overall trends may mask risks for specific groups and from specific forms of violence. Overall, these results point to progress in Kenya but also suggest the need to continue to build on efforts to better protect adolescent girls.

A decade of change

In the intervening decade between VACS reports, Kenya prioritized a number of policy and programmatic changes that aimed to help reduce violence against children. In 2010, for example, Kenya revised its constitution (Article 53) and strengthened the rights of children: It recognizes the need for all children to be protected from abuse, and affirms that children have the right to education, nutrition, shelter, health care, and parental care.

 

During this period, the country also saw incredible social and economic progress. Kenya averaged 5.5 percent growth since 2010, and in 2014 it became a middle-income country, signaling the availability of significantly greater domestic resources.

Change is possible. Violence is preventable.

The VACS process demonstrates that change is possible. The significant reduction in violence against children and youth in Kenya since the 2010 VACS shows the importance of data in providing evidence to inform policies and programs aimed at preventing violence. It also shows the impact of governments, organizations, partnerships, and individuals who are working every day in Kenya to create a safer world.

Driving action to prevent violence against children

Prior to the 2010 VACS, the Government of Kenya did not have nationally representative data on violence experienced by children and youth. The government committed to using the data from the first VACS to guide the planning and development of policies and programs focused on violence prevention and response.

 

Using the data from the 2010 VACS report as its guide, the Government of Kenya released a Summary Findings & Response Plan in 2011. Along with the Government of Kenya, PEPFAR, UNICEF, other bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, and individuals contributed to collaborations to improve access to education, strengthen legal protections, scale up income and economic strengthening approaches, and link the most vulnerable children and families to resources, services, and care.

Programs and policies to reduce violence

Since 2010, Kenya has galvanized coordinated action across sectors to address risk factors for violence. Numerous pieces of legislation and national policies in child protection may have contributed to the significant decreases in violence against children and youth in Kenya since the 2010 VACS. Here are some examples:

Additionally, Kenya developed partnerships with a number of stakeholders working on violence prevention programs, including:

  • The Orphans and Vulnerable Children program with PEPFAR, UNICEF, and the World Bank aggressively scaled up the number of households who received cash transfers, from 500 households to 246,000 households in all of Kenya’s counties. This program provides small funding to keep children in school and reduces risk.
  • The PEPFAR DREAMS partnership, which started in Kenya in 2015, supports adolescent girls and young women living in high HIV prevalence areas with financial literacy training, comprehensive HIV and violence prevention education, education subsidies, and other community interventions to lower the risk of sexual violence and HIV.
  • USAID Kenya and East Africa (USAID/KEA) has been working closely with Kenya’s Department of Children Services (DCS) at the national level to help strengthen the child welfare system. The partnership between DCS, USAID and other stakeholders has led to leveraging and improved service delivery to OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) households.
  • Kenya developed, evaluated, and scaled up IMpower, a sexual violence prevention program for teens that has been shown to reduce the risk of rape. This rape prevention program has been successfully expanded to schools and community centers throughout Kenya. IMpower includes gender sensitivity/gender-transformative programming for boys and girls as well as skills instruction and healthy relationship skills.

Explore the stories

Get a glimpse of the people and partnerships who are working every day to prevent violence against children in Kenya and create a safer world for every child.

Explore the first-person stories and photos produced by 15 girls and young women who reclaimed their agency with the help of the DREAMS partnership.

Meet 18 individuals working across Kenya to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in their communities.

Read an overview of violence against children and youth in Kenya and the partnerships and people that make progress possible.