18 organisations from across the African region met in Nairobi, Kenya on 11 May 2023 to discuss and strengthen collaboration to keep children safe online as part of the Safe Online Regional Network Forum. This was a space in which Safe Online grantees working in the Africa region came together to connect, learn, and co-create a body of collaborative knowledge and solutions to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).
Similar to other Safe Online grantee convenings, the event took place in conjunction with a regional workshop - ‘A step toward collective action to end Sexual Exploitation of Children in East and Southern Africa’ organised by ECPAT International. The ECPAT event saw a day dedicated to the ground-breaking Safe Online funded Disrupting Harm project. It was a space to analyse learnings, results and strategies on how to strengthen the implementation of the recommendations from the Disrupting Harm reports, engage with ECPAT members from countries in the region where Disrupting Harm has not yet been conducted, and promote Disrupting Harm findings and learnings to support advocacy approaches and key messages.
Organised on the margins of the week-long ECPAT workshop, the day-long Safe Online Regional Network Forum enabled participants to:
- Share knowledge, new trends, best practices and approaches to end online CSEA
- Identify pressing and challenging issues along with strategic needs and opportunities
- Network to build working relationships between grantees and foster future collaboration
Participants included grantees and sub-grantees along with partner organisation, UNICEF ESARO, which is working directly in eight countries across Africa (Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), NGOs, UNICEF Country Offices as well as global and regional organisations. The forum provided an important opportunity to hear perspectives from peers across the region and was intended to be an example of cross-regional and south-south learning.
The network spent the day discussing the latest evidence, learnings and lessons on what works and what doesn’t work to prevent and respond to online CSEA, and identifying strategic opportunities and levers to turn the tide on this escalating problem. Each session was designed as a collaborative space to access key resources, explore examples of best practices, work on common challenges and gain opportunities to network.
The network kicked off with a pop quiz session to test grantees’ knowledge of each other’s projects, understand unique features and identify points of collaboration. The next few sessions focused on group work around common challenges and finding solutions. A deep dive with select grantees on key achievements and a session on communicating results for impact offered the network a chance to explore good practices and build synergies.
The convening also connected grantees with new resources and collaborators and strengthened the role of Safe Online as a ‘critical friend’ enabling important knowledge exchange.
Through the Safe Online initiative, End Violence has invested in projects around the world to secure a safe digital world for children. Since its inception in 2016, the Safe Online portfolio has grown to reach US$ 76 million in investments in 95 projects working to end and prevent online CSEA in over 80 countries.
Learn more about the work of the Safe Online initiative.