Participants pose for a photo in an event organised by Equality now to discuss the implementation of laws relating to tech-facilitated sexual exploitation and abuse in Kenya.

Advancing the Fight Against Technology-Facilitated Violence in Kenya

By Linda Gichohi

In a recent event organized by Equality Now to address tech-facilitated sexual exploitation and abuse, KICTANet played a crucial role in shaping the future of combating technology-facilitated violence in Kenya. 

KICTANet’s participation in the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) convening not only highlighted the challenges but also presented a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at driving tangible change

Central to our contribution was the unveiling of KICTANet’s latest publication, “Unmasking the Trolls: Research on Online Gender-Based Violence in Kenya.” 

The report delves into discernible trends and nuanced manifestations of online gender-based violence across diverse regions of Kenya. More than shedding light on the issue, the report serves as a crucial resource for understanding and addressing the complex landscape of online gender-based violence in the Kenyan context.

The dialogue at the convening extended beyond research findings, culminating in the collaborative co-creation of a forward-looking roadmap. This roadmap offers legal and policy recommendations strategically positioned for consideration and adoption by the government, guiding the advocacy efforts of CSOs.

Some of the key recommendations included:

  • Advocate for amendments to the Sexual Offences Act, focusing on a targeted approach to safeguarding children from online exploitation.
  • Streamline and make justice accessible, ensuring a swift process for survivors of tech-facilitated violence.
  • Conduct awareness campaigns for law enforcement and the judiciary, enhancing their capacity to handle tech-related gender-based violence cases.
  • Push for a comprehensive review of the Evidence Act to incorporate provisions addressing emerging issues related to technology-facilitated violence.
  • Encourage the active participation of tech companies, especially social media platforms, in discussions and collaborations to combat online abuse collectively.
  • Support initiatives to engage and train the Court Users Committee, enhancing their understanding of nuances in tech-facilitated violence cases and initiate education programs for parents and teachers on tech-facilitated sexual exploitation and abuse for effective child online protection.
  • Advocate for mechanisms that make social media platforms more accountable for the content on their platforms and investigate challenges posed by end-to-end encryption, balancing privacy concerns with safety imperatives.
  • Emphasize the importance of gender data in addressing and curbing technology-facilitated violence for accountability, support initiatives to translate local languages online, promote inclusivity, and promote evidence that speaks to contextual issues, recognizing the power of narratives.

As we move forward, stakeholders must rally behind these recommendations. By collectively endorsing and implementing these measures, we can comprehensively address technology-facilitated gender-based violence, sex trafficking, and image-based sexual abuse in Kenya. This collaborative approach will not only strengthen the efforts of civil society but also foster a safer digital environment for all citizens.

In the words of Lady Justice Maureen Onyango, who was present at the convening, success requires a multifaceted approach—one that combines prevention, discouragement, and awareness. 

Let us unite in pursuing a secure and equitable online space, leveraging the insights and recommendations shared at this groundbreaking convening to propel Kenya toward a future free from the shadows of technology-facilitated violence.

Linda Gichohi is a lawyer, a KICTANet Legal Fellow, and a Gender Program Assistant. She has an interest in women’s digital rights and access to justice for technology-facilitated violence. 


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