International Child Helpline Day 2018: Child Helplines & Inclusive Technology – 3 Case Studies from Africa

The theme of this year’s International Child Helpline Day is “Inclusion and Technology for Children’s Well-being”, and we’ve been hearing from our network of child helplines around the world how they are using technology in inclusive, creative ways.

Patuma Tonex from our #Youth got in touch with the local child helplines in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania to learn how they make use of technology to make it easier for children in need of support to reach out to a counsellor.

In Malawi, the Tithandizane National Child Helpline 116 in Malawi has services like toll-free telephone counselling online chats, online youth forums and youth drop-in centre facilities. It also have a Whatsapp group called Youth Breeze where young people and child helpline counsellors can interact with each other.

Childline Zimbabwe uses WhatsApp email, Facebook, Twitter and its 116 app to offer safe and confidential reporting platforms for young people in light of all technological advancements. Young people are also provided with a learning platform through the 116 app on various issues that they may encounter as part of growing up.

C-Sema, the child helpline in Tanzania, has been involved in the Tanzania Child Online Protection Task Force (COST), which brings together industry, government frontline service providers and civil society organisations to ensure children are safe when exploring opportunities on the internet. COST facilitates the creation of the Tanzania Child Online Protection Portal, a platform that allows the public to report suspected online child sexual abuse content, in both English and in the local language.

Lastly, Childline Kenya is approaching this issue by analysing data on the use of its social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email and WhatsApp. It wanted to find out to what extent members of the public were using these platforms to report concerns in comparison to use of the phone line. In addition, Childline Kenya also has a project called ‘young people for young people’, which acknowledges that children and young people often feel more comfortable talking to peers about their issues.