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Awareness campaign in Zambia and Uganda

The success of the pilot project in Uganda and Zambia was possible thanks to the industry stepping up to raise awareness on child sexual abuse online.

In February 2021, IWF launched a major campaign to help boost child welfare and internet safety in Uganda and Zambia. Funded by the UK Home Office’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and supported by Meta and telecommunications giant MTN, the pilot campaign Help Children Be Children focused on awareness-raising around the issue of online child sexual abuse and on the reporting portals in Uganda and Zambia.

The campaign idea came from the observation that the reporting portals in some countries, such as Uganda and Zambia, did not receive the expected number of reports. We worked with portal partners around the world to understand the reasons behind this and found out that there is a lack of knowledge of the existence of these reporting mechanisms, the fact that online child sexual abuse is a global issue that knows no border and a distrust in these reporting tools.

We worked with our portal partners in Zambia (the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA)) and in Uganda (the National Information Technology Authority (NITA)), as well as with nationally based organisations such as Sauti 116, the National Computer Emergency Response Team of Uganda (CERT.UG) and Lifeline Childline Zambia, to come up with a strategy.

The campaign had three main components: a marketing aspect; a capacity-building component for law enforcement and policy makers; and an online module developed to train local helplines to use the available reporting mechanisms.

Thanks to the UK Home Office contribution, we worked with internationally recognised experts to deliver a successful campaign. TBWA’s teams in Uganda and Zambia created impactful visuals and two microsites for the reporting portals: in Uganda and in Zambia (portal funded by the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children). Our partners at the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) delivered a stakeholders’ roundtable and law enforcement training in each country, which helped to increase knowledge around child sexual abuse and how to combat it. IWF’s partner Child Helpline International (CHI) created an insightful online module delivered to helpline staff in both countries, to strengthen their efforts to prevent child abuse and help users to learn more about the available reporting tools to tackle this problem.

IWF Member MTN, a telecommunications provider based in South Africa, and Meta were key supporters of the campaign and their efforts have greatly contributed to its success. Their contribution enabled us to reach more people, thanks to free ad credits offered by Facebook, and free internet data as well as the microsite available toll-free in both countries thanks to MTN’s generosity.

The campaign in numbers

Increase in awareness:

  • Over 45,000 microsites views, from 32,000 people.
  • 22,000 likes on the Facebook pages.
  • 4 million people reached on Facebook.
  • 5 million impressions on Facebook.
  • 13 reports via the portals. Example of report from Uganda:
    Assessment of 3-6 years old being the youngest, Cat A content and self-generated abuse. Both genders and multiple ethnicities.

Impact on law enforcement and decision-makers:

  • Zambia Roundtable: 338 participants from government, the internet and telecommunications industries, law enforcement, local and international NGOs.
  • Zambia law enforcement training: 106 participants, including detectives, judges, prosecutors and police officers.
  • Uganda Roundtable: 31 participants from Ugandan and international NGOs, industry representatives, decision-makers, judges and police officers.
  • Uganda law enforcement training: 34 participants, from the cybersecurity taskforce, police analysts and officers, prosecutors, judges and detectives.

Increase in knowledge amongst child helpline staff:

  • How would you rate your knowledge of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and how it is distributed and consumed?

Increase of 17% after completion of the course.

  • How would you rate your level of confidence when explaining the work of hotlines and reporting portals?

Increase of 25% after completion of the course.

  • How would you rate your level of confidence when supporting and advising victims of OCSEA / CSAM, or any person of concern, to report an issue to a hotline or to a reporting portal?

Increase of 19% after completion of the course.

Do you work in the internet or telecommunications industries? Do you want to join the fight against online child sexual abuse? You can read more on our Membership page and our Services page.

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