Developing a Child Protection Information Management System in Kenya
National governments are legally obliged to ensure children’s rights – including the right to health, education, family life, play and recreation, an adequate standard of living, and protection from abuse and harm – through enactment of relevant laws and provision of services. In Kenya the Department of Children Services (DCS) is charged with these tasks.
The successful implementation of child protection and social welfare services is dependent upon the availability and use of relevant data. This data should provide information on the magnitude of, and any trends evident in, child protection issues, as well as the impact of programs and interventions. Currently, however, Kenya does not have a functional national child protection information management system (CPIMS) capable of providing accurate, timely information on key child welfare concerns.
This deficit seriously hampers the work of the various actors in the sector. An inadequate CPIMS impedes measurement of any progress in child rights and welfare, providing minimal evidence to inform and guide the allocation of resources. For example, every year the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics publishes its Economic Survey report, presenting the country’s socio-economic highlights for the last five years. It also provides important information for planning and budgeting, monitoring, and policy formulation processes in the country. However, for the last three years, data on child protection has been omitted from the report due to lack of reliable data. This has significant repercussions for child protection programming in Kenya.
Since 2007 the DCS, in collaboration with its key stakeholders, has attempted to develop a functional CPIMS. Currently MEASURE Evaluation PIMA (MEval-PIMA) is working with the DCS to support the development of a robust CPIMS. This work is intended to provide the country with a national child protection database that not only meets stakeholders’ user needs for case management and reporting, but also generates timely and accurate data for evidence-based programing and decision making in the children’s sector.
The main objectives of the phase 2 development are to: ensure the capacity of the CPIMS to capture diverse information needs and provide comprehensive data from the child protection system; enhance data collection, quality and security; and increase the number of counties utilizing the CPIMS for the collection and reporting of child protection and orphans and vulnerable children data.
In the last seven months, the CPIMS Technical Working Group – that includes relevant line ministries, departments and agencies, UNICEF, Goal Kenya, Plan International, Save the Children, Cooperazione e Sviluppo Onlus, Comitato Europeo per la Formazione e Agricoltura and MEval-PIMA, among others – have defined the development roadmap in a consolidated, costed work plan. Among the planned activities are a CPIMS stakeholder mapping exercise, an analysis of CPIMS users’ needs, a review of the DCS’s business processes, and various capacity assessments, including ICT and M&E strengthening, and system upgrades, among others.
Preliminary findings from those planned and already completed activities include the need to: a) strengthen the CPIMS data flow and reporting structures in the DCS; b) strengthen the paper-based reporting system; c) developing a hybrid system for case management and data aggregation; d) address internet connectivity challenges; e) simplify the amount of data to be captured, and; f) develop a sustainability plan for the work that includes capacity building for staff, involve the ICT unit of the lead ministry in the design and rollout of the systems, provides technical and financial support for operations and maintenance, improve system utility, and involves more stakeholders, such as county governments.
It is hoped that the development of the CPIMS will result in the generation of data that can contribute to the improved availability and use of quality child protection information at national and sub-national levels. Most importantly, it will help build sustainable monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity for Kenyan Children Officers using evidence-based decision-making to improve the effectiveness of the country’s children’s sector.
- African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 2015. OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990), entered into force Nov. 29, 1999.