The Africa Centurion Initiative, a Mozilla IRL Fund Awardee, trains caregivers, children, and community leaders in rural Kenya on digital literacy. We spoke with Project Lead Caleb Ndaka about addressing communities’ most urgent needs

Caleb Ndaka at work
Caleb Ndaka at work
  • One in three internet users in the Global Majority is under age 18, with too little being done to ensure their online safety

  • Children in rural Kenya are particularly vulnerable to the perils of unsafe content and interactions online because they lack experience navigating the web

The Issue

A 2022 UNICEF report found that 67% of children aged 12-17 in Kenya are online. Yet these children — and sometimes their caregivers — have limited digital skills, making them more vulnerable to misinformation campaigns, scams, bullying, age-inappropriate content, and even violence that originates online. Additionally, these populations have little support when things go wrong.

The Approach

The NGO Africa Centurion Initiative runs “Online Safety Mashinani” (“Online Safety at Home”), a series of community-based digital safety and wellbeing workshops. The program operates in three major regions across Kenya: Kisumu (Western), Kiambu (Central), and Machakos (South Eastern). Africa Centurion Initiative works with community leaders and local caregivers to understand the digital challenges facing each region. “It’s one thing for community members to show up to a training, but it’s another thing for them to see the big picture of the program and to walk the journey with you,” said Project Lead Caleb Ndaka.

Ndaka notes an alarming trend associated with better internet access – an increase in child kidnappings across the country, especially during extended school holidays when many children are at home and parents are at work. In this context, Online Safety Mashinani has taught parents how to set up device controls and to warn their children against risky behavior like conversing with, or playing e-games with, strangers on the internet. The program’s general workshops focus on three main areas: explaining the basics of the digital world; highlighting how children are often targeted and attacked online; and teaching caregivers how to protect their children and themselves on the internet.

Africa Centurion Initiative is one of the first 14 awardees of Mozilla’s “In Real Life” (IRL) Fund. The fund supports community-serving organizations in Africa that are advancing digital and human rights, both on and offline — with a particular focus on Eastern and Southern Africa. This grantmaking mechanism is part of the Africa Innovation Mradi, a program that leverages Mozilla’s role as stewards of the open web to promote innovation grounded in the unique needs of users in African countries.

With the grant funding, Online Safety Mashinani has expanded its curriculum from providing basic digital literacy training to including safety and wellbeing content. The funding has also allowed the program to translate more of its content into local languages, and to collaborate more closely with local community leaders and train them as program ambassadors.

What Does Success Look Like?

“We will know our work is done when parents in rural communities in Kenya will have enough interactive and engaging content to learn and to protect their children online.”


“My hero is Florence, whom I met several years ago in a small town in Tana river county, one of the most remote and poorest places I’ve been in Kenya. Florence was an Early Childhood Development teacher there. Her passion for the community was so evident from her work. The local school facility didn’t have a dedicated indoor classroom. She mobilized the community to set up a semi-permanent building so that children would have a place to learn that was sheltered from the elements – especially important in this region that experiences extreme heat, wind, and rain. She connected with partners to sponsor children from the village to attend some of the best schools in the region. She was always doing more, like sourcing funds to build health care facilities and bring power to the community. I left wondering if I was doing enough to touch and improve the lives of others.”