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World Bank Accused of Failing to Prevent Child Abuse at a School Chain it Funded in Kenya

The bank’s internal watchdog, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), found that the bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) had failed to satisfy its own environmental and social requirements before it started funding Bridge International Academies in 2014, and during its supervision of its investment in the project, which came to an end last year. In its report submitted to the IFC in August, seen by the Guardian, the CAO said the corporation was aware of abuse allegations but had failed to ensure the cases were adequately dealt with or that safeguards were put in place to stop future abuse. The CAO said it had found 21 cases of child sexual abuse by teaching staff at Bridge schools between 2014 and 2021. Bridge confirmed 10 cases of child sex abuse were reported in one of its schools in 2016. It said that it had ended the contracts of the teachers accused of abuse, filed reports with the police, offered the victims psychosocial support, and engaged with the children’s parents and communities over the incidents.