• Doris Kakuru University of Victoria
  • Annah Kamusiime Nascent Research and Development Organization
  • Kylee Lindner University of Victoria
  • Jacqueline Assiimwe CivSource Africa
Keywords: violence against children (VAC), child protection, grassroots initiatives, community empowerment, networks and networking


Violence against children (VAC) is both a global and local concern that has resulted in several child protection initiatives by formal and informal networks in East Africa. The dominant narrative on networking for VAC prevention and response significantly focuses on the functionality of formal networks and ignores grassroots networks. We conducted research to explore the functionality and corresponding impact of diverse networks that work to prevent and respond to VAC in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Study participants were VAC network leads at grassroots, subnational, and national levels, and network funders. Data were collected using interviews, document review, and focus group discussions. We found that scholarly literature illuminates the role of formal networks at the expense of grassroots networks, which are ignored and minoritized in literature. This may contribute to a disparity between the funding of grassroots and formal networks. Yet, grassroots network actors are VAC first responders and are instrumental in child protection work. We contend that it is vital to center grassroots networks in VAC policies, programs, and research in order to achieve sustainable connections between networks, communities, and funders, and to empower communities to protect children from abuse.


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Author Biographies

Doris Kakuru, University of Victoria

Associate professor, School of Child and Youth Care

Annah Kamusiime, Nascent Research and Development Organization

Programs Director and PhD candidate, Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam 

Kylee Lindner, University of Victoria

MA candidate, School of Child and Youth Care

Jacqueline Assiimwe, CivSource Africa

Chief Executive Officer

How to Cite
Kakuru, D., Kamusiime, A., Lindner, K., & Assiimwe, J. (2022). CENTERING GRASSROOTS ACTORS IN NETWORKING FOR CHILD PROTECTION IN EAST AFRICA. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 13(2-3), 88-104.

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