Linda Toto means “protect the child” in Kiswahili.
Linda Toto is a sexual violence prevention workshop for children. This program was inspired by the stories of the scholars realizing that most of the survivors in our community were sexually abused when they were children. Globally, 1 in 2 children have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year (WHO). This raised concern compelled us to create a curriculum specifically for children to teach them about body autonomy. Through our workshop, children learn what abuse is and how they can report it to someone they trust. Through Linda Toto, our goal is to reduce child rape cases.
This workshop teaches children about sexual violence in a simple and fun way. Through games, fun and simple songs that are easy to learn, skits, creative art, pictures, role play, and animated videos—we ensure that their learning is experiential. The children are taught about their private parts, body autonomy, good touch and bad touch, how to get help, trauma, how it affects our feelings, and simple practices that children can do if they feel the effects of trauma.
Since 2019, Linda Toto has taught over 800 children and trained 30 teachers on how to respond to child abuse cases.
After the workshop, children are aware of their body parts and their clinical names, identify good touch and bad touch, and have identified people that they can reach out to if touched inappropriately.
Nothing gives us more joy than hearing the children sing, “these are my private parts, no one should touch them” on their way home. Teachers trained in our program share how they were culturally shy to talk about sexual abuse with the children but after our sessions, they gained the confidence to address it appropriately.
Our dream for Linda Toto is that every child in Kenya will have the chance to learn about these important subjects so that they can confidently call out any perpetrator who tries to abuse them, whether it is a relative or a stranger. We hope that every child will be safe from abuse and that every parent, caregiver, and teacher will linda toto (protect the child).