26 March 2024

US DFC calls for probe of Bridge schools investment

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, which finances private sector development solutions, has asked its independent office that reviews complaints to investigate its investment in Bridge International Academies, a for-profit chain of schools where child sex abuse was reported in Kenya in 2020.

The DFC review comes after a separate probe into a 2013 investment the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, made in Bridge. IFC’s internal watchdog received reports of sexual abuse in Bridge schools in 2020 and an investigation found that IFC had failed on multiple counts, including staff turning a blind eye to reports of abuse and interfering in the investigation.

Although the investigation was welcomed by some advocates, they want to ensure it is thorough and that victims are provided support if wrongdoing is found. It “shouldn’t just be a lessons learned exercise,” said Stephanie Amoako, policy director for Accountability Counsel, which advocates for communities harmed by internationally financed projects.

“It’s not the responsibility of communities to teach an institution how to better do its work. The point of these investigations shouldn’t just be for future projects, but should be ensuring that the projects that were already supported, if there was harm caused by them, that it’s remediated and people can move on with their lives,” Amoako told Devex.

Read the full article from Devex here.