AMBER Alerts Launched in Kenya to Help Find Missing Children.

March 19, 2024

On the 18th of March 2024, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, launched AMBER Alerts in Kenya as the fourth country in Africa, aiming to enhance child safety and combat child abductions. The initiative called the Kenya Emergency Child Alert (KECA) was carried out in partnership with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Anti-Human Trafficking & Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU) and Missing Child Kenya. It seeks to harness the power of social media to significantly increase the chances of locating kidnapped children. An AMBER Alert is a child abduction emergency alert message distributed by a child abduction alert system to ask the public for help in finding abducted or missing children The system originated in the United States of America but has now grown to be used as a method of finding children across the world.

Speaking to former FBI agent and Director of Trust and Safety at Meta in the launch event Emily Vacher said that Meta hopes to be able to roll out similar programs all across Africa especially being aware that it is very easy for people and children to be moved across the borders of the East African countries. Meta is hoping that Kenya’s neighbours will be next to be added to the Meta child safety alert system

Emily further adds that to make this new system even more effective, users of Facebook and Instagram need to pay more attention when they receive these alerts. “When a child goes missing an alert with the child’s information will be sent to everyone using Facebook or Instagram within a 160 km radius around the city where the child was last seen”. When speaking about contextualising this system for the African space she reminded us that child safety is the same in so many places around the world and what’s really important about the Meta system, is that Meta is getting the right information to the right people at the right time

Maryanna Munyendo the Founder/CEO of Missing Child Kenya tells us that the Meta AMBER alerts system is more effective than what they have previously been using as it uses geo-targeting which increases the number of people who are reached by the information. The alert will be used in the in case of a child kidnapping meaning it’s an incidence-based alert. Once a parent realises a child is missing its important they report to the nearest police station and make sure that when they are reporting they have forensic data which includes details like a clear recent image of your child, age, likeness, when they were last seen and what they were wearing, if they have any medical conditions, if they have any disabilities or special needs and any other details surrounding the missing child. If a parent is armed with forensic data then it becomes easier for the public to help identify and locate the missing child


Principal Secretary, State Department for Internal Security and National Administration Dr. Raymond Omollo says that the Government has an ambitious plan to digitise the country with digital hubs that will be available in every village in the country though before we get there, we can exhaust all other channels of reporting at least in cases where people don’t have access to internet. He also encourages other players to ape what Meta Is doing.

In a statement to the press Mr. Mohammed Amin, Director, DCI said “We are delighted to collaborate with Meta in launching the AMBER Alert, now known as the “Kenya Emergency Child Alert” program on Facebook and Instagram. This initiative will enable a faster response in locating missing children by engaging more people to be vigilant and report any leads to the appropriate authorities. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) values this partnership with Meta and we are eager to work together to help find missing children in Kenya.”

As the new system is put in place we can only hope that people will realise and understand that an AMBER Alert is very rare and urgent thus when they show up we should pay attention to them as we could be the ones to help return an abducted child.

Brian King

Hey, like this? Why not share it with a buddy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *