Kenya: IFC's Compliance Advisor Ombudsman to investigate Bridge International Academies alleged violation of labour & safety standards

Author: Sophie Edwards, Devex, Published on: 1 November 2019

"Watchdog to investigate IFC support for Bridge private schools in Kenya"

The International Finance Corporation’s accountability mechanism has flagged “substantial concerns” about the organization’s $13.5 million investment in school chain Bridge International Academies in Kenya, sparking renewed debate over aid funding for commercial education.

On Thursday, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, the body tasked with resolving disputes between IFC and local communities negatively impacted by projects it supports, released a report saying it had opened a compliance investigation into IFC’s support to Bridge, a for-profit company that runs low-cost private schools across Africa, including nearly 300 in Kenya.

The investigation comes after Kenyan civil society group East African Centre for Human Rights, or EACHRights, lodged a complaint with CAO in April 2018, alleging that Bridge breached Kenyan labor standards, health and safety requirements, and national education regulations. It was signed by the NGO and a number of Bridge employees and parents who have chosen to remain anonymous. Bridge denies the claims.

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Related companies: Bridge International Academies