It has been described by President Cyril Ramaphosa as South Africa’s second pandemic. However gender-based violence (GBV) can’t be cured by a vaccine. Till the angle of males in direction of girls modifications on a large stage, the victims of the scourge need to depend on a mix of their very own wits and the help constructions of society and the communities round them.
Now, cellular know-how is being roped in to offer these assets new capability and capabilities. And it comes at a deeply symbolic time.
At the moment marks the start of the worldwide United Nations marketing campaign, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence in opposition to Ladies and Youngsters (16 Days Marketing campaign), operating till 10 December.
The UN recognises 25 November as Worldwide Day of No Violence in opposition to Ladies, and 10 December as Worldwide Human Rights Day, including to the symbolism of the marketing campaign.
And tomorrow, 26 November, Vodacom will launch a brand new app, known as Vibrant Sky, to help victims. Taki Netshitenzhe, chief officer for exterior affairs at Vodacom South Africa, reminded us in an in-depth interview that considerably extra girls and youngsters suffered by the hands of the abusers through the Covid- 19 lockdown, once they have been confined to their properties.”
On the floor, evidently little will be accomplished to deal with the difficulty, as a result of it’s occurring behind closed doorways. And we all know that abuse and silence goes hand in hand. How does know-how come to the rescue?
“Our applications take a look at prevention, response, and sufferer help. On prevention, we’ve obtained a GBV Command Centre, which was established in partnership with the Division of Social Improvement in 2014. The centre doesn’t simply concentrate on GBV. It receives calls from individuals from all walks of life, on totally different societal distresses. However by way of our built-in AI know-how, we’re in a position to isolate GBV instances and have the ability to give correct statistics.”
Within the interview, Netshitenzhe shares stunning numbers on the rise within the variety of normal calls and GBV calls through the pandemic. Nonetheless, the know-how used within the command centre consists of USSD shortcodes, SMS, voice, and video conferencing – together with geolocation, which permits calling patterns to be mapped with out compromising anonymity.
“The advantage of this built-in know-how is that, as a result of we’re in a position to inform the place the hotspots are, it then assists authorities to prioritise assets, and deploy them accordingly in these hotspots.”
Vodacom supplied R4-million in funding for a name centre, managed by government-employed social staff. The decision centre has develop into a case examine in including a number of applied sciences to a platform to make sure inclusion throughout types of entry and technique of communication. In 2016, Skype was roped in to offer entry to the deaf neighborhood, utilizing each textual content and social staff skilled in signal language to counsel anybody who calls the account, HelpMeGBV.
And now, a multi-faceted app has been added to the combo.
“It’s out there within the app shops on Android and Apple, it’s free to obtain, which implies you don’t incur an information value. For South Africa, we’re additionally zero-rating use of the app. The app additionally has hyperlinks to different websites which customers can entry without cost, just like the Division of Social Improvement, the South African Police Providers, or the GBV command centre, which you’ll name from the app.”
The app additionally serves as a danger evaluation instrument, for customers to reply a sequence of questions to find out if they’re in an abusive relationship. Together with consciousness messages, it features a listing of knowledge, like the closest police station to the consumer and shelters for victims of GBV.
Finally, after all, know-how affords chilly consolation. The true problem is for males themselves to alter the way in which they deal with girls.