Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data has revealed an alarming global trend: an increase and intensification of all types of violence against girls and women, particularly domestic violence.
Uganda is no exception. The 2020 Uganda Police crime report indicates that sex-related crimes constituted 7.2 %( 15,638 cases) of all crimes reported in 2019. The figure increased to 16,144 cases in 2020. Additionally, in 2020, there were 17,664 domestic violence cases registered – up from 13,639 in 2019.
The issue is compounded by the difficulty women and girls across Africa face in accessing post-violence support services. However, an enterprising team of students at Uganda’s Makerere University have developed an app which promises to address the problem across the continent.
The ‘Centers4her’ (C4H mobile application, launched in 2018, is part of the team’s effort to increase access to post gender-based violence services to victims.
The app links girls and women experiencing violence to the available support services and sexual reproductive services within a 10km radius.
Speaking to Innovate Uganda, C4H team member Mr Shian Kazibwe, explained that the app maps all the service providers and human rights defenders including legal, police stations, health centers, hospitals, reproductive health services, counselling, HIV/AIDS, family planning among others.
“These providers are put in the app and then girls and women can always reliably access their services through the C4H app faster and with confidentiality,” he says.
He reveals that C4H has an active downloadable mobile app from Google play store and has mapped 56 service providers, 308 user subscriptions and over 700 user requests logged in.
Kazibwe further shares that they hope to scale up to five additional districts beyond Kampala.
“We are also looking forward to developing a web platform, app promotion, signing MoUs with the mapped centers and reaching out to 5,000 beneficiaries by 2022,” he says.
He adds that their goal is to see all girls and women empowered to be free from all forms of violence.