Expanding the scope of support against Gender-Based Violence through Technology

Saul Kabali Sept. 1, 2022

30% of women and girls worldwide have been assaulted by male strangers or intimate partners. Acts of violence occur in homes, streets, public transportation, parks, sanitation facilities, water, and food distribution points, schools, and businesses.


30% of women and girls worldwide have been assaulted by male strangers or intimate partners. Acts of violence occur in homes, streets, public transportation, parks, sanitation facilities, water, and food distribution points, schools, and businesses. This cruel reality creates a stigmatizing environment that undermines women's and girls' perceptions of security in public places, accessing essential services, participating in education, and earning income. Women and girls from minority groups like displaced people, people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ are disproportionately affected by violence. Minorities face discrimination, which limits their social networks, access to information, public services, resources, and justice.

"Prevention is better than cure" initiatives have been implemented to curb this vice, beginning with educating school-age children about respectful relationships and gender equality and progressing to economically empowering adult women by exploring their income-generating abilities, which will strengthen their participation in home decision-making, relationships, public life, and politics. Many groups work to reduce women's vulnerability through changing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that support gendered power imbalances and violence against women. These groups' work has led to widespread recognition of violence as a human rights violation. They've focused on domestic violence against women and girls, even though it's happening more in public, especially sexual harassment.

Technology has helped shift stakeholders' attention away from domestic abuse and toward the subtle violence, women face in public. If used properly, technology can prevent violence against women in public places. Mobile phones and other ICTs can be used to report sexual assault. A victim of violence may use a cell phone to report harassment or other assaults to police or emergency services or to call family or friends for help. Using a cell phone, a bystander can report harassment and VAWG. In today's interconnected world, technology highlights gender bias, stereotypes, and harassment.

In this article, we'll look at how Ugandan groups and innovators are using technology to improve access to life-saving information and guidance, as well as solutions that allow users to confidentially report sexual violence cases and get real-time help. Crowdsourcing mapping and confidential reporting are two categories.


The innovations in this area are centered on offering a one-stop shop with particular locations of critical services closest to each individual victim of violence within his or her neighborhood, as seen below:

  1. Centres4Her

Centres4her is a mobile app created by UNWOMEN and ResilientAfrica to end violence against girls and women in Uganda. The innovators noticed a gap in survivor access to post-violence treatment, which increased their risk of illness, impairment, and depression. The smartphone app helps victims of violence get help quickly and privately.

  1. Justice2people App

Justice2People is a community policing mobile application tool that links aggravated persons of violence to legal services provided by professional attorneys and police, facilitating follow-up to promote a crime-free environment.

  1. Map Uganda in collaboration with the Center for Life Change and Development

The Center for Life Change and Development, a female-led community-based organization in Western Uganda, used a grant from HOT to raise awareness about gender-based violence, create open map data, and train police, social workers, and the entire community on how to use OpenStreetMap tools to respond to and combat GBV cases in their communities. A team of volunteers from Kampala International University Western Campus has been trained in OpenStreetMap, JOSM, and Tasking Manager to map GBV projects at the sub-county level in Bushenyi District.

  1. SafeBangle bracelet

SafeBangle bracelet, developed at the Resilient Africa Network, is a low-cost and simple-to-use wearable safety bracelet that enables would-be victims of violence aged ten to seventeen years. When it comes to mapping, SafeBangle leverages one's social capital by sharing the location of potential victims with trusted relatives and friends, as well as security authorities, in real-time, so that they can be rescued or supported when they are in danger and live a fear-free life.


Innovations listed in this category are based on the anonymity of victims of violence such that they can assess services privately without fear of getting known and stigmatized by their unfortunate situation.

  1. Ask Without Shame App

Ask Without Shame provides sex education and human rights education through an anonymous hotline. This helps girls and boys spot violent behaviors and debunk myths that make them seem normal.

  1. Kuchu Care App

Let's Walk Uganda's Kuchu Care app provides LGBTQ+-friendly services. Systemic homophobia, stigma, and a lack of welcoming health care facilities prevent many LGBTQ Ugandans from receiving health treatments and information. Members can chat with doctors, counselors, and peers without being labeled. The app lets members order condoms.

  1. SafePal

Safepal was birthed at the 2015 UNFPA Uganda Hackathon to report unreported child abuse. SafePal offers discreet reporting for all forms of violence against youth, including SGBV, emotional, and psychological violence, and sends SMS notifications to the nearest service centers.

  1. Totya platform

The platform provides a virtual reporting safe space for survivors of sexual abuse to discuss their experiences and concerns without fear of being revealed and criticized using social media platforms such as WhatsApp. Victims get counseling, peer group support, life coaching, and medical and legal services.


These initiatives show how technology has been used to combat public violence by mapping vital services, advocacy, and confidential virtual reporting that reduces victim stigma. Adaptable strategies raise awareness of violence against women and girls in families and communities and expand the database used to monitor, analyze, and quantify intervention impact. Despite growing interest in ICTs to reduce VAWG, current programs are small-scale compared to the number of incidents. Practices are generally fragmented and unanchored in policy or medium-to-long-term programming, which are crucial for creating and maintaining benefits for women, girls, and communities. Given the reliance of these technology initiatives on mobile phones, it raises concerns about cell phone connectivity for poor women.