Tech City UK Blog

Why our digital community should invest in ActionAid to help address violence against women

We can all agree that mobile technology has changed our lives. It facilitates information flow between us and our families, colleagues, doctors and even our children’s schools.

In Kenya, 75% of the population have a mobile phone, but there is a gap between the accessibility of mobile technology and it’s ability to connect people with vital services that could change their lives for good.

Violence against women and girls is a huge problem in Kenya. Over 80% have been physically abused, and yet only 8.7% report it to the police. Violence on this scale is an assault on women’s dignity and it traps them in poverty.

 Turkana tribe

Sara Lopeyok in Epiding, Kenya, uses a mobile phone to arrange emergency food distribution during a drought in 2012. (Credit: Piers Benatar/Panos Pictures/ActionAid)

ActionAid need more funding to get this project off the ground, and digital entrepreneurs from Tech City can help

In collaboration with the local mobile phone network, Safaricom, ActionAid will establish a dedicated helpline for women who have experienced violence, both to help them to report it, and to find out about relevant services which can help them, such as legal aid.

Calls to the helpline will be logged so that local government and police can be presented with tangible evidence to help them see that violence against women is a very real problem, and ultimately convince them to improve their services.

The project will also harness the power of SMS to share information with women and girls about where they can access security and justice services, and to ensure they know about their rights.

ActionAid take an innovative approach to tackling the problems faced by the world’s poorest people. During the Kenyan drought in 2011-2012, the charity used SMS to share food and livestock prices with farmers and details of food distributions. That project won a Technology4Good Award.

Gender Based Violence

The project will provide vital support to women like Damaris Kerubo from Mukuru slum, whose husband beat her and has now abandoned her. Credit: Piers Benatar/Panos Pictures/ActionAid

Long-term change

ActionAid don’t do ‘quick fixes’ – their work is geared towards long-term change. While this project will directly help hundreds of women, it will also raise awareness of the impact of violence among 10,000 people in the region, and help train police to give women the right support. When the project is over, the local experts will be able to carry on without ActionAid’s support, and they’ll call on the government to replicate it across the country.

We’re in technology because we’ve seen how it can dramatically improve the human experience. Let’s pay our experience forward and change lives, for good.


 

Please join us in supporting this project by contacting Hayley Griffiths at ActionAid on 020 3122 0670 or by email to hayley.griffiths@actionaid.org.  She can tell you more about the project, and explain how you can join our event later in Spring 2015 where the project will be pitched to other donors and entrepreneurs.