A local NPO, Kwanele, has launched a GBV app to help safeguard women and young girls. The free app – named Kwanele – is loaded with a panic button, which will dispatch armed response. Incidents of abuse can be live-streamed, there’s a database of services and evidence can be stored to help secure a conviction, along with tons of other features. Kwanele’s CEO Leonora Tima explains why it was important for her to create this:
“I wanted to create a platform where people can report gender-based violence, without having to face persecution, shaming, and everything that happens that stops people from reporting…the stigma, by using technology essentially.”
Leonora says the app is free to download, and that the NPO also covers the data costs in the event that a user is seeking help, without having data. She says this is what makers Kwanele’s app different from the other GBV apps out there. pic.twitter.com/4RNusPe6pl
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The meaning of Kwanele is to “have had enough”. Over the years of GBV making headlines, those protesting the scourge could often be heard chanting “Enough is enough.” The Kwanele Foundation, which was founded in June 2020, launched its app (also called Kwanele) in November 2022. Though still new, the NGO is working to make services more and more accessible and to improve the features as time goes on.
Tima’s urge to help GBV survivors stemmed from personal reasons, as one of her relatives became a victim of femicide in December 2019.
“My husband’s family lost a family member to gender-based violence. She was 19, nine months pregnant, and she was found on the N2 coming into Cape Town. She had been raped and murdered. What stood out about her story, is that these things happen internationally and unfortunately, it’s part of the society that we live in, but within South Africa, it’s become so normalized that her story was never told. She was like just another statistic.”
While the app may not be the first of its kind in SA, Tima explains what makes Kwanele different from the rest:
“There are a couple more. I think what sets us apart from them is A that we are free, B we are non-profit oriented, rather than ‘for profit’ oriented and we’re very gender-based violence focused. I think our offering is very holistic within GBV. We’re not a security app. We also link you up with psycho-social support, with counselling, with shelter if you need it, so it’s much more than just pressing a panic button and armed response will come and help you.”