KAMPALA – With the support of Makerere University RAN Lab, a needs finding was conducted in Gulu in October 2018 to understand the situation of the women and girls so as to build a solution that is responsive to their needs in as far as ending violence against women and girls is concerned.
Centres4Her received funding from UN-Women through Makerere University RAN Lab after a hackathon to bring the idea into life. In September 2019, Centres4Her received more funding from UN-Women through Makerere University RAN Lab to refine the Centres4Her app, test and pilot it among target users.
Centres4Her is a digital platform designed to link survivors of violence to available post violence services nearest to them through a mobile app with ease and confidentiality.
After a series of engagements with key stakeholders to map centers providing post violence services in a bid to develop a web and mobile app, Center4Her was exhibited at the UN Day in October 2019 at Kololo airstrip.
It was later unveiled in a Mini-Launch of the pilot phase in November 2019 at Makerere University before it was exhibited at the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence between 27th and 28th November 2019, Makerere University.
According to Mr Terrydon Wamboga the project team leader at Centres4Her, they have done two college activations at Makerere University to create more awareness about the app through screening movies related to GBV and holding discussions at the end of each movie screening.
“On 28th February 2020, the team conducted a movie screening Gender Mainstreaming Directorate. Here, we screened Bed of Thorns, a Ugandan movie on GBV produced by the Nabwiso Productions. On 13th March, the team organized the second college at the College of Education and External studies. Here too, we screened the Bed of Thorns and conducted a short discussion about GBV,” he says adding that the challenge was that the movie was conducted at night (7-10pm) which made them keep the discussions short as it was already late for the students.
Wamboga says they also refined the Center4Her App in January and part of this was to include enabling running a query report on the admin up and obtain an excel sheet to assess app usage.
Other platforms to assess usage include play consol, and Google firebase where they are able to assess usage in a particular period in graphical form.
On 8th March 2020, Centres4Her was invited by the US Embassy to exhibit the innovation during the Diamond Potential Women’s Day Business Expo at UMA Show grounds.
“Here we reached out to different girls and women to create awareness about the app.”
Wamboga says they are now looking at updating the admin app to capture reporting on sex and age. Here the log in system for users will be upgraded to ask for sex and age as a requirement for registration.
“We are also going to update the app to include other implementing partners including HIV and Family Planning. This has not been done yet because of delayed meetings with the service providers especially IDI and PACE/PSI where information regarding Centre contact persons and Centre locations has not been provided. We request UN women to provide a list of service providers they are working with to be included in the app,” he shares.
They also look at Village Health Team dialogues to help promote the APP, at community levels, multi-sectoral dialogues to strengthen the service provision as well as revisiting all the centers that are mapped since some were affected by covid19 and closed especially shelters.
With support from the UN Women and RAN communication persons, Wamboga notes that they plan on popularizing the Centres4Her app to reach out to more people
Centres4Her hopes to refine the app to be able to track a complete referral i.e. provide an option for either the user to report having successfully received the service or the service provider to report having received the client and whether the service was provided.
They also plan to develop a USSD model of the Centres4Her app targeting women and girls with no access to smartphones.
“We want to scale up implementation (college activations and other University interventions) to other Universities to reach out to more young women in other universities with accurate GBV information and encourage them to download and use the app. We shall also hold radio and TV interviews to sensitize listeners about different GBV issues and create awareness about the Centres4Her app,”Wamboga says.
With transport being a hindrance for people to access particular centers for services being a major challenge, Through the US Embassy, Centres4Her hopes to start negotiations with Safe Boda to integrate Safe Boda application APN with that of Centes4Her to enable a user request for a Safe Boda directly on the Centres4Her app.
“With this partnership in place, we expect an increased and quicker access to services and reduced out of pocket expenditure on transport. We also expect to work with Safe Boda to advertise on the riders’ jackets and probably helmets and engage riders as ambassadors to end violence against women and girls.”