County adopts mobile app to tackle GBV

Unicef has launched a mobile App to help in the fight against FGM in Kuria.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • To boost the fight against GBV, Taita Taveta County in partnership with the Blue Cross organisation has adopted a mobile app to strengthen  fight against GBV in the area. 
  • County has been ranked among counties with high cases of SGBV against women and girls.
  • The application that can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store.

Taita Taveta has been ranked among counties with high cases of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls. Reports indicate that some cases go unreported, denying the victims justice.

Some survivors also fail to get timely access to healthcare, making it difficult to properly investigate or prosecute the crimes.

To boost the fight against the vice, the county government's Health department in partnership with the Blue Cross organisation has adopted a mobile app to create a platform to strengthen GBV response in the area. 

County officials and other stakeholders said the 'imonitor App will address the rising cases of GBV in the devolved unit, and will break the barriers that prevent access to proper healthcare and justice.

Google Play Store

The application that can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store, will allow people to make reports for the victims to access help immediately.

It is designed to enable the responders to capture data on victims, including gender, type of incident, location, details of the incident, contacts, and evidence of the incident.

It also gives categories and sub-categories of SGBV cases, including rape, defilement, sexual harassment, domestic violence and others.

The user is required to give brief information about the incident and who the alleged perpetrator could be.

The case information uploaded by the community will be accessed and assessed by a group of super users who include health practitioners and activists, who will follow up on the case for the victim to get justice.

Chief Officer for Gender Wallace Mwaluma, said they are banking on the digital mobile application to help in the war against the vice.

"To stop GBV in our county, we need a community-based approach and a prolonged sustained engagement with all stakeholders,” he said.

Credible data

Despite the legislative and policy measures adopted at both the national and county level to prohibit the practice, it continues with one of the biggest obstacles in fighting the violence is the lack of credible data.

Mr Mwaluma affirmed that his department will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure sustainability in the response to SGBV cases across the county.

"We are confident that this platform will complement our efforts to fight gender-based violence. Fighting GBV requires a coordinated approach and partnership between government, civil society and all other stakeholders," he said. 

The App ensures confidentiality and dignity of survivors are protected as the information is accessible only to the person reporting the case and the one responding.

It does not share personal details and ensures the complete privacy of its users.

Shame and stigma

Dorcas Gibran, a GBV activist with Sauti ya Wanawake lobby group said many victims stay silent due to shame and stigma.

"I'm excited about this platform because the citizens will be able to report cases in real-time. We will sensitise residents to use this platform to stop this vice," she said. 

The imonitor app also provides information on tuberculosis, malaria and HIV and Aids, and enables citizens to give feedback on healthcare provisions in the county.

By the use of geolocation, the app provides information on support services available for diseases in Taita Taveta. 

It will also create a platform where healthcare users will give feedback on services provided in various facilities in the county.

Through the app, citizens can also report cases of shortage of commodities including drugs and non-pharmaceutical commodities in facilities. 

It be able to enhance social accountability between decision-makers, service providers and users and advance human rights in public health programme responses.

Identify gaps

County Aids and STI Coordinator Charity Mwabili, said the platform will also help patients seek help in accessing care for the disease. 

She said the platform will thus help the Health Department to improve service provision by enabling users to provide real-time feedback.

Blue Cross project officer Alloyce Ogola, said the app, which is a community-led platform, will fight against human rights violations and mitigate their corresponding impacts. 

He said it will enhance engagement of communities in designing, implementing and monitoring health services and identify gaps in health services and create demand for improvement, improving quality of data and provides community data. 

Mr Ogola said the information submitted on the app can be used to analyse the cases to inform policy, prevention and identify potential gaps in addressing the vice.

"It will also provide realistic homegrown solutions on how to improve health service quality and delivery that will contribute to shaping effective health services and influence policy changes that are part of the drive to achieve universal health coverage and tailored health," he said.

The organisation has already trained some monitors from the community, civil society organisations, the health department and government officials.

Blue Cross has implemented the project in partnership with Amref Health Africa and the Kenya Red Cross Society through financial support from the Global Fund.

The project has so far, been launched in 15 counties including Kwale, Homa Bay and Vihiga.