A smartphone application has been launched by the Wangu Kanja Foundation to enable survivors to report, document and track cases of sexual violence via their mobile phones. This innovative tool will also improve the coordination of duty bearers by collating documentation onto a centralized, online database.
The ability to document cases of sexual violence in Kenya will provide a better understanding of the context, trends, prevalence and characteristics of perpetrators. It will also provide analysis to inform policy, programming and prevention and identify potential gaps. It will be possible, for example, to monitor the time it takes for survivors to present to different duty bearers and identify potential barriers. Wangu Kanju, founder of the self-titled foundation explains,
“How long does it take a person to present themselves at a health facility and why? Is it because of stigma? If we know, we can address the stigma. Or from the health facility to the police station, how long does it take [a survivor] to escalate their case to the police? Are their challenges there? We can find out what the problem is and address it. It’s all about trying to make the referral structure more effective for survivors of sexual violence.”
The tool is not only of direct benefit to survivors of sexual violence, but also to national duty bearers responsible for the prevention and response to SGBV such as law enforcement, the judiciary and the health service providers.
Wangu added, “one of the big challenges [for survivors] is being able to access documentation. Frequently they go to a police station or health facility, but they cannot access the necessary documents. If we can upload these documents, for example medical reports/court case files, to a single web portal it will be easier to keep survivors informed on who is handling what case and when. Another intention [of the app] is to reduce the time cases take through the justice system – which can be around 10 years – down to one or two.”
Chief Administrative Secretary from the Ministry of Interior, Hon. Patrick Ole Ntutu, attended the launch and confirmed the governments support for this innovative approach to enhancing women’s rights:
We must go beyond the legislative interventions to address this sad state of affairs and reverse the trends before the situation gets out of hand. It is high time we draw our technological weapons, and it is really commendable that the Wangu Kanja Foundation is leading the way. [They] have set the pace, and rest assured that we are right behind [them].
The application is currently available for smartphones with an Android operating system i.e. not iphones – and can be found via the Google Play Store – search for SV_CaseStudy. The Foundation hopes to increase the availability of the service for individuals without a smartphone and develop a more child-focused product.