BY SAMUEL NABWIISO
KAMPALA, Uganda-Plan International Uganda has launched a mobile application called “SAFE FOR HER” that will help adolescent girls and young women know safe and unsafe areas in Kampala.
Launching the new application at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala, the state Minister for ICT Aidah Nantaba in her remarks read by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT Vincent Waiswa Bagire said that although Kampala city is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, the growth has come with security challenges especially for girls and young Women.
“Girls and women remain the most vulnerable population when it comes to urban development. In Kampala, 80% of the girls report feeling unsafe in public places particularly markets, on the streets and recreational centers due to high incidences of rape and theft. Girls also continue to feel unsafe while on public transport or when walking and when using passenger taxis and motorcycles “Nantaba said in her statement.
According to Nantaba the application code named ‘FREE TO BE” will help security stakeholders to Identify those places in the city that are unsafe to younger girls and women who have been victims to criminal gangs in the city who sexually abuse the adolescents .
“We want girls and young women to be heard. We want their experience of the city to be known to people with power. With this Application, we can now collect data on safety which is often not readily available and it will certainly act as a tool for preventive measures against all forms of abuse against girls which is on the rise in the city. With this App, one will now know that this place is not safe and will avoid it,” the Minister said.
The Programme Manager, Plan International Uganda in charge of Kampala Urban, Casiano Kansiime said if the Application is embraced by the Young girls and women it will increase girls’ active and meaningful participation in urban development and governance which is still big challenge.
The Safer Cities for Girls Programme is a globally united locally led programme developed and Implemented in partnership between plan International , Women in Cities International and the United Nations Human Settlements programme, the major objective of the program is to build safe accountable and inclusive cities.
The Kampala programme commenced in 2016 and its being Implemented in the divisions of Kawempe, Rubaga and Makindye to tackle issues of safety / security for the adolescent girls in the Kampala city. The programme seeks to engage girls in cities to explore questions around gender inclusion, the right to the city and safe cities for girls.
Through this App young girls and women are encouraged to use the web based map of their city by dropping a purple good pin on areas of the city they enjoy and an orange for bad pin on the precise locations where they feel unsafe.
The application development comes at a time when the country is experiencing rampant abductions of young girls and women where a majority of them have been killed by the criminals.
Kampala Central Divison area Member of Parliament, Mohamed Nsereko said developing and sharing ools like the #Safe For Her App, which are adaptable to girls is important in order to enhance gender equality, inclusion, and sustainable development that can be utilized to achieve the sustainable development goals.