UCT takes stand against GBV with Kwanele app

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Nov 2023
The University of Cape Town partnered with non-profit Kwanele to tackle sexual misconduct on its campuses.
The University of Cape Town partnered with non-profit Kwanele to tackle sexual misconduct on its campuses.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has collaborated with non-profit Kwanele to introduce the Kwanele app to students across its campuses.

The app is a dedicated platform for reporting and addressing gender-based violence (GBV) incidents, by allowing users to track and safely store information.

It provides students with a platform to report incidents without fear of persecution, shaming, or other barriers that often discourage survivors from coming forward.

Users of the app gain access to several features, including live-chat services with GBV-trained staff, a secure storage vault for preserving evidence of GBV, location-based services for emergency situations, and a 24-hour panic button that can alert armed responders when assistance is needed.

Additionally, the app offers training on various aspects of GBV, including consent, healthy relationships and bystander intervention.

Ann Isaac, legal manager of UCT’s Special Tribunal that deals with formal disciplinary processes for sexual misconduct, explains: “A lot of people don’t understand what survivor-centred means. It doesn’t favour an outcome for the survivor. What it does do is that it helps take someone through the system where we minimise re-victimisation as much as we can.”

At UCT, the data collected via the app can be leveraged to track and address GBV trends on campuses, identifying hotspots and tailoring interventions, says the higher learning institution.

GBV on university campuses continues to grow in SA. According to research conducted by national health agency Higher Health, 62% of students in SA consider themselves at high risk of GBV.

Kwanele, the non-profit organisation behind the app, was founded in 2021 by Leonora Tima. The organisation says its mission is to enable access to justice for those experiencing violence, by harnessing innovative technology, data-informed reporting and capacity-building.

“The app is especially designed to counteract the stigma associated with reporting GBV by harnessing the power of technology. The platform is not exclusive to women, offering a means for anyone to report incidents, without bias,” says Tima.

The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play store.