Soul City Institute and Safetipins wins the prestigious Womanity Award 2018: Safer Urban Environments for Women

A ground-breaking South to South partnership has won the global Womanity Award 2018 announced at the Tech4Dev UNESCO Conference, Lausanne.

The Soul City Institute for Social Justice is proud to announce that together with SafetiPin – a social enterprise based in India – we have won the Womanity Award 2018 in recognition of our tech innovations to promote safer urban environments for women.

The award will support the adaptation of the Safetipin technology to the South African context. This, we contend, will help reignite the dream of 1994 when we, as South Africans, dreamt of a country reborn, where ALL women could access the rights contained in the constitution and bill of rights. This includes women’s personal safety in the public spaces and full access to economic opportunities.

The SafetiPin apps collect big data on women’s safety in public spaces, and crowdsourced data from women and volunteers to ‘rate’ the safest areas of cities for women. The data is then analysed and used as a policy tool to assist municipalities to improve the built environment. The Apps are currently being used by over 100,000 people, mostly in India, with widespread success. In Delhi, seven different government departments have used the apps’ data to make urban areas safer for women.

In South Africa we still live with the spatial legacy of apartheid, which impacts upon black women most severely. Our collaboration will enable local government – the closest tier of government to the community - to plan and budget appropriately to make our cities safer and happier places.

This innovation will be integrated with Soul City’s #SafeTaxiNow campaign and advocacy for safe transport for women.

Soul City and Safetipin will work with government, citizens, community organisations and public transport operators to prevent violence against women.

This Award is timely: South Africa has a femicide rate eight times the global average. One of our first tasks will be trying to make public minivan taxis safer for women in South Africa. They are widely used by women because transport alternatives are limited and sporadic. Last year, concern and terror among users of the vans escalated to a disturbing new level when a woman passenger was abducted in Johannesburg and raped in a taxi in front of her 10-year-old son.

Lebogang Ramafoko, CEO at the Soul City Institute said: “This work arises out of our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially to achieve full gender equality by 2030. We are excited to win the award because it allows us to partner with a successful and innovative Southern organisation that will enable us to improve safety for women.

With the partnership we will be able to work with young women in the RISE Clubs to map their communities, and use data as an advocacy tool to improve safety for women. We are also excited that we will be able to work with local government to use data to have more gendered responses to urban safety.”

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