The Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI) in partnership with the Girls for Change (GFC), has launched a mobile app intended to help fight against sexual and gender-based violence and other forms of violence against women and girls in Liberia.
The two National Civil Society Organizations on Thursday, October 15, 2020, launched the mobile application title, “SAVAPP,” to help provide other services in addition to just reporting cases of SGBVs.
Speaking at the official launched of the event, Ora Barclay-Keller, Executive Director of Girls for Change (GCF), told the gathering that the app will be available on Google Play Store for Android phone users and also on the Apple Store for iOS users.
Madam Keller disclosed that the app will also provide other services in addition to reporting cases of SGBVs in the country. “The app can also be used in programmatic areas like accountability, transparency, good governance, reproductive sexual education, and many others.”
The SAVAPP as commonly called can be used to seek help from a Doctor, a Police Officer, a counselor, and other experts. She said there are various doctors from various one-stop centers around Liberia as well as psychosocial counselors and police officers from the Women and Children Protection section of the Liberia National Police available 24 hours daily, seven days a week to respond to these cases that will be reported.
She called on the public to get involved in reporting cases of sexual and gender-based violence from any part of the country through the app. “Even if you are in your bedroom, you can report a case using the app,” said Madam Keller.
In a brief remark, Madam Loretta A. Pope-Kai of the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI) noted that the fight against sexual and gender-based violence is a holistic approach; as such, it is about time that all hands get on deck to help put an end to all forms of violence against women and girls”.
Madam Kai who is also the Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia furthered noted that this “SavApp” is a game-changer and by working in partnership, Liberia is going to make lasting change and globally.
She emphasized that this App supports the Government of Liberia’s efforts through the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection Anti SGBV Roadmap which seeks to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia.
Giving the overview of the project, Madam Kai disclosed that the project which is entitled, “Community engagement in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Response,” will contribute to the UN Women thematic outcome 2: Women’s rights groups, autonomous social movements, and relevant civil society organizations, including those representing youth and groups facing intersecting forms of discrimination or marginalization and more effectively influence and advance progress on Gender Equality including SGBV and HP, and Women and girls’ safety, security.
She identified areas for implementing the project as Montserrado, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount Counties, and will target 20 communities in the three counties. She indicated that the project is funded by UN WOMEN through the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund of the United Nations.
Rubylene Brown, a representative from the UN Women, welcomed the introduction of the App to Liberians and used the occasion to pledge her institution’s support to the project.
Lisa White, a representative from Lone star Cell MTN, also pledged the company’s support to provide a “Zero rate for the app downloading and usage for Lone star subscribers only.”
Rape in Liberia has been designated a National Emergency. A 2016 UN Report on Liberia recorded 803 rape cases the previous year and found that only 2 percent of sexual violence cases lead to a conviction. According to Girls for Change, an astounding 900 rape cases were recorded during the first six months of 2020.
Seeking justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGVB) is as important as restoring hope and health to SGBV victims for which the SavApp was created.
Madam White said Lone star Cell MTN recognizes that the SavApp project will provide critical medical, psycho-social and legal support to SGBV victims in a timely manner. “We also believe that this App can increase SGBV reporting rates and perhaps have s significant influence on the prosecution of those who perpetrate rape on women, boys, and girls.”
She said it is the hope of Lone star Cell MTN that the trained community-based volunteers bringing victims to safety and helping them report incidents of SGBV, will have the fortitude to support victims in the manner that they need.
The app was developed through the instrumentality of Ora Barclay Keller, M. Sahr Nouwah, and Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.