Vodacom has launched the Bright Sky app which uses technology as a response to South Africa's gender-based violence (GBV) pandemic.
The app is free to download and can be used on a mobile phone and/or other smart device. It provides support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship, or for those concerned about someone they know. It is available in three official languages: English, IsiZulu and SeSotho.
According to the GSMA 2020 Report, smartphone adoption continues to rise rapidly in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, reaching 50% of total connections in 2020, as cheaper devices have become available.
Gender-based violence in South Africa is unprecedented. According to the latest GBV research, one in four women will experience violence by men and are five times more likely to be killed.
Vodacom's GBV programmes focus on prevention, response and victim empowerment. Response is through the GBV Command Centre in Pretoria and victim support is through digital literacy we provide in the shelters for victims and survivors of GBV.
The launch of the Bright Sky app coincides with the United Nations 16
Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international
campaign that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the
Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until International Human Rights Day on December 10.
How Bright Sky works
Bright Sky SA allows users to assess whether they or someone they know is in an abusive relationship by completing a risk assessment questionnaire in a bid to keep them safe.
Bright Sky's features include a short questionnaire to help users identify different forms of abuse and the types of support available. It gives the user information about GBV, the different forms of GBV, and various case studies.
Using geolocation, the app provides information on support services available in South Africa, including a directory of police stations, hospitals and NGOs across the country.
By educating people about the forms of domestic abuse, and providing advice on what to do, Bright Sky serves as a resource for friends and family with loved ones suffering from such abuse, ensuring that they are better empowered to help.
The app does not share anyone's personal details and ensures the complete privacy of its users.
The second phase of the Bright Sky app will introduce certain features via a USSD platform to cater for people without smart devices. Vodacom will also zero-rate the app, so that users do not incur any data costs when using it.