Women in South Africa, Domestic Abuse, and Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 12, 2007

Following on the heels of the BBC feature on the revolutionary growth and availablity of mobile phones in Kenya, OmyNews features a new project-to-be in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province.  The UmNyango Project of Fahamu, a MobileActive participant, equips rural women in the Province with free text messaging to report on violence against them and their children, and report other abuses.  The project coordinator, Anil Naidoo, says: ""This is the first time in KwaZulu Natal that we know of, where SMS technology has been used to directly empower women in this way. What makes the project unique is that women will be able to assert their constitutional rights using accessible and sustainable technology." The project will train women how to send and receive messages in their local language.   According to Naidoo, the sms platform "will complement the network of rural legal advice centers that form part of the UmNyango Project. Very importantly though, the SMS platform allows women to anonymously report on gender-based violence without fear of reprisal. We hope that women will be able to assert their constitutional rights through this project."

Clickatell, a company that provides global mobile messaging services, has donated free SMS credits for this project.

Mobile phones have been used extensively elsewhere in the world, primarily in Europe and North America, with women in danger of domestic abuse.  Working with rural women in their language is a  welcome next approach.  If you know of other organizations in the global south doing this kind of work, leave a comment.  We will be watching this project as it gets off the ground.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br> <b><i><blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options