Ugandan student develops bangle to help women against harassment

Team leader of safe bangles Ambrose Kamya and product development leader of safe

Students of Makerere University School of Public Healthunder the Resilient Africa Network (RAN) programme have developed different technologies to help fight gender-based violence. The technologies include safe bangles, transparency influencing power, centres 4 her and Tuyambe ba mama.

The technologies have been in incubation at RAN laboratories for the last six months with support from UN Women. Ambrose Kamya, the innovator of safe bangles, said he realized a lot of work had been centered on sensitization and increased access to services but that the safety of women had been isolated when it came to fighting violence.

 “We have seen an increase in cases of kidnap, rape, murder and defilement in the country. That’s why we chose this kind of innovation to help these victims,” he said.

Kamya said safe bangles were detectable and wearable gadgets developed for women and girls to privately report violence to at least five trusted people registered as their contacts.

“This bangle is worn on the wrist and once someone is in danger, one has to press the button. The five people in the database receive the message showing her name and her physical location to ease rescue. In cases where the five people are far away from the victim, a safe bangle includes aloud alarm so that people who are nearby can do the rescue,” he said.

Maureen Atuhaire, the acting commissioner for the Child and Family Protection Unit in the Uganda Police Force, said 80% of the cases handled are gender-based and violence-related and that lack of substantial evidence stops people from getting justice.

“The problem is that there is a gap between the Police and the community. When people give a statement, they do not want to come and testify and also follow up in courts,” Atuhaire said.

Suzan Olugede from UN Women asked the Government to invest more in the prevention since they lose a lot in case of violence against women and girls.

“We know that over sh77b is lost in fight against gender based violence,” she said.

Through a survey, the innovators found out that in order to effectively execute stakeholder efforts and assist in the design,implementation and enforcement of effective policies to combat violence against women and girls, it is necessary to first understand the nature and prevalence of the phenomenon.

“Currently on ground, there is scarce data regarding this problem and limited evidence based decision making when it comes to ending violence against women and girls,” Andrew Mutungi, an innovator with Transparency Influencing Power Kit, said.

Dr Rhoda Wanyenze, the dean of School of Public Health, said challenges such as HIV, Hepatitis B, poor quality education and sexual violence, all underlie in violence against women and girls. According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2016, five in 10 women (51%) neither sought help nor told anyone about the violence.

In 2017, only 30% of the rape cases that were reported to the Police were taken to court. Only 1.5% of these cases resulted in a conviction and this calls for obtaining proof in order to pin the perpetrators.These are some of the activities being done to commemorate 16 days of activism,a campaign geared towards eliminating gender based violence in the country.