The Vodacom Foundation has launched Bright Sky SA, a free app aimed at strengthening the fight against gender-based violence and domestic abuse in South Africa.
As many South Africans were forced to stay in their homes due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations earlier this year, there was a noticeable increase in GBV cases. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared it South Africa’s “second pandemic”.
According to the latest GBV research, one in four women will experience violence by men. They are also five times more likely to be killed. The economic cost to fight gender-based violence in South Africa is between R28 billion and R42.4 billion a year. This includes the social services, shelter, and health care needed to respond effectively to the crisis.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, External Affairs Director for Vodacom South Africa, says that digital technology can help those facing violence and abuse.
“The app is part of our prevention strategy to strengthen prevention through awareness and education and will also augment the response by the law enforcement agencies through some of its functionalities,” Netshitenzhe says.
What is the Bright Sky app?
You can use it on any smart devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The app provides information to anyone who is in an abusive relationship or those who might know of someone who is.
Currently, it supports three of South Africa’s official languages: English, IsiZulu, and Sesotho.
How to use the Bright Sky app
Bright Sky SA focuses on providing information, rather than acting as a safety app.
It helps users to assess whether they or someone they know is in an abusive relationship by completing a risk assessment questionnaire.
This short list of questions helps users identify different forms of abuse and the types of support available to them.
Additionally, it gives users information about gender-based violence, supported by various case studies.
By educating people about the forms of domestic abuse, and advising on what to do, Bright Sky SA serves as a resource that helps those experiencing abuse, as well as their loved ones.
Using geolocation, Bright Sky SA provides information on support services available in South Africa, including a directory of police stations, hospitals, and NGOs across the country.
The app does not share anyone’s personal details and ensures the complete privacy of its users, Vodacom says. Importantly, users can also enable a covert mode to hide the app on their phones.
Bright Sky SA supporting information
Here are some helpful tips that Vodacom provides for using the app:
- Do not download the app if you are concerned someone else has access to your phone or cloud information.
- Before using the app’s My Journal tool, make sure that you have an email address that is safe and that nobody else has access to. If you need to, you can set up a new one or use the email address of someone you trust.
- Please be aware that any calls made through the app will show in your phone’s call history and on the bill payer’s phone bill.
- Only take the questionnaires in a private place, preferably on your own so that nobody can influence the outcome.
Vodacom advises users to always use covert mode. Press cloud icon to turn app to covert mode, as it is not the default mode.
Feature image: Vodacom