Screenshot der App "Back up" ©GIZ

An app to prevent violence against women

08.03.2016 – Thanks to a partnership between GIZ and Ecuador’s largest telecom provider, millions of at-risk women can now call for immediate assistance.

Violence against women is still widespread in the Andean region and Paraguay. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost half of women in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru are at risk from violence at the hands of their partners. ComVoMujer, a Latin American regional initiative coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is campaigning to change social attitudes. The name stands for ‘Combatir la Violencia contra la Mujer’ – combating violence against women.

In Ecuador, at-risk women can now alert others to their situation and call for help more easily. Working with telecoms provider CNT, ComVoMujer has developed the smartphone app Junt@s – which means ‘together’. Women can notify the emergency centre or a person of trust at the touch of a button. The great advantage is that the app is pre-installed on all mobile phones supplied under a CNT contract, so no one has to explain why they have it on their phone.

This innovative concept and the many years of successful campaigning against violence against women have been recognised with a special award from the jury of GIZ’s internal Gender Competition this year. The award was presented to programme manager Christine Brendel and Reinaldo Torres from CNT. ‘We are delighted to receive this award. The app has touched a nerve – that’s obvious from the amount of interest it’s attracting from other organisations. We gave a presentation on Junt@s to Deutsche Telekom only this morning,’ said Christine Brendel.

This year, a total of 87 teams from 52 countries took part in the Gender Competition – a new record. ‘Gender equality is a human right, a key to sustainable development and a hallmark of our work’s quality,’ said Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ’s Management Board, during the Awards Ceremony on 7 March. ‘With the Gender Competition, our aim is to promote creativity and innovation and make visible – and reward – our colleagues’ commitment and expertise.’

This year’s first prize went to the global BACKUP Health programme, with second and third places going to the renewable energies and energy efficiency programme in Mexico and a vocational training and sustainable development initiative in Ghana.


        
    
The pre-installed APP prevents violence in Ecuador. (Photo: GIZ / Dirk Ostermeier)

        
    
Project partners from CNT and GIZ received the special award together. (Photo: GIZ / Ostermeier)

        
    
The third place was going to a vocational training and sustainable development initiative in Ghana. (Photo: GIZ / Ostermeier)

        
    
The renewable energies and energy efficiency programme in Mexico received an award for the second place. (Photo: GIZ / Ostermeier)

        
    
Tanja Gönner also awarded the winners of this year`s competition: the global BACKUP Health programme. (Photo: GIZ / Ostermeier)