Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
By Ambrose Kamya, Uganda, Cohort 31
In Uganda, this is just one of the thousands of both told and untold stories of women and girls violated annually. According to the Uganda Demographic survey (2017), over 56% of women in Uganda have ever experienced sexual violence. This has led to death and poor reproductive health of women and girls thus preventing them from achieving a better life. However, the existing solutions mainly address sensitization and post-violence reporting thus leaving survivors with limited options to seek urgent help when being violated. I decided to do something about it and I ideated SafeBangle and together with our multi-disciplinary team, developed it.
SafeBangle is a social enterprise that develops wearable bracelets that women and girls that need personal safety from sexual or physical violence can use to easily and quickly seek real-time help. When activated, it sends notifications to registered contacts indicating the physical location of the survivor for quick rescue in addition to collecting evidence for use by survivors when seeking legal Justice, as well as sounding a loud alarm. We began SafeBangle in April 2018 and with support from UN WOMEN, Resilient Africa Network and United Social Ventures. We have been able to prototype and test SafeBangle in Gulu district. Currently, we are working on the final prototype for re-testing, launching and piloting. In addition, we have so far sensitized over 5,000 women and men on the importance of ending violence against women and girls. We have done this through Institutions of Higher learning and public places like local markets. We won the 2018 Makerere University College of Computing Annual Innovation challenge, the 2017/18 Ending Violence Against Women and girls Hackathon by UN WOMEN as well as being recognized by the Parliament of Uganda.
Being at YALI RLC EA was my first time to have crossed the Ugandan Border and interacted with a huge pool of young leaders from 14 countries doing so much to change their communities in East and Central Africa. After the orientation, we were hosted at Brackenhurst, a conference and training Center, the coldest place I have ever been to. For two days, this is where the real experience of the program began. We had interesting games like high ropes that taught me to always develop trust in my team and build capacity for the rest of the team because if those down cannot support you, you are most likely to have a thunderous fall. I learned the importance of teamwork as well as aiming to achieve my goal no matter the situation. In just those two days, people that went as strangers went back to the Center as close friends.
At the Center, I found Design Thinking and This is Africa as interesting modules but 7 Habits of Highly Effective People stood out for me. It helped me make a surgical understanding of myself. I am an innovator and team leader, but I need other team members for effective leadership.
Using the skills and knowledge, I have normalized my team and we are now progressing faster because we appreciate our different roles. We now plan ahead and also formulated a communication strategy so as to eliminate misunderstandings. My vision for SafeBangle is that millions of African women will be able to access it through YALI RLC EA alumni. I have also been able to integrate in the Uganda YALIRLCEA Chapter that has opened up more opportunities for SafeBangle as well as being selected for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship under the Leadership in Business track at University of Notre Dame-Indiana State. “YALIRLCEA is the best thing that has ever happened in my life”.